Aston Villa is giving every indication that it could be one of the major English Premier League improvers and it is over the odds to follow up its tremendous travelling performances against top teams Arsenal and Chelsea with a home defeat of the division’s most consistently overrated side, Liverpool.
Paul Lambert had to weather a storm in Birmingham for most of last season but Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner backed his team’s manager and the American billionaire, who has a proud history of seeing the big picture and sticking with coaches in various sports, is starting to tell everyone that he was correct not to sack the ex-Norwich boss that he headhunted.
Lambert persuaded Belgium striker Christian Benteke to hang around for a little longer and the big forward is top of the English Premier League goal-scoring chart as a result of his brace in Aston Villa’s 3-1 victory at Arsenal and equaliser in his side’s 1-2 loss at Chelsea. Aston Villa deserved to beat Arsenal on the opening day and most impartial viewers thought that it should have shared the spoils with Chelsea.
How bookmakers have decided that Aston Villa is odds on to lose at home to Liverpool is difficult to comprehend even when one allows for the fact that the Reds are one of the betting public’s favourite teams and, therefore, market makers know that they can lay them at ridiculously low prices. Liverpool struggled to put away Stoke at Anfield last weekend – the Reds dominated possession but they won only 1-0 and their opponents fluffed a late penalty – and the continuing absence of suspended striker Luis Suarez remains a major impediment to backing the Merseysiders.
Bet365 are offering odds of 4.00 on Aston Villa beating Liverpool at Villa Park. That is madness. There is no justification for Liverpool being odds on and Aston Villa should be trading at under 3.00. Aston Villa is the best bet on a difficult English Premier League card.
Elsewhere in England, the pick of the English Football League plays is Burton to win its English League Two home match versus Bury at 2.10 with Bet365. Burton lost a couple of good players during the summer – Jacques Maghoma moved to Sheffield Wednesday and Calvin Zola switched to Aberdeen – but Brewers manager Gary Rowett did some decent business of his own, recruiting Rory Delap and Rene Howe. Burton has made an unbeaten start to its campaign in all competitions and last term its English League Two home record read 17 wins, three draws and three losses. Burton ought to be odds on to beat a Bury side that has lost to Chesterfield at home and Oxford on the road already.
Speaking of Chesterfield, the Spireites who we tipped to win league two, stand out at odds against for their English League Two home against Southend. Chesterfield has met expectation in each of its matches this season and bookmakers have seen the light, promoting Paul Cook’s team to championship favouritism. Southend is three from three in English League Two but the Shrimpers have not beaten any side of note and the jury remains out. If this had been a first-round game, Chesterfield would have been shorter than the odds of 2.05 that are available at Bet365 again.
Leyton Orient is top of English League One following three rounds and it is attractively priced at 1.73 with BetVictor to maintain its 100 per cent record in all competitions by beating Crewe. While Leyton Orient has enjoyed a fairly soft schedule, it has won its last two matches without conceding a goal and its form throughout last term means that it is unlikely to be one of those teams that gets off to a good start but fades away before Christmas. Crewe’s results do not look all that good in comparison to those of Leyton Orient so back the Os to continue on their winning ways.
Saturday’s games in mainland Europe’s premier divisions are relatively unappealing from a betting perspective. One could make a case for Villarreal at odds of 1.91 to beat Valladolid with Coral. Villarreal won both Spanish La Liga meetings between the sides last season – 3-1 at home and 2-0 away – and its 3-2 victory at Almeria in the opening round of this term’s Spanish La Liga tournament reads better than Valladolid’s 1-2 home loss to Bilbao.
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