Arsenal v Crystal Palace – Emirates Stadium at 16:00 live on Sky Sports 1

Loads of Asian Handicap opportunities in the Premier League to keep us busy while European football takes its winter break.

I have lined up a cracking bet for Sam Allardyce’s first test against one of the big Premier League sides.

May the 4th be with you…

Arsene Wenger’s team are once again back in their customary position of 4th place after a couple of bad performances.

Although losing back to back away games, against Everton and Manchester City is no big disgrace, the manner of defeat is a worry.

The Gunners led in both matches and really should have been more than one up in both games. However, they failed to capitalise on their dominance and paid the ultimate price in both encounters.

The North London club steadied the ship on Boxing Day, albeit with an unconvincing 1-0 win over West Brom.

With Chelsea beating all comers at the moment and top four rivals Tottenham and Manchester United in strong form, Arsenal must get back to their best and quickly.

Arsenal have a number of long term injured players that are still out and there remains a doubt over Theo Walcott’s fitness. But, match winner Oliver Giroud should still keep his place in the starting eleven, while Walcott sits on the bench to recover.

Eagles set to fly…

Alan Pardew was effectively replaced before he was sacked by Crystal Palace, as they wanted big Sam from the moment he lost the England job.

To be fair to the Palace hierarchy, they have been the worst team in the country since last season, so change was needed.

As expected Allardyce came in with his usual mantra of defence first and target of hitting the magical 40 points.

His first game in charge, away at Watford saw an improved performance, the Eagles were somewhat unlucky not to win.

Allardyce made a couple of changes to the starting eleven and we should see more, while he figures out his best team.

However, if he can work out a way to feed Christian Benteke then the goals will surely follow. With Yohan Cabaye, Wilfred Zaha and other creative players in the squad, there is strong potential at Palace.

Prices and data…

Betting markets understandably have the hosts as heavy favourites for this match, Arsenal -1.5 on the Asian Handicap is 1.98.

While, the visitors Crystal Palace are priced at 1.99 on the +1.5 line with Eastbridge.

The Asian Total Goals market has the Over/Under line set at three goals with Over 3 at 1.90 and Under 3 at 2.02.

Looking at recent history when home favourites have played with a -1.5 Asian Handicap, we can see that these matches averaged 3.14 goals per game.

Also, of the 109 games in the sample, 76 of them (69.72%) had at least three goals scored. However, only 42 of them (38.53%) had four or more goals scored.

Looking at the Asian Handicap history, 57 of the 109 favourites (52.29%) covered the -1.5 goal handicap. Had you backed all the -1.5 Asian Handicap favourites in these games, you would have made a 1.28 unit loss.

Arsenal’s record when favoured by 1.5 goals is a much more encouraging, P27 W21 D3 L3. Plus, they covered the -1.5 Asian Handicap in 15 of 21 (71.42%) matches.

As for Palace they covered in 6 of 10 (60%) of their away games when +1.5 goal underdogs and with this being a London Derby, they should be well up for making life difficult for the Gunners.

As mentioned, Arsenal are not in the best of form and their Boxing Day clean sheet was their first in nine games.

Big Sam will have his players organised, but fired up for this match and with nothing to lose, I think they are capable of scoring at the Emirates.

Arsenal are obviously good enough to win by two goals or more, but with the value on the visitors and new hope for the Eagles, I will be backing them to keep it close.

Asian Handicap Recommendation: Crystal Palace +1.5 Goals at 1.99

Prices correct at the time of writing.

By @DarkDyson, all stats taken from his data sheets.

Eastbridge Soccer Betting Broker, Asian Handicap specialists.

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