Southampton v Bournemouth – St Mary’s at 17:30 live on BT Sport 1
Finally the Premier League is back and I can get on with the real business of Asian Handicap preivews again!
First up for me, the South Coast Derby as Bournemouth take the short trip over to Southampton on Saturday evening.
Claude Puel has had a lot of issues to deal with this season, the complete breakup of his stellar centre back pairing and the loss of two star strikers.
Unsurprisingly, these events have seriously hampered Saints ability to continue their recent successes in the Premier League.
They did reach the EFL Cup Final and were the better team throughout, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a late winner.
Recently their league form has been very inconsistent, with a record of P8 W3 D0 L5 with GF14 & GA15.
New signing Manolo Gabbiadini his hit the ground running with four goals in four games but, he is not expected to be fit this weekend.
His link up with Nathan Redmond, Dusan Tadic and James Ward-Prowse has seen the Saints rack up 9 goals in their last 3 games.
Unfortunately, at home this season they have not lived up to expectations with just 5 wins in 14 games at St. Mary’s.
However, four of those five wins came against teams in the bottom half of the table and Bournemouth have been awful on the road this season.
Eddie Howe must be breathing a sigh of relief after his Bournemouth team turned around their recent poor form.
They were winless in eight league matches, picking up just three draws in that run, until beating West Ham, in the 90th minute, three weeks ago.
The Cherries backed up that victory with another win at home against Swansea the following week.
Those vital six points saw Howe’s team fly up the table into 11th place and now they are within touching distance of safety.
This weekend’s Derby should give them plenty of motivation to continue their good form and improve their woeful away record.
Bournemouth have just two wins away from the Vitality stadium all season and they lost 3-1 at home to Saints in their last meeting with their local rivals.
Banned Tyrone Mings and long term injury victim Callum Wilson remain side lined, but the rest of the squad is fit to play.
Asian Handicap Prices and Recommendation…
Southampton are often a very well backed team in the markets, especially when playing at home.
So, it is no surprised to see them open up on the -1 Asian Handicap line.
They can be backed at 2.13 on this line with Eastbridge, while the visitors are available at 1.87 with the +1 head start.
Saints have won 23 of 38 home games when priced in a similar range and 16 of those victories came by 2 or more goals.
Their record in similar matches looks even better when you consider they average 1.97 goals scored in these games. But, concede at an average rate of just 0.68 goals per game!
Interestingly, they have led at half time in 16 of 38 encounters and gone on to win all but one of those 16.
Bournemouth’s sample in this range is quite small and even with an extended price range, they struggle in similar games.
They have lost 8 of 9 away games in the extended price range and in all eight of those defeats, they trailed at half time.
Scoring just five goals in nine matches is not a good omen for this weekend’s Derby, but the Saints defence is not what it once was.
Looking at the prices, I do think there is some value in backing Under 2.5 Goals and without Gabbiadini playing, it is worth backing in what could be a tight Derby.
The visitors have improved, but they have an awful away record but they will be up for this and Saints are not quite the same side without their main threat.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Under 2.5 Goals at 2.16
Prices correct at the time of writing.
Eastbridge Soccer Betting Broker, Asian Handicap specialists.