Betting Sunderland vs. West Bromwich Albion Opening Week

Kevin Stott

Sunday, August 10, 2014 5:13 AM GMT

The 2014-15 English Premier League season kicks off next Saturday and included in that day’s slate of games is a match at the Hawthorns between Sunderland and host West Bromwich. Here are our picks. 

As it was last season, probably just staying up in England’s top flight of football or maybe sniffing a Top 10 finish in the English Premier League may be the best thing either of these two clubs can hope for.

Last season, the Black Cats of Sunderland (14th place) did a little bit better than West Brom (17th place), which staved off relegation from the Premier League, but in this situation it’s pretty much anybody’s game although the onus will certainly be on the home team to win its home opener on Opening Day, especially against an opponent like Gus Poyet’s Black Cats side.

 

All Clean Sheets For the Home Teams Last Season
When these two teams met in EPL play last season, it was all about home dominance as West Brom won here at the Hawthorns in September (3-0), while Sunderland got their revenge with a win at the Stadium of Light in May (2-0). So, neither club scored on the other’s soil last season but we can throw that little piece of information out the window as that probably won’t happen again this season.

Although neither team seems to be that dangerous on the attack, the Baggies did go out and spend a club-record amount for a striker—25-year-old Nigerian Brown Ideye (from Dynamo Kiev)—and new WBA head coach Alan Irvine does have some talented guys like attacking midfielders Chris Brunt and James Morrison. Sunderland just secured midfielder Jack Rodwell on loan from Manchester City—he made his debut in a 2-0 Black Cats win over former Spanish La Liga and now Spanish Segunda Division side Real Betis at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park on Thursday—and along with American Jozy Altidore, has strikers Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher, who both scored for Sunderland in the preseason friendly victory against the Béticos.

 

The Baggies Have Dominated the Series Lately
Despite the apparent comparisons of mediocrity, West Brom has actually held the upper hand over the last 10 league meetings in this series, going an impressive 7-1-2 over that span and outscoring Sunderland 22-13. And for the gambler or punter who loves to bet the trends, it’s more than noteworthy that the Baggies have absolutely owned Sunderland at the Hawthorns over the last five meetings, allowing just one goal and outscoring the Black Cats 13-1 along the way (3-0, 2-1, 4-0, 1-0, 3-0). So, West Bromwich (+110, Three-way, Bovada) would be the soccer pick for the trends bettor, and, to be safe and avoid losing on a potential Draw while backing the Baggies, taking West Brom instead on the Pick line (-180, Bovada)—aka Draw No Bet—would probably be a wiser way to go.

As far as handicapping the total here, the recent series trend in league play has been to the Over (8-2 ATS) with 35 goals being scored in those aforementioned last 10 EPL meetings (an average of 3.5 goals per game, 1.0 goal more than the total (2½u -140, Bovada) posted here.

 

The Bottom Line
This one could go either way in terms of both the side and the total and probably isn’t the best match to try to profit from out of this week’s 10 openers to be perfectly honest. Sunderland (+220) is always a tough nut to crack and with goalkeeper Vito Mannone, can definitely hang with the homeboys here.  The Both Teams To Score (-120, Bet365) proposition is probably worth a look here as are the Correct Score(s) of 1-1 (+550, Bet365) or maybe 2-2 (+1600, Bet365) but for me, this is the type of game that will be tight throughout and 0-0 (+800, Bet365), 1-1 and even 2-2 are all logical outcomes so taking the Draw and the healthy plus (+230 Bovada) seems to be the best “value” approach for this potential snoozer in the West Midlands. But then again, “value” is probably best determines in all wagers after the scores have gone final. Good luck to all bettors this Premier League season.

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Prediction: West Brom 1 Sunderland 1

Free Soccer Pick Draw +230 (Bovada)

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