Two of the Premier League's most inconsistent sides match up this week and the odds reveal some value. Our capper has been looking at the betting and has some great free picks on the game.
A touch of consistency wouldn't go amiss for either Sunderland or Everton. To be fair the Toffees are unbeaten in three, but just when you think they’re motoring along with wins against Aston Villa and Burnley, they draw a blank against Swansea City at home. Sunderland stopped the mini rot after conceding 10 goals in two games beating Crystal Palace three goals to one on Monday. Sunderland are the outsiders in the Soccer Odds at 3/1, the draw is 5/2 and Everton are 20/19.
It seems Gus Poyet’s men have finally got that 8-0 out of their system and it only took one game to eradicate some of the silly mistakes. The win at Crystal Palace was not only a welcome three points, but also some welcome goals for Stephen Fletcher up front, he's a striker who will score if he's given the right kind of service, just as he received at Selhurst Park.
The home form has been okay this season, with only one defeat in five games. Three draws versus Manchester United Tottenham and Swansea and they beat Stoke three goals to one. The solitary defeat came against Arsenal when more individual errors cost them dearly.
Poyet said they would go back to basics and so they did at Palace, but I'm not sure how much that was down to Neil Warnock’s side’s deficiencies
Michael Graham wrote an interesting piece on SBNation.com this week – it’s interesting warning to anyone thinking about backing the Black Cats: “The players appear to be a weird little bunch. With the exception of Patrick van Aanholt and Lee Cattermole, just about all of them have come in for both heady praise and stinging criticism from fans this season alone, and we are only just over a quarter of the way into it.
At various points of the fledgling season, Gus Poyet's men have been very good, against Manchester United and Stoke, doggedly resilient, against Tottenham and Crystal Palace, and wretchedly bad (we don't need reminding of those).
Monday's victory at Selhurst Park was, in many ways, a microcosm for Sunderland's season as a whole. As welcome as it was, it was difficult to really know what to make of it. There was plenty about the performance to like, though it still left many worried about the overall quality of the side.”
The performance level was so much better after all those errors against Southampton and Arsenal. John O’Shea was superb in the centre of defence, Anthony Reveillere, on debut, played in both full-back roles and showed his maturity. Seb Larsson was fantastic in the centre of the park, and Fletcher took his goals very well.
Everton are juggling Europa League football with domestic action this season of course. So far after each of the games in Europe they've lost to Crystal Palace, lost to Manchester United and beaten Burnley. They’ve only secured three wins all season in the Premier League, but two of those have been away from home at West Brom and Burnley.
One thing you can usually guarantee when Everton travel away from Goodison Park is goals. They have scored in all but one of the last 10 away games, but they've also been conceding this season as well so far letting in six goals in the five matches, with just one clean sheet at the Hawthorns.
Roberto Martinez is confident Europe isn’t getting in the way: 'We showed by beating Aston Villa then getting a draw in Lille that we can make changes and perform in a manner to get results.
“At the start of the season, the chairman (Kenwright) and chief executive made sure we had a big enough squad to play Thursday-Sunday. We have 23 outfield players who have shown what they can do for the team. I don't see a weakened side by making four, five or six changes. To become a big club with the right mentality, we need to make changes. You always want to win the next game, as simple as that.”
With a little more confidence in the Sunderland players’ minds and maybe a little less energy in the Everton players’ legs I fancy for your Soccer Picks a draw at the Stadium of Light. I've talked about the goals that Everton games tend to feature, especially away from home and Fletcher is a streak scorer. I can see a high-scoring game here and for the more adventurous I’d be willing to risk a small stake bet on a 2 – 2 (15/1) correct score. For the less intrepid take over 3.5 goals (5/2) or just the draw (5/2).
Free soccer pick: Over 3.5 goals 5/2