Soccer Picks: Crystal Palace v Cardiff City Premier League

Nila Amerova

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 4:25 PM GMT

Crystal Palace host Cardiff City on Saturday, their second in a back-to-back home stretch this week. Check out the odds currently available and our choice free soccer picks.

Bottom no more

Bottom-straggling Crystal Palace soared to 19th place in the Premier League table. Capitalising on a home engagement against the off-form Hammers in Tuesday’s London derby, the Eagles won at Selhurst Park 1-0 thanks to an early strike from Marouane Chamakh. Now Crystal Palace are faced with another winnable game against Cardiff City at home on Saturday, a game that could see them rise even closer to safety.

Interestingly, sportsbooks are being extremely coy with the odds on this match, barely distinguishing between Crystal Palace at +160 to win outright and Cardiff City at +163 to win outright at Bet365. So miniscule is the difference to make it a moot point.

Going into Tuesday’s engagement with West Ham United more than a fair share of pundits dubbed the game a six-pointer rather than a three-pointer. The idea behind it: a win over the Hammers would greatly improve Palace’s chances in Saturday’s engagement with Cardiff City, another of the league’s slackers. Send them into it with much needed confidence and intent.

And so they beat the Hammers 1-0 to deliver in part on this opportunity. It wasn’t a scintillating performance or a dominating one either. Fortunately, they didn’t need it to be as the Hammers barely put a fight. One down. Another to go?

Cardiff City desperate to avoid the drop

As the coy soccer odds would suggest, very little separates Cardiff City and their Saturday hosts. Cardiff boast a 3-4-6 mark on the season, which has them sat pretty in 17th spot on 13 points, as of Tuesday and ahead of a back-to-back away stretch, which includes Stoke City on Wednesday and Cardiff on Saturday. In fact, depending on what happens in Wednesday’s clash, the market (and reactionary betting trends) could move accordingly.

Certainly, a defeat at Stoke could see a negative move where Cardiff is concerned and, in turn, a positive shift in Crystal Palace’s favour. Short of a crystal ball though, it’s hard to determine if it will be the case. What happens against Stoke and what the ensuing betting reaction in the days leading up to the weekend will be. But it goes without saying that if Palace is your best option for your soccer picks, and now would be a great time to pounce on their tempting odds of +160 to win outright (in the event they do actually get slashed).

It’s worthwhile noting that Stoke City are listed as the +110 favourites while Cardiff City are tipped at a large +290. To take a cue from that market, it would seem that Cardiff could be in for a rough week.

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Soccer Betting Verdict: It’s going to be a demanding stretch for Cardiff City with two games in almost just as many days, not least because they have just three wins this season but also a 1-2-3 record on the road. Odds are stacked against them in both games as well and it’s hard to see how they would runaway six-point winners this weekend.

Crystal Palace underscored their odds with the win over the Hammers. Granted West Ham United are wholly off colour and form right now, struggling just as much as they are this season, and it’s important to put that win into the right context. But when Cardiff City hardly looms more threatening than the Hammers did. And Palace have the advantage of home edge, additional day’s rest as well and let’s not forget a new manager in Tony Pulis. It really is a six-pointer they’ll not want to let slip through their fingers.

Soccer Free Picks: Crystal Palace to win outright at +163