Here are two teams looking up the table, both delicately poised midway between European places and the relegation zone. Our capper is looking at the betting and trying to figure out who represents the best odds for his free picks.
This is one of the tightest games I’ve seen in the Premier League for a while. They are close in terms of league position, stats and quality on the pitch. Soccer Odds for both teams do have certain aspects that set them other apart. West Brom have Saido Berahino and Newcastle have this great winning run.
West Bromwich Albion
A lot of the paper talk in the Midlands has been about Brown Ideye’s deficiencies and his future away from the Hawthorns, but it’s their successful striker that I’d rather concentrate on.
Berahino has scored in every home game in which the Baggies have bagged and he’s part of my thinking for making money on this upcoming weekend match up. He is best price 2/1 to score in this match, fresh from being called into the senior England team on Thursday.
He’s scored three goals from the penalty spot in 2014-15, more than any other player in the Premier League this season and will break a little record if he scores against Newcastle. No West Brom player has ever scored in four successive Premier League matches at their home base.
It’s amazing Newcastle have gone from relegation candidates to the Premier League's in-form side in the space of a few weeks and are now level on points with a West Brom side who have lost only one of their last 6 league games.
Results between these teams at the Hawthorns have been mixed, so the three points are there for the taking, but given both sides' form of late a draw seems the likely outcome.
The most impressive thing about this Newcastle team, however, is the youth coming through, with Rolando Aarons (18 years old), Ayoze Pérez (21), Massaido Haidara (21), Paul Dummett (23) and most recently Mehdi Abeid (22) playing significant roles for the club. Taking the average age of all players to have made at least one Premier League appearance this season, Newcastle has the fourth youngest squad, with an average age of 25 years. Their sprightly team has had the second-most shots on the counter-attack in the Premier League this season (six), behind only Stoke (eight).
Aarons already has two goals in Newcastle colours, including one at the Etihad, and is oozing confidence, unfazed by first team action, averaging two shots per game and two dribbles. Pérez has goals in successive games after failing to score in his first nine appearances for the club, and has the pace to help carry Newcastle’s counter-attacking threat, perhaps better than the likes of Cissé. Abeid, meanwhile, puts in a stellar midfield performance against Liverpool on his Premier League debut.
The blend of this youth with the experience of the likes Moussa Sissoko, Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini looks to a complimentary one that seems like it could be coming good. It is a wonder, however, how much credit Pardew will be given for their recent form, or for the fact that he is blooding youth, in the meantime.
Also check out my free odds & picks on other English Premier League fixture coming up this weekend, Swansea City vs. Arsenal.
I have made my feelings on Berahino clear, but anyone only concerned with a bet on the outright Soccer Picks, should look at the draw. Newcastle’s form has largely been down to that counter attacking style, giving possession away to their rivals. West Brom won’t dominate as much though and I can see a bit of a stand-off.
Free Soccer Pick: Saido Berahino to score anytime 2/1