Soccer Picks: Southampton vs. Swansea City Worth a Wager

Lee Phelps

Friday, January 30, 2015 9:33 PM GMT

Two of the surprise packages this season go head-to-head on Sunday, with the Saints favourites on the odds to beat the Swans. Our tipster isn't convinced by the Welsh team and his free pick on the betting reflects that.

Two of my colleagues at William Hill had a bet last year on who will finish higher out of these two sides, I always sided with Southampton thinking Swansea would miss Wilfried Bony’s goals when he went to the African Cup of Nations, little did we know he would never play for them again once he had boarded the plane to Equatorial New Guineau.

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Southampton
I have been very strong on Southampton not finishing in the top four of the Premier League and I still don’t think they will be in the Champions League places come May, but I must admit I’m less sure now. They are third on 42 points and weathered the storm that engulfed St Mary’s through the early part of December, coming back strongly, with their current unbeaten run stretching to six matches, including wins over Everton, Arsenal, Manchester United and a draw with Chelsea.

The Saints are the division’s joint highest scorers at their home ground, with Chelsea, and have the second best defensive record behind the league leaders, having conceded just seven goals in their 11 games. Five of those came in two games against the Manchester clubs during that bad run, so it’s actually two goals in the other nine games.

On the negative side, Ronald Koeman is without Shane Long for up to six weeks after the forward suffered fractured ribs during Saints’ FA Cup exit to Crystal Palace.

The collision with Palace defender Joel Ward during the 3-2 loss saw Long taken to hospital, but I don't think that dents their scoring ability too much. Long isn't prolific.

 

Swansea
Things are going from bad to worse for the South Welsh club, with goals running dry and too many going in at the other end, shipping five against Chelsea and four versus Liverpool. In total they have conceded 17 away from home and scored 10, with seven of those goals coming from Bony and the banned Gylfi Sigurdsson.

The Icelandic playmaker sealed a dreadful FA Cup 4th round tie at Blackburn for the Swans, with his pointless 90th minute sending off taking them down to nine men as they lost 3-1 to an out-of-form Rovers team from the Championship.

Gary Monk has already been active in the transfer window with striker Nelson Oliveira, young midfielder Matt Grimes and Tottenham defender Kyle Naughton all arriving at the club, but Monk still has the vast majority of the £28 million raised from the sale of Bony burning a hole in his pocket. Another defender and midfielder are on the wanted list and he hopes to make more additions before the 11pm (UK) deadline on Monday evening.

For now though I don’t see them handling Southampton too well and can see a controlled performance from the home team, especially without the goal threat from Swansea added to their propensity to allow shots on their goal. They give away the second most chances with their hosts allowed 19 shots per game throughout the season.

 

Soccer picks
I’m happy to play Southampton at soccer betting odds of 1.62 (8/13), but if you want more value I’m going to trust the stats and go for Saints to score at least two goals and not concede, so a minus one bet at 2.86 (15/8) is the way I am looking ot go with my soccer picks here.

Free soccer pick: Southampton minus one 2.86 (15/8)