Soccer Picks: Sunderland & Watford To Keep Scores Low As They Meet On Saturday

Martin Williams

Thursday, December 10, 2015 7:28 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015 7:28 PM GMT

Sunderland AF and Watford FC face each other in the frozen northeast of England in what promises to be a hard fought battle. Join us and discover the best soccer picks for this matchup.

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Free Soccer Pick: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds Offered By BetVictor

 

This could prove to be a tough, hard-fought, scrappy game in the frozen northeast of England as Sunderland dig in for the ferocious relegation battle ahead. They pulled off a masterstroke in replacing Dick Advocaat with Premiership stalwart Sam Allaradyce, and he has steadied the ship and given them a real chance of survival. But if they are to beat the drop they really need to win games like this. 

Watford are one of the season’s surprise packages: the newly-promoted side go into the Christmas period in the top half of the table, having racked up 22 points from 15 games and put in some eye-catching performances. They are solid at the back and tenacious in midfield, while striker Odion Ighalo has been in terrific form and captain Troy Deeney gets better with each passing game. 

Yet, this is still a game Sunderland will look at and think they need to get three points from. After this, they play Chelsea and Man City away, followed by Liverpool at home. You would expect them to get zero points from those three, making the Watford match a real priority. If they lose this, they could go into the New Year bottom of the league. They are currently 19th and second-favorites after Aston Villa to go down, priced at around the -250 mark on average. They will be desperate to get some points on the board here. 

 

Beating Struggling Teams
When you look at their recent form, it is entirely possible. They may have lost 3-1 to Arsenal in their last game, but before that they recorded back-to-back victories over two strong sides in Crystal Palace and Stoke – sides that both sit above Watford in the table. 

But a particular feature of Watford’s season makes ominous reading for Sunderland. The only teams that have beaten them are the top four sides in the league – Leicester, Arsenal, Man City and Man Utd – and seventh-placed Crystal Palace. They have made a habit of beating all the teams around them or below them, racking up victories over Norwich, Aston Villa, West Ham, Stoke, Newcastle and Swansea. They know how to beat struggling teams, and with the form Ighalo is in they have every chance of extending that record here. 

 

Watford FC
Watford go into the match as +170 favorites in the soccer odds board with Bet Victor and that looks a great bet given their recent form. They put in a devastating performance against Norwich last weekend and are in excellent form. Norwich centre half Sebastien Bassong will be having nightmares about Ighalo for a long time. The Nigerian forward terrorised him throughout, constantly beating him for pace, muscling him off the ball and getting a shot away. He was finally rewarded with a goal for his tireless endeavours, but he could have scored five. Expect him to cause similar problems for Sunderland’s defenders at the weekend. Behind him, Deeney is in wonderful form, having bagged four goals in four games. Etienne Capoue will be up for the fight in midfield and Watford could well have enough to prevail here. 

 

Sunderland AFC
Sunderland are +190 with Bet Victor, reflecting how tight the books see this game being. It’s a good price for a team playing at home and already fighting for their lives. But they are short of a few players and may well depend on Big Sam pulling off a few magic tricks in the January transfer market before they start picking up the points they need to stay up. It might be worth avoiding a bet on them winning until January, given their upcoming fixture list. They may well cancel each other out and the +225 on offer at PaddyPower on a draw looks decent. However, both Sunderland and Watford have drawn just once in their last 12 games, making that result unlikely here. 

 

Top Picks
You would not expect a particularly high scoring game, so the -150 on offer at Bet Victor for under 2.5 goals looks good value. Also look at the anytime goalscorer market. Ighalo is +175 with Sky Bet and Deeney is +250 with Coral, which both look great bets. Or hedge your soccer picks and back both to score first. Sky Bet has +500 on Ighalo and +550 on Deeney. That looks like a no brainer when you consider that Ighalo has nine league goals this season, Deeney has five and the most scored by any other Watford player is one. Meanwhile, Sunderland’s top scorer – Jermain Defoe, who has just three goals to his name this season – is injured and Jack Rodwell, their second highest scorer with two goals, can’t get in the team. 

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