Sheffield United fair value at 5/2

December 26th, 2015 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

As with the racing section it is hard to update over the Christmas period but there are few late things to consider.

I am a little surprised that the bookmakers offer Arsenal at odds against in the televised match at St Mary’s on Boxing Night. As one who watches most of Southampton’s games, I can tell you that they have looked short of ideas in recent weeks and the goals have virtually dried up. The Saints absolutely HAVE to score early while they are playing their best football. They have had several good teams on the rack this season without converting chances and then the inevitable happens. Arsenal are really coming good now and may take a grip as the match goes on, with Ozil, brilliant at the moment, fashioning the bullets.

A couple of possible surprises: If Aston Villa are hoping to turn any sort of meaningful corner, they have to beat West Ham. Villa improved against Newcastle, admittedly on a truly dreadful pitch, while west Ham looked short of inspiration at Swansea and are feeling the effects of too many injuries. 17/10 about Villa is hardly irresistible but the crowd remains loyal, there is the fatalistic but justifiable feeling that things cannot get any worse and I think they may nick this.

Careful study of Sheffield United’s recent record suggests they are giving little away and doing just enough at the other end. They have to go up this year, it’s as simple as that, or someone will be taking over from Nigel Adkins. Wigan are patchy and hard to predict and this could be the sort of game where the Blades show why they were pre-season favourites in League One. 11/4 with Sky Bet is a big price and 5/2 elsewhere is acceptable.

These prices are too short, though I considered (and gave in to) a small treble on Both Teams To Score – Newcastle v Everton, Ipswich v QPR, Swindon v Gillingham. It pays nearly 4/1, hardly appetising and small stakes only. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.