Premier League betting preview: Baggies to take full bragging rights


Roy Hodgson has knocked West Brom into fine shape when they hit the road this season and the Baggies look a decent bet at 11/5 to land maximum points in the Black Country derby at Molineux on Sunday.

Albion have won six and drawn three of their ten away matches against teams outside of the top six this term - beating the likes of Aston Villa, Newcastle and Stoke along the way - and you do fear for Wanderers in light of those statistics given how nervy they can be in front of their own supporters at times.

The Old Gold have only picked up one point from the last five matches on home soil and though we should expect them to seize the initiative and set out with all the right intentions against their arch rivals, only one team is likely to grow as the contest wears on and fatigue brings out the demons and those nagging voices of self-doubt.

The Baggies are set up to play on the counter, so it's no surprise their home record pales in comparison to those impressive figures in enemy territory. However, the fact that one of their two wins at Hawthorns came against Wolves only puts extra pressure on Mick McCarthy's men.

Wanderers were well beaten in the reverse fixture last October and now the onus will be on them to strike back, while the visitors can approach the game with much greater freedom, knowing that a draw wouldn't be considered a bad result.

Throw in the fact that West Brom are relatively detached from the relegation battle with a six-point cushion, whereas Wolves could be in the bottom three by kick-off and desperately need the points, it all amounts to a precarious psychological position that the hosts find themselves in.

In short, Albion are the better side, they have their local rivals exactly where they want them and they won't be short of incentive knowing that a league double will put a gloss on their season that is unlikely to be washed away whatever happens between now and May.

Meanwhile, Manchester City haven't been having things their own way on the road for a couple of months now and we think there's some value to be found in the 10/1 quotes on the Draw/Aston Villa double result in the weekend's final offering at Villa Park.

Conventional wisdom says that a long season and the loss of key players at crucial moments is starting to take its toll on the title favourites and there's obviously some mileage in that argument but we also believe there's an interesting pattern to their results that few pundits have picked up on and it points towards their match against Alex McLeish's men being anything but a formality.

City's 100 per cent home record tells you Roberto Mancini has found ways to conquer the defensive strategies of mid-ranking teams in that environment but those teams have now taken to deploying the same tactics in their own backyard with the full blessing of their own supporters and City are finding those teams much more resilient with packed grounds roaring their approval every time a visiting attack is snuffed out.

A quick look through City's away results reveals all. Beyond those standout victories at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane when they made a mockery of cavalier hosts, the Blues have only beaten bottom-five sides Bolton, QPR, Blackburn and Wigan - and three of them by the odd goal.

The residue shows they have failed to win all six away games (three draws and three defeats) against teams who currently sit between fourth and 15th in the division. In the three most recent examples - against West Brom, Sunderland and Everton - they have failed to score a single goal. Therefore, we also see value in the 14/1 available on Aston Villa to win 1-0.

One thing we can be sure of is that a Villa side managed by Alex McLeish won't be gung-ho and play right into City's hands. They will be cautious and get bodies behind the ball, while they also list three City cast-offs in their ranks who are bound to have a point to prove, not to mention the long-serving players driven on by the paranoia that their careers have stagnated while Gareth Barry and James Milner prosper among the elite.

The key to all City matches, it seems, is the first half. If Villa can get to half-time level, then they have every chance of success but it doesn't necessarily translate that an interval lead in their favour is a good thing - it merely gives City longer to throw the kitchen sink in search of an equaliser. If City score first, then all sorts of correct score outcomes are possible but few of them offer any real value.

Recommended bets:

1.5pts West Brom to beat Wolves at 11/5 (Betfred, Totesport)

0.5pt Aston Villa to beat Man City 1-0 at 14/1 (Bet365)

0.5pt Draw/Aston Villa double result at 10/1 (general)

For more betting news and views, please visit You can also follow Mike Holden on Twitter: @Miguel_BOTB

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game