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Premier League betting preview: Fulham can exploit Newcastle absentees


The African Cup of Nations has the potential to disrupt the best-laid plans of numerous Premier League teams over the next few weeks but none more so than Newcastle United.

The Magpies picked up a valuable three points against QPR in their first match without top scorer Demba Ba and midfielder Chieck Tiote at St James's Park last weekend but their absence is likely to be much more keenly felt when they travel to Fulham this weekend and we can't resist taking some of the 21/20 about the Cottagers, available with Ladbrokes.

Throw in the fact that Yohann Cabaye is doubtful for the visitors after he was on the receiving end of a poor tackle from Shaun Derry and you're talking about a team that could be lacking it's three biggest performers against accomplished hosts who have won three of their last four at home.

Liverpool and Arsenal are among the list of victims during that sequence, so the price stands up in spite of an embarrassing 3-1 defeat at Blackburn last weekend. If anything, we're inclined to say the aberration at Ewood Park is more reason to get with the hosts because the need to bounce back should serve as quite an incentive for Martin Jol's men.

Besides the 3-0 win over Manchester United on January 2, which was obviously a stellar performance, Newcastle's form hasn't been much to write home about ever since Manchester City burst their bubble by ending their unbeaten start to the campaign since mid-November.

On the road, the Geordies have been well-beaten at Norwich and Liverpool since then and the subsequent tale can be told in the story of who scores the first goal. Having fallen behind just twice in the first 11 league matches, Alan Pardew's men have since gone behind six times in the last 11 outings and we see no way back for them if it happens again here.

Meanwhile, we've dabbled on a few variations around the same theme when it comes to slow-burners at Goodison Park and we've come up with a new angle for Everton's game against Blackburn on Saturday.

The Toffees haven't scored in the opening 45 minutes for the past ten matches but they can normally be trusted to come through at some point, having netted in seven of those, so we trust you will see the logic in backing the first Everton goal to be scored in the second half at 11/5 with Ladbrokes and William Hill.

Our interest in this particular market is only enhanced by the knowledge that Rovers have snatched 1-0 interval leads in their last four away games at Sunderland, Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle, so Steve Kean has clearly had them set up well on the road lately - at least to begin with, they have gone on to concede seven goals in those matches

To put the bet into a wider context, consider that in a dozen domestic home matches against Premier League opposition, David Moyes' men have been frustrated for the entireity of the opening period on nine occasions.

Recommended bets:

2pts Fulham to beat Newcastle at 21/20 (Ladbrokes)

1pt First Everton goal to be scored in the second half at 11/5 (Hills, Ladbrokes)

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