Commodore's EPL Picks

Let me be honest for a moment. It’s the best policy. I watched very little in the way of the FA Cup this past weekend. It’s not that I don’t like the competition (I do), or that I didn’t punt on it (I did). It’s more that there was just too much going on in the world of sport to keep track of it all. As the dust settled and the quarter-finals were drawn, I got the feeling I missed out. That won’t be happening this week, for the Premier League is back. But not before European competition returns and throws everything into disarray. Writing this, as I do, on a Tuesday morning, there will be some unknown elements heading into the weekend’s matches. Be that as it may, I’m duty bound to find you the best possible tips, and the most value. I have made my intentions known, now let’s punt.

Aston Villa 31/20 | Draw 2/1 | Stoke City 17/10
Sanity has been restored at Villa Park. After years of underachievement, Paul Lambert has finally been told where to get off. Now, I’m pleased for the Villains, who have always been a favoured side of mine. Tim Sherwood – well he should do a job for a season or two, but I don’t think he’s a great manager. He’ll start his Premier League campaign at home to Stoke, following a 2-1 comeback win over Leicester in the FA Cup. Meanwhile, the Potters were torn to pieces by a vicious Blackburn side – eventually going down 4-1. “New manager syndrome” looks set to strike here. Villa will be immeasurably better than they’ve been all season and represent value at 31/20 for the win.

Chelsea 1/5 | Draw 52/10 | Burnley 11/1
Chelsea had the weekend off after their humiliating cup exit to Bradford in the last round. They would’ve watched on with glee as the Bantams grabbed another Premier League scalp. A Champions League tie in Paris has much more intrigue than the upcoming match against Burnley at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have won 11 from 12 at home this season, while Burnley have managed just one win on the road. The saving grace for Sean Dyche has been the form of Danny Ings, who will trouble the Chelsea defence on Saturday. Mourinho’s men haven’t been at their best recently, but should still have enough to win. The bet – Both Teams to Score at 11/10.

Crystal Palace 32/10 | Draw 27/10 | Arsenal 8/10
After the initial lift following Alan Pardew’s arrival, normality has been restored at Selhurst Park. They threw away a one-goal lead against Liverpool to go out of the FA Cup, while they needed a goal from Frazier Campbell to claim a draw at home to Pardew’s old employers, Newcastle. Next up for them is a visit from Arsenal, who booked their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable 2-0 win over Middlesborough courtesy of two goals from Olivier Giroud. The Gunners have been in decent knick recently, with their loss to Spurs the only hiccup. However, I still fancy the Gunners to get the job done at 8/10.

Hull City 1/1 | Draw 22/10 QPR 28/10
Hull and QPR, who find themselves 16th and 17th respectively, will meet in a relegation six-pointer on Saturday. Both teams will be looking to build on the surprise victories they recorded last week. Hull managed their first ever Premier League win over Villa, while QPR finally won an away league match. This is why some people don’t punt the Premier League. QPR have since confirmed Chris Ramsey as their caretaker coach until the end of the season, a mover that has been met with some scepticism. He’s certainly no Michael Laudrup. Dame N’Doye, a £3 million signing from Lokomotive Moscow on transfer deadline day, made a lively debut for the Tigers last week, and could be just the spark they need to move away from the drop zone. I’m backing Steve Bruce’s side to go back-to-back at evens.

Sunderland 15/10 | Draw 2/1 | West Brom 2/1
Gus Poyet has come under increasing pressure in recent days after his strange outburst at the media and the Sunderland fans. Gone is the suave, calculated Poyet. He looks a man taking strain. The Black Cats were desperately poor in their defeats against QPR and Bradford. He’ll get a chance to put things right against West Brom at the weekend, but the Baggies arrive in sparkling form. A 2-0 win over Swansea was followed with a 4-0 demolition of Big Sam’s Hammers in the FA Cup. After a slow start to life in England, Brown Ideye has come good. And in some style. Four goals in six days – not too shabby hey Nige. Sunderland are going from one crisis to the next, making the away win at 2/1 well worth a pop.

Swansea 28/10 | Draw 5/2 | Man United 19/20
Once again United were poor, but did enough to get the result against Preston. How long can this go on for? One of these days they’re going to meet a good side – and they’re going to get hammered. Saturday is not that day. Prior to the January transfer window Swansea might’ve been a handful. Replace Wilfried Bony with Bafetimbi Gomis and that’ll do it. The Frenchman has now gone six matches without a goal and doesn’t look like breaking that duck anytime soon. United will be out for vengeance after going down to the Swans on the opening day of the season. Without European competition to distract them, I expect the Red Devils to come on strong in the run-in. You can back them here at 19/20.

Man City 1/4 | Draw 9/2 | Newcastle 87/10
Man City returned to form last time out against Stoke, and will welcome Newcastle to the Etihad this weekend. You’ll have to go all the way back to October 2008 to find the last time the Magpies got anything out of a game against City. They’ve lost each of the last 10 meetings and have failed to score in any of the last four. It makes for pretty compelling reading if you have mortgaged your house and are looking for somewhere to put the cash. The odds on a home win are short – as you’d expect – but you can get them on the ‘cap at 7/10. You may not set the world on fire with a bet like that, but throw it into a multiple or lump large sums of money on it and it becomes a lot more appealing.

Tottenham 15/20 | Draw 11/4 | West Ham 34/10
Spurs might’ve felt hard done-by, after their defeat to Liverpool, but they shouldn’t have. They were second best on the night and didn’t really offer much threat apart from the unstoppable Harry Kane. This weekend they face another tricky derby, as West Ham head north to White Hart Lane. The Hammers 3-0 win there last season – their first since 1999 – spelt the end of the road for Andre Vilas-Boas as Spurs manager. Both sides have moved on from there, though, with Spurs changing managers twice and West Ham altering their style of play. It should make for an entertaining match. Spurs have struggled this season, and a Europa League tie against Fiorentina on Thursday makes the home win an unsure bet. Rather stick with Both Teams to Score at 7/10, sit back and enjoy the football.

Everton 15/20 | Draw 26/10 | Leicester City  36/10
Everton were minutes away from securing a result at Stamford Bridge before Willian’s weak shot made it through a melee of bodies. Despite an improved showing, they still find themselves in the bottom half of the table with one win in their last nine matches. Throw in Romelu Lukaku’s rather bemusing comments about hoping to sign for a big club just months after joining them in a record-breaking £28 million deal, and things aren’t looking too hot for the Toffees. Their visitors this weekend, Leicester City, have lost their last four matches. The Foxes just aren’t up to Premier League standard. It’s sad, but it’s true. Everton are bound to get something right sometime. Everton to win and Both Teams to score looks the bet here – at 27/10.

Southampton 29/20 | Draw 9/4 | Liverpool 18/10
Liverpool exorcised some demons at Selhurst Park over the weekend with a come-from-behind win against Crystal Palace. Adam Lallana was once again in the thick of things as his influence continues to grow at Anfield. He’ll make his return to Saint Mary’s this weekend, along with some of the less successful Southampton exports, as Liverpool look to maintain their push for Champions League football. Southampton remain in the top four, but a loss to the Reds will see the gap between the two cut to just one point. Liverpool are in fine fettle, and with Daniel Sturridge regaining his sharpness, they are building nicely. I fancy them to continue their recent resurgence with a good win here, available at 18/10.

Written by Commodore Vegas
Follow him on Twitter here!

EPL Picks
Aston Villa WIN 31/20
Arsenal WIN 8/10
Hull City WIN 1/1
West Brom WIN 2/1
Man United WIN 19/20
Man City WIN 1/4
Tottenham BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE 7/10
Everton WIN + BTTS 27/10
Liverpool WIN 18/10