We’re nearly a third of the way through the Premier League campaign and the race is on for the Golden Boot, writes Nick Haynes from Form Labs – a division of Bettorlogic – as he explains why Southampton’s Danny Ings is worth keeping an eye on.
The table is starting to take shape and normal order (for the most part) is being resumed. Five of the traditional ‘Big Six’ clubs are placed in the top seven of the table, and if Man City and Man United were to win their games in hand, those clubs would occupy all five of the top spots in the table.
Arsenal looks like the club to be dropped when it becomes widely accepted that the ‘Big Six’ mould is finally broken, and unless Mikel Arteta can find a solution quickly, they look to be in real turmoil this season. A key reason for that is the reliance on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (40/1) for goals and when he’s not firing on all cylinders, they struggle for proficiency in the final third.
Indeed, this is the Gabonese’ worst start to a season in front of goal since he played for Monaco in 2010/11 when he also had managed only two goals by this stage, and the fact that he hasn’t managed a goal in open play since the opening weekend of the season doesn’t bode well for him in the race for the Golden Boot.
Nobody has won the Golden Boot in the Premier League with less than 20 goals since Nicholas Anelka in 2008/09, and of the last 26 players to reach that total, only one has managed it with two goals or fewer at this stage as Harry Kane (9/2) managed 21 in 2014/15, having netted just once after 11 matches.
However, low tallies at this point in the season don’t necessarily mean you’re not in the hunt. Four of the last five winners had seven goals or fewer at this point, with three of those having a maximum of just five.
That being said, we’re by no means suggesting that having goals at this point in the season is a disadvantage. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s (13/2) 11 goals are the most at this point since Sergio Aguero hit 12 in 2014/15, and the Argentine won the golden boot by five that season. While you would have thought that the nine players on seven goals or more at this stage would be the best bet to reach 20, the real value lies on those lower down as 42% of the last 26 players to reach that mark have been on six or fewer after 11 matches.
It’s no doubt that Harry Kane is the favourite at a best price of 9/2, despite being three goals off the pace at the moment as he tends to come alive in the latter stages of the campaign. On the two occasions he’s won the Golden Boot in 2015/16 and 2016/17, he’s been on just three and five goals at this point, respectively, and his tally of eight so far gives him a good foundation on which to build.
However, it’s the 33/1 price on Danny Ings that looks worth keeping an eye on. The Englishman finished on 22 goals last season, just one behind eventual winner Jamie Vardy (11/2), despite being on just four goals after 11 matches and six behind his countryman. The Southampton striker has an improved six goals so far this campaign despite being out with injury, and he looks far too long to claim the prize considering only Mohamed Salah (9/2) has scored more league goals than Ings in 2020.
2021 PDC World Darts Championship
- Three of the top five in the market have reached the semis in five of the last six world championships
- The last winner at a higher price than 16/1 was Adrian Lewis a decade ago at 33/1
- All but two of the 26 finalists have been seeded since the tournament headed to Alexandra Palace in 2008, 18 of which have been in the top seven
- Every winner of the tournament has been seeded since 1994, with 10 of 13 coming from the top five since it moved to this venue.
This year has proven to be one that has seen the rest of the pack catch up with the big names. Indeed, all of Dimitri van den Bergh, Glen Durrant and Jose De Sousa have won major televised events, but each of those have come without the pressure of a crowd. Therefore, the 1,000 fans allowed at each session will likely play into the hands of the more experienced players, and with that comes a huge outsider.
Nobody will be happier about the return of the crowds than Gary Anderson (49/1). The Flying Scotsman has struggled this year with his best performance a runner-up at World Matchplay back in July, but he’s never been as big a price in his 12 previous visits to the Ally Pally, and a four-time finalist and twice winner should surely be shorter in the market. Moreover, he reached the semis of the Premier League to go with that World Matchplay performance, and his price looks very big.
We can’t help but feel the form man of the year Gerwyn Price (31/5) will be staking a claim at lifting the Sid Waddell Trophy come 3rd January. The last winner at greater than 16/1 came over a decade ago and so that leaves us with the top three in the market to seriously consider. Mighty Mike has been too hit and miss this year for us, while Wright has shown just one glimpse of form on the big stage since February, and so the Welshmen looks the best bet to go better than his semi-final 12 months ago. Van Gerwen still poses as his biggest threat, but in different halves of the draw, we like Price’s chances.
Please contact Nick Haynes if you want in-depth daily darts tips throughout the World Darts Championship – 15th December to 3rd January
Manchester Derby: Game of Two Halves?
United only needed a point to qualify from their Champions League group, but despite a late rally, the 3-2 defeat at Leipzig was another blow in big games this term. They’d already suffered a 3-1 defeat hosting PSG the previous week, while they’ve also lost home encounters with Tottenham and Arsenal this season. However, they remain inconsistent and with victories over PSG in Paris and at home to Leipzig, as well as a goalless stalemate with Chelsea, they’re capable of upsetting City’s growing form.
In fact, the Red Devils remain a point above their city rivals having played the same number of games, while they did the double over Guardiola’s side last term. However, they can’t afford another bad start as they were already two down after 13 minutes midweek, and conceded at just six minutes against PSG as they’ve conceded first in each of their past four outings now and trailed at the break in three.
Only Sheffield Utd and Arsenal have registered fewer points per game from half-time results in the league this season, while staggeringly, United have conceded more goals per game at the break than any other team. Moreover, Man City have won 19 of the last 21 league games where they’ve scored first, and 30 of 32 across all competitions over this period, although their second-half performances haven’t always been exhilarating.
Man City have scored just five times from 10 league matches after the break this season, with only the bottom four in the table and Wolves managing fewer. Meanwhile, only Chelsea have notched more goals per game in their second-half showings than Man Utd, who as they demonstrated with two late strikes against Leipzig, still make a habit of last-gasp salvos.
- Man City have registered five clean sheets on the bounce in all competitions for the first time since January 2019
- Raheem Sterling has failed to score in 20 career appearances against Man United.
NFL: Colts’ rush up to the task?
The spread is just -2.5 for the Colts this weekend as they take on the Las Vegas Raiders. Indianapolis have a positive 4-2 record against the spread on the road this season and are coming off a good 26-20 road victory over the Houston Texans to sit them joint top of the AFC South and well in the hunt for the playoffs.
While the Raiders rank just 28th in defence this season with an average of 28.9 points conceded per game, we wouldn’t be too convinced of the Colts’ offence when considering they’re now weak at tackle. Indeed, injuries to Le’Raven Clarke and Anthony Castonzo mean the likes of Maxx Crosby will be looking to enhance his six sacks already this season for the Raiders.
However, that doesn’t exactly make the Las Vegas Franchise’s defence any more formidable, and with the Colts averaging 27.3 points per game this season, we’d be surprised if the hosts can keep them quiet.
Derek Carr will be the main area of focus for the visitors as the raiders QB is having a standout season, though with five sacks on the rush defence against the Texans last week, we’d expect the Colts to have too much to handle in that department and if they can restrict Carr, they should beat the spread with some comfort.
Stat of the Day
- Across all competitions, 10 of 12 red cards dished out in the Manchester derby this century have gone to the Red Devils, including six of the last seven.