Fans heading to Selhurst Park on Saturday for the opening day showdown between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich will be excited for the start of the league season, but they may leave the match with their thirst for goals unquenched.
That is because both these teams have top class goalkeepers, with The Eagles having secured the services of Marseille’s four-time Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year Steve Mandanda, while veteran former England international Ben Foster continues to wear the gloves for Albion. Furthermore, these two clubs were both in the bottom three in terms of goals scored last season, with only Aston Villa scoring fewer than both these teams did, so one tip would be to bet on a 0-0 draw – which William Hill have priced at 7/1. The same bookmaker has under 1.5 goals priced at odds of 2/1.
If a winner is to sneak past one of these goalkeepers then Palace are the favourites to take all three points, which Marathon Bet pricing them at 17/16 to do so. The addition of Andros Townsend could add some creativity in the middle of the park for Alan Pardew’s side, while Yohan Cabaye is always capable of producing something magical.
Connor Wickham is the man they will aim to provide chances for and the fact he scored twice against Valencia in their final pre-season friendly means he certainly knows where his goalscoring boots are. Odds of 15/8 can be found for the 23-year-old to score any time, while he is 11/2 with Paddy Power to score first – which, given that one goal may be enough to separate these teams, is perhaps the smarter bet.
From West Brom’s point of view, Saido Berahino is the man most likely to provide Tony Pulis with any joy and he is priced at 13/4 to score any time with 888sport, while Paddy Power are offering odds of 8/1 for the striker to open the scoring. Meanwhile, an outside bet for a West Brom goalscorer would be to back Craig Gardner – at Unibet’s 8/1 any time price or their 16/1 first goalscorer price – as the midfielder seems to like scoring against Palace given that two of his last four goals have come against them.
If Berahino, Gardner or some other Albion player does manage to score a winner on Saturday, then anyone backing West Brom to win at Bet Victor’s 7/2 price would earn a pretty penny. However, the quality of the weekend’s two goalkeepers should make goals hard to come by and a draw – priced at 40/17 with Marathon Bet – is perhaps a smarter prediction.