20-1 goalscorer punt looks like terrific value at the Hawthorns
'Robust centre-back McAuley has scored in the defeats to Everton and Liverpool'
Sky Sports 1, 8pm
West Brom versus Burnley is unlikely to break any records for Monday-night viewing figures but a bet can liven up even the most unappealing of matches and a 20-1 shot looks worthy of a punt at the Hawthorns tonight.
West Brom are in the unusual position of being odds-on to win a Premier League game despite the fact that only six players have scored for them this season and the man topping the charts – four-goal Nacer Chadli – is out injured.
Salomon Rondon is rated favourite to be the first goalscorer – the Venezuelan has bagged three times in 11 top-flight appearances – but not far behind is two-goal 20-1 poke Gareth McAuley.
Set-pieces have always been a big part of Baggies boss Tony Pulis’s gameplan and a lot of attention goes into the detail of getting corners and free kicks absolutely spot on.
Robust centre-back McAuley has scored in the defeats to Everton and Liverpool this season as well as the EFL Cup exit at Northampton.
He also notched for Northern Ireland against Azerbaijan in the World Cup qualifiers and found the net for his country three times in their successful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
McAuley was the Northern Irish hero during Euro 2016, scoring one of their two goals at the finals in France, and Burnley give away a lot of corners which should allow Albion to load the visitors’ penalty box.
Sean Dyche’s side tend to defend deep and before the weekend matches nobody in the Premier League had come close to their corners-against total of 95 in 11 outings.
Burnley have made a solid start to life back in the top flight with wins over Liverpool, Everton, Watford and Crystal Palace, although only one of their 14 points came away from Turf Moor – in the goalless draw at ten-man Manchester United.
That may have had something to do with a terribly difficult schedule of away games as the Clarets have already been to United, Chelsea, Southampton and Leicester.
However, they have been battered in every one of those fixtures with nine goals conceded and only one scored and the underlying match statistics are even more damning.
Burnley have averaged just 36 per cent possession on those four road trips, losing the shots-on-target count by a whopping 41-4 with goalkeeper Tom Heaton producing a world-class performance to keep United at bay last month.
Heaton is a 16-1 shot with Betfair and Paddy Power to be named man of the match tonight and he may need to excel once again to help the Clarets collect a positive result.
Dyche and Pulis both pride themselves on team shape and it could take a set-piece to separate them, making McAuley a decent runner in the first-scorer betting.
G McAuley first goalscorer
0.5pt 20-1 each-way Paddy Power
Top scorer Nacer Chadli is sidelined and there are fitness doubts over defender Jonas Olsson and forward Saido Berahino. Salomon Rondon is expected to return.
Stephen Ward has returned to training after a hamstring problem and should be available.
Over 2.5 goals has landed in nine of the last ten meetings between these teams