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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Nothing to suggest Watford will get fewer cards than Swansea

The Soccer Boffin shares his bet of the day

Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal
1 of 1

Watford v Swansea
3pm Saturday

Bet365 may have underestimated the chance of Watford receiving at least as many cards as Swansea in the Premier League game at Vicarage Road.

Although Watford had a player sent off three games in a row earlier this month – Troy Deeney, the last of them, is still suspended – they are not a dirty team. Such things happen. For every market on every event, though, there is a right price, and bet365’s price here may be bigger – even after it was cut on Friday.

In bet365’s Asian handicap cards market back Watford +1 at decimal odds of 1.7 – fractional odds of 7-10. Each yellow will count as one and each red as two. If Watford’s total is at least as large as Swansea’s the bet will win, if it is one lower stakes will be refunded and if anything else happens the bet will lose.

Why do referees show players cards? Almost always it is because a player has committed a yellow or red card offence during a mis-timed attempt to win the ball. So cards are an occasional consequence of defending. The more defending a team have to do the more cards they are likely to collect.

What is the likely balance of play at Vicarage Road?

Carlos Carvalhal will be on the bench for the first time as Swansea manager. Although Swansea are bottom of the table they are capable of improving. Watford started the season superbly and after a short wobble won again on Boxing Day against Leicester. Now they are at home again.

The result-related markets imply about a 66 per cent chance of Watford scoring each goal that is scored. There is no obvious reason to think that assessment is wrong by much if it is wrong at all.

Over the last 20 seasons in Premier League games with similar goals expectations fair decimal odds about the home team on an Asian cards handicap of +1 would normally have been about 1.6.

There is nothing to suggest that Watford generally receive fewer cards than other teams with comparable results, or that Swansea receive more.

The referee at Vicarage Road will be Martin Atkinson, who is the most highly regarded of an excellent group of Premier League officials.

On Friday afternoon bet365 sliced the odds for Watford +1 Asian handicap cards to 1.7 from 1.825. The opening odds, arguably, would have represented exceptional value for money. The current odds still seem to represent good value for money.

Watford +1 Asian handicap cards
1pt 1.7 bet365

Premier League standings


Thought for the day

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte got it spot-on. He gave two reasons why Chelsea are not in as good a position this season as they were last season.

First, Manchester City have done something special. Conte said: “We have great respect for Manchester City because they are doing an extraordinary thing.”

Second, the ball sometimes has not rolled kindly for Chelsea. Conte said: “This season is different to last season. Last season a lot of times we won games and were a bit lucky. This season sometimes we could have more luck.”

Often that is the difference between finishing top or not.

Chelsea are third in the Premier League table with 42 points from 20 games. In many seasons they would still be strong contenders for the title.

After 20 games last season Chelsea had 49 points and were top, which is where they stayed. Last season Chelsea played really well but also, as Conte acknowledged, things went their way.

Claudio Ranieri was asked to explain the difference between Leicester’s title-winning season and the next season, during which he was sacked.

He said that when Leicester won the title it seemed as though in every game they scored on their first attack, after which they could sit back and play on the break, which is what suited them best. The next season it seemed as though in every game their opponents scored on their first attack, after which Leicester had to chase a goal, which did not suit them well.

As a Nobel Prize winner once said, success equals skill plus luck.

Premier League previews

Man Utd v Southampton

Chelsea v Stoke

Liverpool v Leicester

Bournemouth v Everton

Huddersfield v Burnley

Newcastle v Brighton

Watford v Swansea

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The referee at Vicarage Road will be Martin Atkinson, who is the most highly regarded of an excellent group of Premier League officials
E.W. Terms
Sky bet