A lot has changed for Newcastle in the last three weeks.
Since losing their unbeaten league record at the Etihad Stadium in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City on 19th November, the Magpies have picked up just one point – in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford – and lost twice more to Chelsea and Norwich.
The Swans have scored in five of their last six away games, with the only exception being a 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in which they were extremely unlucky not to hit the back of the net.
Stripped of the momentum which made them the early season surprise packages, they have dropped from third to seventh.
Perhaps most worrying of all is the number of goals conceded in the last four matches.
After conceding three to Man City and one to Manchester United, Newcastle shipped three against Chelsea.
Then, deprived of first-choice centre back pairing Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor through injury, Newcastle let in four against a Grant Holt-inspired Norwich at Carrow Road last weekend.
But there is one thing that has remained constant: amidst the defeats, injuries and defensive meltdowns, Demba Ba has carried on scoring.
The Senegal international has 11 goals in 14 Premier League appearances for the Magpies so far this season, putting him second only to Robin van Persie in the division’s top scorer list.
After scoring twice against Norwich on Saturday, Ba said he was getting more confident by the game and he looks a good bet to score against Swansea in Newcastle’s next game at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have been impressive at home so far this season, conceding just twice and recording four victories and three draws in the eight games they have played at the Liberty Stadium.
But it is a different story on the road, where the Swans have yet to win and have conceded more than every team in the league except Blackburn.
The latter stat in particular will suit Ba, who is evens to score at any time and available at 17/4 to follow up his brace in Norfolk with two or more goals at St James’ Park.
Fired by Ba’s goals, Newcastle look more than capable of returning to winning ways against Swansea, who fell to a 4-2 defeat to struggling Blackburn in the last game on their travels.
The Magpies are priced at 7/10 to pick up all three points in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with the draw at 5/2 and an away success at 4/1.
However, even the expected return of Coloccini and third-choice central defender Mike Williamson for the visit of Swansea is unlikely to result in a win to nil for the Magpies.
Despite their reputation for defensive solidity prior to the Man City defeat, Newcastle have only kept two clean sheets at home this season – in their first game against Arsenal and in a 1-0 victory over Wigan.
Meanwhile, the Swans have scored in five of their last six away games, with the only exception being a 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in which they were extremely unlucky not to hit the back of the net.
So rather than bet on a Newcastle win to nil at odds of 39/20, the likelihood of a Swansea goal suggests the better option would be to have a punt on the Magpies to win a game with over 2.5 goals.
This option is available at odds of 3/2, meaning a successful £25 free bet on the outcome would return £62.50.
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