At the end of the first Saturday of the season, Bolton Wanderers’ players and fans were celebrating being top of the Premier League table after a thumping 4-0 win over newly-promoted QPR.
That afternoon you probably would have got long odds on Owen Coyle’s side being in real danger of relegation with six games to go, yet that is where the Trotters find themselves.
For Swansea, things have gone in the opposite direction. A 4-0 defeat to Manchester City on the opening weekend compounded many people’s belief that the Welsh side’s stay in the top flight would be brief, yet they go to the Reebok on Saturday knowing their Premier League status is already secured.
The two sides’ varying fortunes this campaign would seem to suggest that Swansea are the favourites for this clash.
But two home wins in their last three actually sees Bolton at the shorter odds in bwin’s 3-way football betting market at 23/20, with the Swans outsiders at 12/5 and the draw at 11/5.
Bolton have not played for nearly a fortnight because of last weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals, whereas Brendan Rodgers’ side have played twice in the intervening period and may have a physical disadvantage come Saturday afternoon.
Bolton’s position as favourites is partly due to their far greater need for the three points on offer, being as they are in 18th place in the table, two points adrift of QPR.
They also have an advantage over Swansea as they have not played for nearly a fortnight because of last weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals, whereas Brendan Rodgers’ side have played twice in the intervening period and may have a physical disadvantage come Saturday afternoon.
When the two sides met previously in the league, it was Swansea who were victorious through a 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium, with all four goals coming in an action-packed second half – bwin is offering 33/4 on over 3.5 goals in the second period this time around.
Second-half goals are something that seem almost inevitable in this game, as the teams have conceded a combined 68 goals in the second 45 minutes of Premier League games, as opposed to 41 in opening halves.
It is not surprising to see short odds of 23/20 on more goals in the second half in comparison to 19/10 on the first half seeing more goals – but this is still definitely worth a look.
Since that defeat in South Wales, Bolton had the opportunity to take some revenge in an FA Cup tie in January and took it thanks to a 2-1 win at the Reebok Stadium, courtesy of goals from ex-Swan Darren Pratley and Chris Eagles.
You can get 31/4 on a repeat of that scoreline, meaning punters backing it with their free £25 bet for joining bwin.com would win £218.75 if successful.
Despite all the plaudits they have received for their style of football, Swansea have seen their impressive form dip dramatically over the last month.
Until victory over Blackburn last weekend, they were on their worst run of the season, having suffered four straight defeats, and the signs are that opposition sides are starting to come to grips with the Barcelona-style possession football that the Welsh side play.
This, coupled with a secure mid-table position in the league, should hand the advantage over to Bolton at the Reebok on Saturday.
Bolton to beat Swansea @ 23/20 More goals in the second half than the first @ 23/20
Bolton to beat Swansea 2-1 @ 31/4
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