Burnley are pretty happy with the side they see in the bathroom mirror right now and couldn’t have picked a better time to visit managerless Newcastle.
The Clarets’ gutsy second-half comeback to foil Manchester City at the Etihad was just the latest in a strong run of performances that makes them overpriced to escape St James’ Park with all three points at 10/3.
By contrast, Newcastle must be fairly uneasy 4/5 favourites as they begin to adjust to the shock of losing manager Alan Pardew to Crystal Palace.
No sooner had the Magpies turned the corner after four straight December reverses with victory over Everton, than this…
It would be enough to discombobulate any football team, but for one as skittish as Newcastle the effect of the blow is expected to felt with extra force.
After all, they face a Burnley side who, despite losing three of their last five games, have improved immeasurably even in recent weeks.
Furthermore, Sean Dyche’s men held Newcastle to a Turf Moor draw while the Tynesiders were still high on the effects that had supposedly saved Pardew’s skin.
Even before their manager exited stage right, scoring goals against defensively-minded visitors was a problem for the Magpies, who bagged once or less when hosting Leicester, QPR and Sunderland inside their last six at St James’ Park.
And finding the net should be that bit harder still after Papiss Cisse’s elbow indiscretion against the Toffees robbed caretaking duo John Carver and Steve Stone of the league’s most efficient goals-per-90-minute marksman through suspension.
So generous is the 10/3 on victory for the upwardly-mobile visitors, that even punters of a more pragmatic persuasion are offered a sizeable carrot.
Burnley can be backed simply to avoid defeat to their harrowed hosts at a scarcely believable 19/20 in bwin’s double-chance betting on the fixture.