For all the talk of financial worries at the start of the season and concerns about the apparent inability to adequately replace Yakubu and Mikel Arteta, Everton boss David Moyes is once again threatening to build a successful season with the flimsiest of materials and on the shakiest of foundations.
Unbeaten in the last four, eight points from a possible twelve have moved the Toffees to tenth in the Premier League table with at least a game in hand over all the teams above them.
Victory against Bolton tomorrow will move Everton above Norwich into ninth and two points behind eighth-placed Stoke, who will still have played a game more than their Merseyside-based competitors.
The Toffees will also be in striking distance of seventh-placed Newcastle, who have a difficult assignment against Manchester United tomorrow.
Of course, all this is just speculation – failure to beat Bolton on Wednesday and another defeat in the rearranged game against Tottenham on 11th January will mean Moyes’ men will once again be forced to look nervously over their shoulders rather than greedily eyeing the teams above them in the table.
Six of the nine league matches at Goodison Park this season have featured fewer than three strikes.
However, Everton’s unbeaten run, coupled with the Trotters’ continued poor form, points to an easy three points for the Toffees at Goodison Park tomorrow evening.
This is reflected in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, where the home team are odds-on favourites at 1/2 to win.
Bolton are priced at 11/2 to record only their second win in nine games, leaving the draw – which would be Owen Coyle’s side’s second of the season – at 3/1.
The two main factors working in Everton’s favour are their defensive solidity and Bolton’s own weakness in this area.
Not since a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle nine games ago have the Toffees conceded more than once in a single match, which explains why the Trotters are as short as 4/25 to score fewer than two goals.
Indeed, given Bolton have failed to find the back of the net in four of their last seven matches – including in a 2-0 defeat to Everton at the Reebok Stadium on 26th November – a clean sheet for the home side looks a good bet at odds of evens.
At the other end of the pitch, Everton are not exactly prolific: they average just 1.05 goals a game in the league this season and have not scored more than once since that 2-0 win over Bolton back in November.
But as shown at the Reebok a little less than six weeks ago, Bolton’s defence can always be relied on to give their opponents’ attack a helping hand.
This season, over two goals have been put past keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen in an average Premier League game involving Bolton and the Trotters have conceded at least twice in four of their last five matches.
All this points to a win to nil for Everton at odds of 27/20, with a successful £25 free bet on this outcome set to return £58.75.
The free bet is available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
For better odds, consider a punt on an Everton win with under 2.5 goals at odds of 5/2.
After all, with six of the nine league matches at Goodison Park this season featuring fewer than three strikes, even Bolton’s defensive ineptitude is unlikely to see Everton score more than twice, although it does at least mean that the home side should ease into ninth after securing all three points.
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