Manchester United will be hoping Bolton do not prove to be another banana skin when Owen Coyle’s side visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Red Devils are overwhelming favourites to pick up three points and earn their first league win in three attempts.
United are priced at 4/25 for the win in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, leaving the draw at 6/1 and a Bolton success at 14/1.
The trouble is, Blackburn, the last visitors to Old Trafford, were 20/1 outsiders to earn a shock victory and they walked away as 3-2 winners.
Bolton are in decent form as well – at least for a side camped in the relegation zone -and have recorded wins in each of their last two away matches.
But United’s chances of avoiding another huge upset will be boosted by the return of several key players.
Wayne Rooney, Anderson, Rio Ferdinand and Chris Smalling were all unfit to start against Blackburn but should line up against Bolton, meaning there will be a more familiar look to the United starting XI.
This should help to keep Bolton at bay and with the Trotters having the joint-worst goals against total in the league, United should have more than enough to ease to victory and help to put their Blackburn defeat to bed.
United’s chances of avoiding another huge upset will be boosted by the return of several key players.
But with a United victory at odds of 4/25, many punters will be looking elsewhere to place their bets.
Given Bolton’s poor defensive record, one option would be to bet on United to win by at least three clear goals at odds of 23/20.
Another factor which could make this option worth a punt is that, even allowing for a 3-0 defeat to Newcastle on January 4th, United have scored 21 goals in their last six domestic matches – an average of 3.5 a game.
This suggests United have enough firepower to overcome a two-goal handicap to win against the Trotters.
The one concern for those betting on a United win by at least goals would perhaps be that if Bolton score, the home team would need to score four or more goals.
And the Trotters did find the back of the net at Anfield (in the league) and the Emirates (in the Carling Cup) earlier this season and they have averaged more than a goal a game on their travels in the league.
But the return of Smalling and Ferdinand will make a big difference for United and this should be enough to ensure a clean sheet, particularly as Anderson and Carrick are likely to form a more effective midfield shield than United’s defence have been afforded in recent games.
For this reason, United look better bets to keep a clean sheet than not, with the former option available at 83/100 and the latter at 87/100.
And this should make punters more confident about United winning by at least three goals, with a successful £25 free bet on this outcome set to return £53.75.
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