Newcastle’s defensive crisis makes Norwich good shouts ahead of the meeting between the two teams at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Games against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea in the last three weeks have checked some of the Magpies’ early-season momentum, which saw them move as high as third in the table.
With Holt picking up all the tricks of the trade you would expect of someone who has spent most of his career battling in the lower divisions, the Magpies’ new-look defence could be in for a baptism of fire.
However, with just one point secured from the three-game sequence against City, United and Chelsea, Newcastle have fallen back down to sixth.
Coupled with a 4-3 defeat to Blackburn in the Carling Cup, Newcastle have now lost three of their last six games having gone 11 games unbeaten at the start of the season.
But rather than a crisis of confidence, it is a selection crisis which could be Newcastle’s undoing at Carrow Road, when they will be up against a Norwich side who have picked up the same number of points at home as Liverpool, Aston Villa and Stoke.
For more damaging than a 3-0 home defeat to Chelsea last weekend was the news that an injury picked up by Steven Taylor during the match could keep him out for the rest of the season.
Fabricio Coloccini, Taylor’s partner at the back, could also miss the Norwich game after he picked up a knock in the same game and Mike Williamson, an obvious stand-in at centre-half, is still on the comeback trail following an ankle injury.
It could therefore be a makeshift centre-back combination which takes to the field at Carrow Road, and if this proves the case then Grant Holt will surely be licking his lips.
The Cumbrian is not guaranteed a start against Newcastle but, with Norwich boss Paul Lambert confident enough to play two up front against teams he sees as vulnerable, Holt could find himself in the starting XI.
And with the 30-year-old picking up all the tricks of the trade you would expect of someone who has spent most of his career battling in the lower divisions, the Magpies’ new-look defence could be in for a baptism of fire.
A bet on Holt to score at any time in the game could therefore prove a shrewd move at odds of 3/2, while a punt on the Norwich number nine to score the last goal could also pay off at odds of 11/2 given he has had the concluding word in two of the last three matches at Carrow Road.
Regardless of whether Holt scores or not, Norwich certainly look capable of outscoring Newcastle having bagged at least as many goals at home as all but the top five clubs in the table.
As such, they look good bets to beat Newcastle in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, where they are priced at 3/2 for victory.
This leaves a draw at 9/4 and an away success at odds of 7/4.
However, with the Canaries yet to keep a clean sheet at home this season Newcastle are also likely to hit the back of the net.
This suggests that Norwich will have to score at least twice to secure all three points, making a Norwich win with over 2.5 goals the best bet at odds of 29/10.
A successful £25 free bet on Norwich to beat Newcastle with over 2.5 combined goals would return £61.25, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
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