No matter what the weekend serves up in terms of high-octane association football entertainment, those thirsting after a top-tier bloodbath must restrain themselves until Monday night, when Crystal Palace host Sunderland.
The Eagles are surprisingly heavy 6/5 favourites, with the beleaguered Black Cats 27/10 for three points and the draw 12/5, but from a betting perspective there are far more fertile pastures upon which to graze our punting cattle.
Namely bwin’s card-betting buffet, because the clash in question represents a face off between the Premier League’s most prolific foulers this term (Palace) and its most booked side of 2014/15.
Palace average 14 fouls a game this term and while they trail Gus Poyet’s men by 16 cards to 21 in the bookings standings, the collision of two incursion-loving rivals is expected to turn up the fixtures’ thermostat.
But how to profit? Firstly it’s best to go with the form book and back Sunderland to win the match of the yellow cards at 9/10.
Palace have received less cautions than nine of their last 12 visitors, while the Wearsiders have out-yellowed their last three hosts.
Then there’s the south-east Londoners’ propensity for both earning and conceding penalties to consider, with six spot kicks awarded across their last six outings.
It’s 3/1 that exactly one is given in the fixture, however the Eagles’ games against Everton, Newcastle and West Brom saw a brace blown for (the last named should have seen three).
Another two-penalty-plus tussle can be invested in at 10/1.
The third ingredient in the fixture from a card-betting perspective is referee Phil Dowd who averages 4.5 yellows a game, the fourth-highest mean of any whistle blower to have officiated in the top-tier this term.
Over 3.5 cautions looks a decent bet at 31/50 as a result, but the Staffordshire peace-keeper’s tendency to book more players after the interval is where the nap of the match lies.
Dowd has awarded twice as many second-half cards as pre-break yellows, making the 53/100 about more occurring in the final 45 minutes at Selhurst Park look very fair.