Newly-promoted Norwich go into their first home game of the season as slight 3/2 favourites to beat Stoke at Carrow Road, although the Potters will be hopeful of continuing their encouraging start to the season and grabbing all three points.
Victory for Tony Pulis’ side is priced at 7/4 in bwin’s 3Way betting market, with a draw at 9/4.
While today’s game will be the Canaries’ second competitive fixture of the 2011-12 campaign following their 1-1 draw with Wigan on the opening day of the Premier League, Stoke’s Europa League adventure means they are already heading into their fifth game of the season proper.
Crucially, Stoke remain unbeaten on this run and, even more impressively, have yet to concede a goal.
One-nil wins home and away to Hajduk Split were followed by a 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the Britannia and another 1-0 away victory against FC Thun on Thursday.
This could lead to punters backing Stoke to keep a clean sheet in Norfolk, with this option available at 11/5.
However, this would ignore the fact that Norwich notched 47 league goals at Carrow Road last season, making them the joint-second most prolific scorers at home in the 2010-11 Championship behind Leicester City.
With this in mind, it would seem that Paul Lambert’s men will not have trouble finding the back of the net.
The concerning issue for the Scot will be whether his team manage to keep Stoke from scoring.
They might have been the best attacking side in English football’s second tier last season, but only one team in the top ten – Leeds – conceded more than the 30 goals let in by Norwich at home.
As such, betting on both teams to score at 18/25 looks safer than backing either team to keep a clean sheet.
For more attractive odds, consider betting on there to be more than 2.5 goals in the second half, with both sides conceding and scoring more after the interval than before in their respective leagues last season.
With this option available at odds of 15/4, a successful £25 free bet on there to be at least three goals after the break, available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account, would return £93.75.
As for the result, the partisan backing of a Norwich crowd celebrating the club’s top-flight return, coupled with Stoke’s potential European hangover after their continental tie on Thursday, should give the home side the edge.
A 2-1 win for Norwich therefore looks like the way to go at odds of 9/1.
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