After several years of merciless cuts to public services, a downturn in take-home pay and an increase in inequality the Premier League has finally joined austerity Britain.
Last weekend no fewer than three 0-0 draws featured on a Saturday in which five of the seven games played saw under 2.5 goals backers trouser the loot.
As any entrepreneur worth their salt will tell you times of hardship always offer shrewd operators an opportunity to profit and this is no exception.
An under 2.5 goals treble on the following three fixtures pays within a gnat’s whisker of 5/1.
Read on for the rationale.
West Brom v Aston Villa – under 2.5 goals @ 13/20
The Baggies have well and truly lost their boing ahead of the Villans’ visit, losing four of the last five games and more importantly notching just once during that mangy series.
Meanwhile second-city rivals Villa average a similarly drab 0.5 strikes a game away from their own backyard this season, suggesting a banal affair with a negative inspiration/perspiration balance is in the offing.
Visiting manager Paul Lambert does have the increasingly potent Christian Benteke to call upon, but any assault the Belgian was planning on the 2.5-goal line has been fatally undermined by injury to his side’s leading creator Ashley Westwood.
Burnley v Southampton – under 2.5 goals @ 4/5
Not one of the nine intrepid visitors to the Clarets’ Turf Moor stronghold during the season so far has been tapped for more than a single goal, suggesting that the league’s best defence, for all their downturn in form, are unlikely to be blitzkrieged in Lancashire.
Meanwhile, any hope of Southampton gaining some respite on what represents a pit stop in a very demanding period of fixtures is mitigated by the injury absence of string-puller Morgan Schneiderlin.
If that wasn’t enough, anyone who viewed their Monday loss to Man Utd will be able to vouch for their forwards’ under-confident profligacy at present.
Crystal Palace v Stoke – under 2.5 goals @ 67/100
The car crash that is Liverpool in the season 2014/15 are the only opposition to coax the goal-averse Eagles out from under 2.5-goal rock in their last four league games.
It was a case in point, that 3-1 win, highlighting the fact that Palace can only score goals at home when their opposition turn up to boss the game.
Against Stoke, a side with less inflated self-esteem, their attack is more likely to flounder, meaning an emphasis should be placed keeping the Potters at bay.