Newcastle have won just one of their last five but last week’s point at West Brom was a respectable one in the wake of the Magpies’ defeat to Sunderland and it took Alan Pardew’s men a safe-looking six points clear of the drop zone.
Nevertheless, bookies expect them to taste defeat this weekend as they welcome Liverpool to St James’s Park, Paddy Power pricing Newcastle as 11/5 outsiders and Coral installing the visitors as 7/5 favourites.
It’s 13/5 with Stan James to finish all square, as it did in the reverse fixture at Anfield and the same firm prices a repeat of the 1-1 scoreline from that contest at 13/2 while BetVictor go 5/1 about both halves finishing all square.
In that November meeting on Merseyside however, it was Luis Suarez that levelled for the Reds and he won’t be available this week for well-publicised reasons. Moreover, nobody outside of the top six has picked up more home victories than Pardew’s charges and these two factors perhaps suggest United have been underestimated.
BetVictor post 12/1 against them bagging the only goal and also potentially appealing are Ladbrokes’ 18/5 for Newcastle to sneak it by one or bet365’s 6/1, marked against home success following a drawn first period.
Suarez’s absence certainly hinders Brendan Rodgers’ charges in attack and subsequently increases the chances of a Magpies win ‘to nil’ at 9/2 via bet365. Some punters might even fancy Skybet’s 11/10 for the match to produce fewer than three goals, although Papiss Cisse will have other ideas, the United striker a 7/1 shot at William Hill to break the deadlock.
Wigan’s clash with Tottenham has implications at the bottom of the table and also in the scrap for fourth but after they came from behind to defeat Manchester City at the weekend, it’s hard to see past Spurs, who look decent value at 21/20 with BetVictor to push the Latics closer to the relegation trapdoor.
The same firm marks 6/5 against Gareth Bale notching at any time at the DW Stadium, where it’s 4/5 courtesy of Stan James for a match tally of three or more goals.
In the showdown between the two teams effectively already down, Reading get the nod at 13/8 with bet365 to see off QPR and Stoke, at 11/10 (William Hill) can move on to the magical 40-point safety mark by sending Norwich home from the Britannia Stadium empty-handed.
Meanwhile, Stan James make Southampton and West Brom 11/4 to be inseparable on the south coast and Everton, who have beaten Fulham in nine consecutive Goodison Park meetings, are 8/15 with Ladbrokes to extend that sequence.