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Tugby's Tips: Sunderland v Palace

13 March 2014

Former bookmaker and Palace Programme editor Luke Tugby talks us through his betting tips ahead of Saturday’s clash with Sunderland. 

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Crystal Palace travel to Sunderland in what is a big game at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League – and the bookies are clearly struggling to separate the two sides.

Home advantage makes Sunderland the favourites with SkyBet at 11/10, while Palace are available at 5/2 to return to south London with all three points. The draw is on offer at 11/5.

Playing at home hasn’t counted for all that much so far this term though for the Black Cats. They have won at the Stadium of Light just once in the league since the turn of the year, recording just three home Premier League wins all season – so the Eagles will come into the game quietly confident of adding to their two top-flight victories on the road.

If they are to do that, the goal-scoring burden will lie heavily on the likes of Glenn Murray, Jason Puncheon and Tom Ince, with top scorer Marouane Chamakh sidelined with a hamstring injury. Murray is a reasonably-priced 8/1 to bag the first goal and 11/4 to score at any point during the 90 minutes.

Ince is on offer at 9/1 to open the scoring or 3/1 to find the target at any time, while Puncheon is even better priced at 11/1 to score first or 4/1 to score in 90 minutes. 
Joe Ledley would be my value bet though in the first scorer market. He played in a more advanced role just behind Murray against Southampton and the Welshman certainly has an eye for goal. He looks a decent bet at 14/1 to score first or 5/1 to score in 90 minutes. 

Palace have hit three goals in a league game on two occasions this season – one of which came against Sunderland in August. Tony Pulis’ side are 11/1 to score three or more goals again on Saturday. 

At the other end of the pitch, the Eagles have a good defensive record under Pulis but have not kept a clean sheet since the 1-0 win over Hull in January. They are 9/4 to halt that particular run by shutting out Sunderland this weekend, while the Black Cats are 11/8 to keep a clean sheet. 

Gus Poyet’s men have lost the Capital One Cup Final to Manchester City and been dumped out of the FA Cup by Hull City in what has been a miserable March so far. Back in front of their home fans, will a cup hangover hinder them, or will they charge out of the blocks in a bid to get back to winning ways? The hosts are 15/8 to be leading at half time, while Palace are good value at 3/1 to take an advantage into the break.

Either way, I can’t see past the draw at full time in a game that neither side will want to lose.    

Tugby’s Tip of the Day: For me, both managers will see this is as a ‘must not lose’ game rather than a must win. I’d take the 11/5 for the match to end in a draw. 

Value Bet of the Day: Joe Ledley at 14/1 to score the first goal – a very good price, particularly if he plays just off of Glenn Murray as he did against Southampton last time out. 

Long Shot of the Day: Palace have only scored three goals in a game on two occasions this season, but they are 11/1 to repeat that feat on Saturday. Bearing in mind Sunderland have conceded three or more goals in each of their last three outings, it’s a long shot, but one that’s not to be completely sniffed at.

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