Take the hosts on at odds-on

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A team on a run of three straight defeats doesn’t deserve to be odds-on so a lay of Wolves is the simple but practical way to go, says Jamie Pacheco.

Jimenez needs to return

A surprising defeat at home to Palace means it’s now three losses on the spin for Wolves.

It’s a run that has probably deprived them of the right to dream about European football next year but assuming they finish around eighth place, it won’t be a bad season given they had a new manager coming in and a few changes to personnel on the field.

The acid test will be as to whether they progress next season.

What was odd about the last two defeats was that Raul Jimenez started both on the bench. He’s arguably their best player, the team is suited to playing with him as the target man and although he hasn’t reached the dizzy heights of two seasons ago, he’s still been decent this time round.

So why the sudden decision to drop him? One match, fine. Maybe he needed a rest but it makes you wonder if something’s up. Or whether he’ll slot back into the side for this one. Wolves look a better team with him playing.

Now or never for Hornets

The Hornets can have no complaints about their 3-2 loss at home to Arsenal at the weekend. The Gunners were the better side as per all the metrics, Watford’s second came late on and the margin of victory should arguably have been a bit bigger.

Still, with all of Norwich, Burnley, Leeds and Everton losing at the weekend, it won’t have felt like too disastrous a result, although the fact that Norwich lost to Brentford won’t have helped matters.

They’re now eight points off the Bees, who may just start feeling like they might dodge the drop.

Every single point matters from now till the end and this is a match where they’ll be hoping to get something from it.

Ismaila Sarr, one of those players who ‘makes things happen’, is still out injured and they’re missing him.

Wolves are 1.8810/11 to win the game. The questions to ask about an odds-on quote are: is this team high up in the table, are they on a good run and is their record in this fixture so good that it justifies them being that price?

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And the answer to those questions has to be: not really, no and no.

Eighth is ok but they’re hardly in the Champions League places, they’ve lost their last three in the league and only won one of their last four home matches against Watford. The others were a 2-0 win for Watford in 2018 and two draws, though those two were admittedly a few years back and in the Championship.

There’s no doubt Wolves are likelier winners than the Hornets but based purely on price, it’s hard to accept they should be at those odds.

After all, the men in yellow have lost just one of their last five away games in the league, winning one and drawing three, so they’ve been pretty good on the road of late.

It’s 3.55 the draw and 5.24/1 the Watford win but a straight lay of Wolves looks the way to go.

You’ll see far worse prices this midweek than the 1.84/5 on ‘no’ in the both teams to score market.

It’s happened (‘no’ being a winner) in 70% of Wolves home matches, and in six of the last eight.

It’s also happened in 61.5% of Watford’s away games this season and in each of their last four on the road.

So, the stats are very much in your favour and that 1.84/5 is slightly bigger than it probably should be.

Emmanuel Dennis deserves a mention in this preview and he’s about to get one.

Whether Watford go down or not, he won’t be short of suitors in a season where he has so far scored nine goals and provided six assists. Not bad for a player who was virtually unknown on these shores prior to the start of the season.

He’s 7/2 to make it 10 for the season here and he’s not exactly up against a watertight defence in this one. Putting a Dennis goal alongside the half-time draw, a possibility in what could be a slow-burner, comes to 11.6.

Author: Julie Holland