Bournemouth are our favourites for the wooden spoon this term as the long-term absences to key players Max Gradel and Callum Wilson have left the squad looking very short on quality. Tommy Elphick is also a big loss and his absence is certainly related to them conceding 10 times in their last two games. They’ve now conceded 13 times in their last four away matches and with Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle in such excellent form they are bound to be in for a tough afternoon.
Backing Bournemouth in every game this season would have resulted in a 56% loss but the bookmakers continue to overestimate them and we have to take advantage of that. In 64 games since 2010/11, where a side placed 4th-12th has hosted a bottom-six promoted team they’ve been winners 72% of the time, including by more than one goal 44% of the time. Southampton have the form and quality to dispatch injury hit Bournemouth and are certainly worth considering on a longer handicap to win by at least three or four goals. Alternatively backing them in a Sunday double with Everton comes to a 7/5 shot and looks very tempting. Bournemouth do keep scoring – they’ve netted in eight consecutive matches – but usually only once and without Gradel and Wilson their attack is significantly weaker. That scoring streak will end at some point and the Southampton defence is one of the best in the league. 7/4 is certainly a very good price for the home win to nil and the correct scores for the big wins to nil of 3-0 at 12/1, 4-0 at 25/1 or even 5-0 at 60/1 are potentially worth a punt.
We’re happy to avoid the Over/Under Goals markets here and stick with backing Southampton but Pelle also looks worth backing to score. He’s netted in five of his nine home starts against bottom-half teams since the start of last season (seven goals in total) and can exploit the same weaknesses in the heart of Bournemouth’s defence that allowed Harry Kane to score a hat-trick last week and Wilfried Bony and Raheem Sterling to score five between them the week before. At 6/5 the Italian looks decent value while he’s 25/1 to net a hat-trick.