Newcastle v Brighton - Saturday 17:30, Sky Sports 1
Shane Duffy completed his £4.2m move from Blackburn to Brighton on Friday afternoon and will start alongside Lewis Dunk, further increasing the Seagulls chances of a shut out at St James’s Park. With strikers Alexander Mitrovic and Dwight Gayle both confirmed absentees for Newcastle, the price on an Albion clean sheet had already shortened from an opening price of 10/3.
However, any value in either that bet or the away win has now disappeared in a sea of blue. But that’s nothing to lose any sleep over because the best bet in any case might be the draw at 12/5. No fewer than 13 of Brighton’s 22 games against top-half opposition finished all-square last season, including eight out of ten against the rest of the top six.
On the road, the Albion stalemate quota was 12 out of 23 - or 14 out of 25 if you include away trips to Derby and Reading already this term - so let’s not kid ourselves that Chris Hughton will be taking anything other than a safety-first approach. And having been chinned twice in this division already, Rafa Benitez is even less likely to deny his pragmatic instincts.
Over the past fortnight, the Sky cameras have captured four of the big six going head-to-head at Saturday tea-time without the net bulging once, following the lead set by Derby and Brighton on the opening day. The trend won’t continue forever but with no goalscorer priced up at 17/2, it’s worth taking a chance on it stretching to one more game.