Premier League Picks: 31 August 2012

Rob Alexander picks out a couple of value bets from the weekend Premier League fixtures.

After last weekend's pretty successful picks there are nine matches to choose from this weekend and although the betting looks slightly tougher there's still plenty of value to be had. With a decent amount of profit to play with this weekend it is perhaps worth taking a bit more risk with our bets this week so I've included a handicap bet that looks a bit risky but I think is worth a chance.

The one stand out game of the weekend is Sunday's match at Anfield between Liverpool and Arsenal. The Gunners have yet to score this season and Liverpool will have been buoyed by their performance against Man City last weekend. There looks to be plenty of value in the current betting for that match and the home side look cracking value to win.

One match that stands out in the Asian Handicap betting is Manchester City v QPR on Saturday. With a repeat of the last day of the season drama looking highly unlikely, City look good value in the handicap, giving away a couple of goals to Mark Hughes' new-look Queens Park Rangers side.

The rationale for each bet is given below.

Manchester City v Queens Park Rangers

Saturday's live ESPN match between Man City and QPR looks as one sided a match as you could expect in the Premier League, with the visitors trying desperately to strengthen their squad after a poor start to the season while Roberto Mancini's side are yet to hit full stride this campaign.

Obviously people remember last season's dramatic match between the two sides last season but this match is completely different and it's difficult to see how this early season encounter could go the same way as the last time the two met.

Man City were fortunate to escape Anfield with a draw last weekend but face a much easier tie on Saturday afternoon. The more games City get under their belt the more they will improve and I fancy them to punish Mark Hughes' side this weekend. Queens Park Rangers have made some excellent signings this summer but they will take a while to gel so this match comes too soon for them.

QPR were humbled on the opening day of the season, with Swansea giving them a 5-0 hammering at Loftus Road. They did gain a point at Carrow Road last weekend but by all accounts Norwich gave them a battering without managing to take advantage of their superiority on the day. They face a much tougher task this Saturday and I believe they will struggle once again.

Manchester City should have too much quality for QPR but offer no value at odds of around 1/4 in the overall match betting. In the Asian Handicap betting they are 21/20 with bet365 giving away 2 goals. A win by two clear goals will see us get our money back, which is the absolute minimum I expect from the match. The bet looks good value but does carry plenty of risk so is worth a small to medium stake.

Bet 2 points on Man City -2.0 at 21/20 with bet365.

Liverpool v Arsenal

Liverpool may have been lucky to escape their Europa League encounter with Hearts unscathed but were in impressive form against Manchester City last weekend and a repeat performance against an Arsenal side struggling to hit the back of the net should see them record their first win of the season.

The fact Liverpool improved so much from their disastrous performance on the opening day against West Brom gives them plenty of hope ahead of this match. Arsenal meanwhile were involved in one of the worst matches we're likely to see this season last weekend when they played out a 0-0 draw against Stoke City. The Gunners will obviously improve as the season goes on but they look well behind Liverpool in terms of readiness for a big match like this.

Liverpool are notoriously inconsistent at home but it appears that they will up their performance when bigger clubs visit and I'd make them tentative odds-on favourites to win this match. At best odds of 23/20 with William Hill they look an excellent value bet to continue their early season improvement. Brendan Rodgers was a big risk as manager but if he can get Liverpool playing consistently as well as they did against Man City then they have a live chance to make the Champions League spots this season.

This match has probably come too soon for Arsenal but they do have plenty of quality in their side so any bet on Liverpool win does carry quite a bit of risk so it's probably worthwhile keeping it to a smallish stake.

Bet 2 points on Liverpool to beat Arsenal at 23/20 with William Hill.

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