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EPL match of the week odds and best bets – Liverpool vs. Stoke City

EPL Week 1

Kick-Off: Sunday, August 9th 2015 at 4:00pm BST (11:00am ET)

Venue: Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, England

TV: Sports Net World & NBC Sports

STOKE City open the new Premier League campaign at Britannia Stadium against Liverpool.

For those who have forgotten – Stoke City beat Liverpool 6-1 to end last season at home. Mame Diouf led all scorers with a brace. Steven Gerrard scored the lone goal for the Reds in the match, but he’s no longer with the club.

Liverpool have struggled at Britannia, winning just once in seven Premier League matches. The Reds are 1-2-4 against Stoke City at Britannia in the BPL overall, which is a cause for concern, but this is a new-look Liverpool side.

Brendan Rodgers is under immense pressure at Anfield this season. The Reds spent more than any team this summer, but they also lost Raheem Sterling. However, Pool has plenty of depth and should contend for a top four finish.

Stoke City vs. Liverpool 1X2 and over/under odds

Match odds have been taken from Bovada.lv (USA) – everyone else can wager on the match at 5Dimes.eu. Both bookies have great sign-up bonuses and offer a wealth of betting markets for the Premier League this season.

1X2 Odds: Stoke City +230 / Liverpool +120 / Draw +240
O/U Odds: Over 2.5 Goals +110 / Under 2.5 Goals -140

I’m definitely surprised by the over/under odds – these two teams typically score a lot at Britannia. In the seven matches played at Britannia between these two teams in league play they’re averaging 3.4 GPG.

In the last two matches at Britannia these two teams have combined to score 15 goals.

This should be an exciting match filled with scoring chances and goals for both sides. The 1X2 market is a lot tougher to predict, as both teams have question marks, plus it’s hard to trust Liverpool against teams they should beat.

Team news and injury updates

Rodgers will have basically everyone at his disposal for this match. Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan are still both out, plus Joe Allen is doubtful. However, all of the new signings are fit and we’ll see several of them on Sunday.

Mark Hughes has already had his team bit by the injury bug. Ryan Shawcross is about to have back surgery and will be out for two months, Bojan Krkic is still working on getting match fit, plus Marc Wilson and Marko Arnautovic.

It’s still too early to have confirmed line-ups, but we’ll definitely see Christian Benteke upfront for Pool and I expect to see Glen Johnson suit up at RB for Stoke City against his old team.

Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne should all start for Liverpool as well, but I don’t believe Joe Gomez will start in this one. I’d rather see Clyne, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sahko and Alberto Moreno start on the back line.

Stoke City v Liverpool predictions

There’s no doubt Liverpool is the better team on paper. They spend way more than Stoke City and they’re loaded with talent, but a lot of the talent is new this season and the biggest question is will this team have any chemistry?

With four or more new players starting, this unit may not be cohesive. However, Pool had a great preseason, as they were unbeaten in six matches. On the other hand – Stoke City went 2-1-3 in six preseason fixtures.

Losing Shawcross is a huge blow to the back line of Stoke City. Shawcross has been the rock on the back line and while Hughes has multiple alternatives, none of them will be able to fill the shoes left by Shawcross for the next two months.

I expect Adam Lallana and Phillipe Coutinho to both start on the wings for Pool. They’ll be tasked with feeding Benteke in the middle all afternoon and with Shawcross out, Benteke should be able to score his first league goal with his new team.

Best Bet: Over 2.5 Goals +110 at Bovada or 5Dimes (ROW)
I’m not going to take a stand in the 1X2 market. I lean to Liverpool because they should outclass Stoke City, but the H2H trends paint a different picture, plus I’m concerned about all of the new pieces Liverpool will have on the pitch.

My best bet is on over 2.5 goals. If the last two H2H matches at Britannia are anything to by – we’re going to be in for a lot of goals. Benteke will want to impress in his first BPL match with Pool and Diouf has had success against Liverpool.

Will both teams score in Liverpool at Stoke City?

Best Bet: YES both teams will score -125 at Bovada.lv
Both teams have scored in the last three H2H matches at Britannia. Liverpool has done a good job shutting down Stoke at Anfield, but not in away matches. In fact, no one has shutdown Stoke City at Britannia lately.

Stoke City have scored in their last eleven BPL matches – only Chelsea have a better active streak.

Liverpool are good for goals in the opening week as well. Liverpool have scored in every opening weekend match in the BPL except for three. That’s an incredible feat, especially from a team that often struggles with consistency.

Anytime goalscorer best bets

Best Bets: Christian Benteke +130; Mame Diouf +210 at Bovada.lv
I’m not interested in the first goalscorer market, as I expect a lot of goals and I’m not interested in guessing which team or player will score first. My two anytime goalscorer bets are Benteke on Liverpool and Diouf on Stoke City.

Benteke will be fed the ball in the middle all match and he should capitalize on at least one chance. Diouf is coming off a brace against Pool and will be relied upon to score a lot of goals this campaign. At over 2/1 – he presents good value.

We have to wait for confirmed line-ups, but if you’re looking for a bigger price, consider targeting James Milner (+380) on Liverpool or Jon Walters (+260) on Stoke City. Walters was level with Diouf in goals last season (8).

With Krkic definitely out, Walters should draw the start and provide another goal-scoring threat alongside Diouf.

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