Football Betting Briefing: December 22 - 28 (By Betfair.com)

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Football Betting Briefing: December 22 - 28

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Mince pies, anyone? Not if you're a Premier League footballer - while most of the rest of the world puts its feet up over the next 10 days, the richest league on earth faces its busiest time of the year, which is why English games dominate the global calendar this week.

Monday 22nd December

Chelsea look to extend their 11-match winning run on the road when they travel to face Everton at Goodison Park. Felipe Scolari's visitors are as short as 1.75 to take all three points, with Everton 5.8 and the draw 3.8 - but if you're looking for a bigger price on the visitors, consider the Chelsea Clean Sheet Market at 2.26. Ten of the Blues' 11 consecutive victories have been to nil.
Away from English matters, Benfica take on Nacional in the Portuguese Superliga on Monday night - and the Eagles are a justifiable 1.45 against their sixth-placed visitors. Quique Flores' hosts are unbeaten in 11 games (W7-D4-L0) this season and thrashed Maritimo 6-0 away in their last outing, with Nuno Gomes (2) and Jose Antonio Reyes both on the scoresheet.


Friday 26th December

Aston Villa host Arsenal in a game that could go some way to deciding who claims fourth place this season. The Villans caused an upset when they won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium last month thanks to two goals in the final quarter of the match - but they haven't overcome Arsenal at home since a fixture in December 1998 when Julian Joachim was among the scorers. The Gunners have drawn five and won four of nine meetings since then, which partly justifies their 2.56 price. Villa are 2.8, but the draw is the most tempting Match Odds bet at 3.45 in what is sure to be a hard-to-call encounter.
It is impossible to see a West Brom side in freefall getting anything at Stamford Bridge, despite Chelsea's recent difficulties on home soil. Chelsea with a deficit start on the Asian handicap or to win both halves will surely have greater appeal, however, than the Blues to triumph at a skinny price of 1.17.
A promoted side more likely to cause an upset are Stoke City, who have the good fortune to host Manchester United side at a time when the Premier League, European and world champions are recovering from the exertions of two games in four days and a 12,000-mile round trip to the Fifa Club World Cup. The bad news for Stoke, though, is United have won eight of their last nine away games to promoted sides, averaging 2.22 goals and a goals supremacy of 1.55 a match - which suggests taking the [10] on Stoke would leave you out of pocket.
Sam Allardyce journeys north with Blackburn to the Stadium of Light, where he might have been manager himself had his pleas for the job not fallen on Niall Quinn's deaf ears. But Ricky Sbragia is making a decent pitch for the Wearside post himself, having earned maximum points from the past two matches and seen his side score eight goals. The 2.2 on the hosts is a bit tight against rejuvenated visitors, but it's difficult to ignore Djibril Cisse - the arrestingly-coiffured France international has netted five in his last seven league games.


Finally, we're over to Holland, where Feyenoord v NAC Breda is Boxing Day's sole fixture. The Rotterdam-based hosts, struggling all season, are looking to recover from two straight defeats on their own patch, but will have their work cut out against flying visitors. NAC - 13 points higher than Feyenoord in the table going into this weekend's fixtures - have already won four of seven away fixtures as they bid to do as least as well as last season's third-place finish. My money would be on NAC with a 0-goal start on the handicap.


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