English Premier League Picks: Stoke City vs. Sunderland
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 11/21/2013
On Saturday, Sunderland will be traveling to Britannia Stadium to square off against Stoke City. This match takes place at the bottom of the table as both teams try to avoid the relegation zone. Currently Stoke sits just outside of the bottom three due to a better goal differential, while a win would pull Sunderland even with Stoke at 10 points. Both teams have each only managed two wins this campaign, fewer than all sides, except Crystal Palace, who has a lone victory.
Stoke City vs. Sunderland Betting Story Lines
Stoke will enter the match looking for their first win since Aug. 31. Since winning 1-0 against West Ham, the team has racked up three losses and three draws. The most exciting thing that will be happening at Britannia Stadium in foreseeable future will be when Rod Stewart plays there next summer.
Across the pitch will be a Sunderland team that is struggling to find an identity this campaign. However, they have had two massive wins in their last three Premier League matches as well as finding themselves in the quarterfinals of the Capital One Cup. Both League wins were on home soil against bitter rivals Newcastle and title hopefuls Manchester City. In addition, the team may be coming into form under new manager Gus Poyet, who is succeeding Paolo Di Canio, following his atrocious start and bizarre antics. The Independent revealed that his 175-day reign of fear at the club was ended because of the “systematic destruction of the player’s self-esteem and self-worth.” Sunderland seems to be that beaten shelter dog that is trying to be brought into a better home.
Stoke vs. Sunderland Betting Odds and Trends
Sunderland's –14 goal differential is second-worst in the EPL, just eclipsing the –15 of Crystal Palace. Stoke City has only conceded four goals more than it has scored, although it does not have the results (two wins, four draws and five losses) to show for it.
At Bovada, the “draw” is priced at +240, and considering the sides, the price has plenty of value. Stoke has managed only three league goals at home this season, the lowest total in Premier League, and Sunderland’s improved form as of late seems to be a perfect storm for them to steal a point away from home. While both teams would like to grab the three points, it’s still early in the campaign, and as this match plays out, unless someone puts it away early, look for both teams to become increasingly satisfied with grabbing a point.
English Premier League Picks: Take Stoke City/Sunderland 'Draw' (+240) (10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 23)
It seems like this match will shake out to be a low-scoring draw, fueling America’s hate for soccer, unless some win big on the +240 draw. Stoke has played three of the last four games to draws, with two of the three draws coming at home. Sunderland is playing better football as of late and may continue to improve behind their new manager.
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