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Premier League betting: Back Ruben Neves to end Wolves penalty drought at 15/2

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Ruben Neves is a 15/2 shot to score a penalty at West Ham
Image: Ruben Neves is a 15/2 shot to score a penalty at West Ham

Jones Knows is all over Wolves to beat West Ham on Saturday evening and thinks their barren penalty run will come to an end, with Ruben Neves fancied to score at 15/2.

How did we get on last time out?

My betting plan of basing my best plays around Armel Bella-Kotchap having a shot for Southampton against Aston Villa proved frustrating on two parts. First, the price was slashed just after publication - these things can happen in the bookmaking world we live in and then, perhaps more importantly, he didn't have a shot anyway as Southampton were pretty wretched at Aston Villa.

Two points down the drain from that weekend leaves us in the red still - something that is quite common in these early stages of the season as patterns and trends are hard to find. The betting gods do feel against me slightly with some of the results though. Take for instance my theory of there being lots of goals in the second half of Tottenham vs Leicester being overpriced.

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The theory? I'd say spot on as there with four goals coming after the break in Spurs' 6-2 win.

Well played, you'd think. But no. My execution of such an angle was laughable as my decision to back the second half to produce more goals than the first somehow ended up getting beat as there were four first half goals too.

This game, eh?

P+L = -5

1pt on: Arsenal vs Tottenham to end as a draw and 50 or more booking points (5/1 with Sky Bet - Bet Here!)

As rivalries go, this one is fast becoming the star of the Premier League stable. It's got history, hatred and what makes it stand out from the rest is both teams are operating around the same level, jostling for supremacy.

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Both are quality teams trying to swing punches at Manchester City and Liverpool above them. Trying to decipher who will land the heftiest punch on Saturday is a tricky one. Home advantage will obviously help Arsenal, but this Spurs team are always good for a goal and I'm anticipating both teams being very happy with a draw at this stage of the season. I'm quite confident Arsenal's run of 24 Premier League games without a draw comes to an end here.

I am also going hunting for a bet in the cards markets.

In the past four seasons, no fixture has produced more cards than an Arsenal vs Tottenham encounter. Forty yellows and four reds in the last eight meetings, to be precise. I'd expect this to be fiercely contested in a red-hot atmosphere.

With that in mind, the 4/6 with Sky Bet on 50 or more booking points (10 for a yellow, 25 for a red) makes sense and I wouldn't put people off eyeing up the 5/2 on 70 or more booking points. That bet would have landed in six of the last eight meetings between these two in the Premier League. I'm quite strong on the chances of the draw and cards, so am combining both to create a tasty 5/1 play.

1pt on Ruben Neves to score a penalty for Wolves vs West Ham (15/2 with Sky Bet - Bet Here!) & 0.5pt on Neves to score a penalty and Wolves to win 1-0 (80/1 with Sky Bet - Bet Here!)

I've been plotting a bet on Wolves when the price is right for the majority of the season - and now is the time to act.

Wolves possess two key traits for winning football matches: being hard to score against and possessing the ability to dominate matches in midfield. That trio in the heart of their midfield in Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Matheus Nunes has set the tone for some impressive spells in matches this season that hasn't yielded the attacking results that the performance data suggests. The first half at Tottenham, which they completely dominated, springs to mind.

This looks the perfect time to head to West Ham, who are becoming a little stale under David Moyes despite significant investment in the summer. The boss might become the victim of his own success as expectation levels are such at the club that a home game against Wolves will be deemed one the locals will be expecting to dominate and win. However, a team that has only won two of their last 14 Premier League games may not actually live up to that billing.

If Wolves are going to deliver on my faith then it's certain Neves will have a big part to play. For my money and to my eye, he's the best central midfielder outside the 'big six' teams. Sorry, Declan.

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Neves started both of Portugal's Nations League matches against the Czech Republic and Spain over the break and looks a certain starter for his country at the World Cup, further emphasising his development.

I want to back him to score this weekend. No player has had more shots at goal for Wolves than Neves this season (12) and not only are you getting a run for your money from open play - he has scored 16 goals for Wolves from outside the box, including one this season - there is also the penalty situation to consider. Neves, in the absence of Raul Jimenez, looks favourite to be on penalty duty for Wolves, having scored all five of his spot kicks in the Premier League. And surely as newly appointed captain he will pull rank.

There is a debate and uncertainty about the kick-taker due to Wolves only winning one penalty since the start of last season. No ever-present Premier League team in that time has won fewer. Brighton have won 10 in that same period and even Fulham have won two in just seven games back at the top level. On average, there is a penalty awarded every 5.8 Premier League games since the start of last season, so Wolves' run is pretty spectacular.

It's a strange statistic as the Wolves forward line is packed full of trickery, with Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence and Goncalo Guedes capable of winning fouls. They rank fifth in the Premier League for fouls won in final third this season (17) while Guedes is currently being fouled 3.26 times per 90 minutes - which actually makes him the most fouled player in the Premier League, alongside Wilfred Zaha.

This anomaly in terms of penalties being won will rectify itself soon enough based on the data and this weekend might be the time to catch it against West Ham, who are prone to conceding spot kicks under David Moyes due to their desire to defend deep and narrow inside their box. Along with already conceding two penalties this season, only three Premier League teams have conceded more penalties since Moyes returned at West Ham (17).

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