NEWCASTLE have exceeded expectations this season and should move further away from the drop zone today.

When Steve Bruce was appointed boss most fans were resigned to a season in the Championship – but the experienced boss has played to strengths and as a result the club sit 14th and seven clear of the bottom three.

It's been so positive Bruce has even targeted an FA Cup run but his ploy of fielding a full team at home to Oxford backfired when they were held 0-0.

In the Premier League their home form has been superb with five wins in nine including victories over Chelsea, Southampton and Manchester United.

Norwich arrive at St James' with the worst away record – losing nine of 12 – so this is a great chance for Newcastle to notch another three points.

Bruce's boys, who last night made one of the best signings of the transfer window in Danny Rose, are a best 13-10 with Betfred and new-found prolific scorer Miguel Almiron is 19-2 at Unibet to break the deadlock.

At the top end I've been saying for weeks Liverpool are champions – and they're now 19 points clear after winning their game in hand at West Ham.

Normally they'd be about 1-6 at home to Southampton but such is Saints' form you can get 3-10 with several firms including Marathonbet.

Saints have lost one in six and have been excellent on the road with four successive victories – including Chelsea and Leicester – although their last two visits to Anfield have been 3-0 defeats and Liverpool have won 19 in a row at home.

It's five cleans sheets in six league games for the Reds but they could concede here. That 3-10 will be on an accas but for a single look at Liverpool and both to score at 15-8 with 888sport.

If Saints are to score it could come from former Liverpool striker Danny Ings who has 14 league goals this season – 11 more than he got at Liverpool.

The lunchtime game looks a cracker and Brendan Rodgers will be keen to get Leicester back on track after a painful Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Aston Villa.

It's not an easy one to call but a score draw has a chance at 17-5 with BetVictor. Both sides are struggling to keep clean sheets and both to score should land at 3-5 with William Hill.

I've been impressed with Villa in recent weeks and they've coped well with the loss of John McGinn. In his absence Jack Grealish has really stepped up and looks a class act.

If Grealish plays as he did against Leicester there is every chance Villa can win at a Bournemouth side whose only recent win was at home to Brighton. It's a big match in the battle to beat the drop and I fancy Villa at 5-2 with BetVictor.

The late game sees Man United entertain Wolves and despite the home men’s win at City in midweek I’m on Wolves not to lose at 6-4 with Hill.

In the Championship I like away specialists Nottm Forest at Birmingham at 37-20 with Unibet and I'm on Brentford at evens away to Hull.

Brentford went down at home to Forest in midweek but I expect them to bounce back at a Hull side who have lost star man Jarrod Bowen to West Ham for around £25million.

I heard a Hull fan on the radio almost crying over the forward's exit and the Bees should take advantage. They are evens at Ladbrokes.

Recommended Bets

  • Newcastle (13-10, Betfred)
  • Liverpool & Btts (15-8, 888sport)
  • Leicester v Chelsea score draw (17-5, betVictor) – 12.30pm
  • Aston Villa draw no bet (11-8, Unibet)
  • Nottm Forest (37-20, Unibet)
  • Brentford at Hull (Evens, Ladbrokes) – 12.30pm

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