INJURIES to key players have been a recurring theme this season. Virgil Van Dijk's presence has been sorely missed in the heart of the Liverpool defence, while Man City were able to cope without the brilliant Kevin DeBruyne, but the likes of Leicester and Aston Villa haven't been able to plug the recent gaps left by the absences of James Maddison and Jack Grealish respectively.
Grealish will again miss Villa's trip to Newcastle and they've lacked a bit of spark without his influence in midfield. They've taken just four points from 12 in the last four games without him including a surprise defeat at Sheffield United and a disappointing draw with Wolves.
The good news is that Newcastle will also be missing some influential players in the shape of Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin. 21 of Newcastle's measly 27 goals this season have been scored by assisted by those three so Steve Bruce's side will be really up against it to break down a Villa defence that's only conceded three in their last six matches.
Villa are evens to win but it's a game that doesn't promise many goals. Under 2.5 is never a fun bet to take on but it's 4/6 here, while No to Both Teams to Score is 4/5. No first half goal is 13/8 and it's a bet that's landed in 41% of Newcastle games and 36% of Villa games. You can buy yourself an extra 14 minutes or so by taking the 5/6 at Bet365 on there being no goal inside the first 31 minutes.
We've plenty of matches covered in our match previews for Friday below with the action starting in SerieA at 2.00pm between Lazio and Crotone, right through to Reims v Lyon in Ligue 1 at 8.00pm.
In Scotland, Raith Rovers could be a good bet in the live match on BBC Scotland. They've been hugely inconsistent and were held 0-0 by Morton in midweek but look the value in Inverness tonight at 2/1, where they visit a Caley Thistle side that have won just once in 12 and showing no sign of progress under temporary manager Neil McCann.
Another Rovers, Blackburn, are in action in the Championship in England where Brentford are the visitors. The Bees have lost their sting of late, suffering four defeats in their last six and slipping to fourth in the table so really need to start putting wins on the board. Tony Mowbray's Blackburn have looked good at times this season but are suffering a torrid time themselves, taking just 5 points from the last 27 on offer.
At a push you'd have to side with promotion-chasing Brentford at 21/20 especially with Championship top scorer Ivan Toney on board and Blackburn likely to be without 20-goal Adam Armstrong with a hamstring injury.
- Raith Rovers Draw No Bet 11/8 (bet365)
Match Previews & Tips
Check out our match previews and tips for Friday and beyond.
- SlipsTips Tips: Levante vs Valencia Bet Builder
- VIP Tips: Banker Bet, Bonkers Bet & VIP Acca
- Fri 2.00pm – Lazio v Crotone (Premier Sports 1)
- Fri 7.30pm – Augsburg v Borussia Monchengladbach (BT Sport ESPN)
- Fri 7.45pm – Blackburn Rovers v Brentford (Sky Sports Football )
- Fri 7.45pm – Inverness v Raith Rovers (BBC Scotland)
- Fri 8.00pm – Levante v Valencia (LaLigaTV / FreeSports)
- Fri 8.00pm – Reims v Lyon
- Fri 8.00pm – Newcastle v Aston Villa (BT Sport 1)
- Sat 12.15pm – Luton Town v Swansea City (Sky Sports Main Event)
- Sat 12.30pm – Leeds Utd v Chelsea (BT Sport 1)
- Sat 3.00pm – Crystal Palace v West Brom (Sky Sports Premier League)
- Sat 3.00pm – Portsmouth v Salford City (Sky Sports Main Event)
- Sat 3.15pm – Real Madrid v Elche (LaLigaTV)
- Sat 5.30pm – Everton v Burnley (Sky Sports Main Event)
- Sat 5.30pm – Borussia Dortmund v Hertha Berlin (BT Sport 2)
- Sun 12.15pm – Sheffield Wednesday v Norwich City (Sky Sports Football)
- Sun 2.00pm – Torino v Inter Milan (Premier Sports 2)
Thursday's Horse Racing Tips
Alan Thomson has one bet lined up at Wolverhampton on Friday
The Cheltenham Festival kicks-off on Tuesday and The Voice of Value has penned a brilliant scene-setter, with a Banker Bet for each day, to get us in the mood.
He's also spent some time with racing expert Jim Delahunt to record a special Cheltenham Festival Preview Podcast. It's well worth a listen if you're looking for a few pointers for the Festival.
Corners Betting Masterclass
Last but by no means least, Greg has shared some of his secrets on a market that he's grown to love in the last 12 months. Don't miss his Experts Guide to Betting on Corners Masterclass.
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