THE top-four leagues in England return this weekend following what was the strangest season in history and I like the look of a Bet Builder double in the top-flight, as well as a couple of angles of attack in both Scotland and Sweden.
Crystal Palace vs Southampton (15:00)
Two teams who enjoyed contrasting ends to last season square off at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon as Crystal Palace play host to Southampton.
The Eagles endured a miserable end to last season – losing seven of their final eight matches – while the Saints signed off in style by avoiding defeat in each of their final seven fixtures.
Consequently, Ralph Hasenhuttl's men are heavily fancied to enjoy a strong season this time around, whereas Palace appear to be a number of punters pick for a potential relegation scrap.
Roy Hodgson is working with an ageing squad and the Eagles boss looks set to be without a number of key players this weekend when they come up against a Saints side who ended last season in red-hot form.
Hasenhuttl has one of the deadliest strikers in the division at his disposal in the shape of Danny Ings who notched an eye-catching 22 league goals last term and I fancy the Saints to strike on Saturday.
Southampton have scored in each of their last seven league matches, while Palace have conceded in each of their last seven outings, and therefore I'm going back the Saints to score for the first half of the Bet Builder double.
West Ham vs Newcastle (20:00)
West Ham's pre-season has been blighted with hostility so the Hammers will be desperate to hit the ground running when they host Newcastle on Saturday night.
Grady Diangana's exit coupled with a lack of funds to reshape the squad has infuriated the Irons faithful who look set to stage a protest against the owners on the opening day of the season.
David Moyes' men narrowly avoided relegation last season and they face a tricky start when they come up against a Newcastle side who have made some shrewd Summer signings.
Steve Bruce quietly impressed last season while keeping many of his critics at bay and I fancy the Magpies to make the net bulge at the London Stadium on Saturday night.
Indeed, Newcastle were shot-shy last season, however, goals tend to flow in this fixture and it's worth noting that West Ham have recorded just one clean sheet across their last 18 top-flight tussles.
With that in mind, I'm going to add Newcastle to score to the the second half of the Bet Builder double to give us a nice looking 5/6 shot with Bet 365.
Livingston vs Hamilton (15:00)
Both Livingston and Hamilton will be looking to climb the Scottish Premiership table when they go toe-to-toe at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Just one place separate the sides in the league table and collectively both teams have won just two games from the 11 they have contested this season thus far.
Livi picked up their first win of the season last time out with a 1-0 win over Ross County and on the same day Hamilton fell to a 2-0 defeat when hosting league leaders Rangers.
Having said that, Hamilton have fought bravely against both Glasgow giants this season and after racking up 14 corners across those two encounters, value could lie with Hamilton corners in West Lothian this weekend.
Brian Rice's men took an eye-catching eight corners at Celtic Park and managed six at home to Rangers, and that has me attracted to the 11/10 on offer with Sky Bet for the Accies to hit four or more corners on Saturday.
Taking this approach would have banked profit in four of Hamilton's opening five fixtures of the campaign and it's also worth noting that all three visiting sides to this venue this season have hit four or more corners.
Djurgarden vs Elfsborg (14:00)
There is just one fixture in the Swedish Allsvenskan on Saturday afternoon as third-paced Elfsborg travel to fourth-place Djurgarden.
Just two points separate these two sides and both will be desperate to capitalise on league leaders Malmo's shock setback on Thursday evening.
Elsfborg showed their mettle when picking up a point at Malmo last time out and the visitors look overpriced at 14/5 (UniBet) to defeat a Djurgarden side who have stuttered in recent weeks.
Indeed, those odds take appeal, however, I'm more attracted to the 4/5 on offer with Sky Bet for Elfsborg to hit four or more corners in this match.
Jimmy Thelin's troops are averaging 4.4 corners per-game this season and the visitors have taken at least four corners in all but two of their last eight Swedish Allsvenskan assignments.
What's more, Djurgarden's last seven fixtures have featured three or more goals and another open encounter here involving two evenly-matched teams only adds to the appeal of backing Elfsborg to take four or more corners in this bout.
- Southampton 1+ Goal
- Newcastle 1+ Goal
- Bet Builder Double – 5/6 (Bet 365)
- Hamilton 4+ Corners (11/10, Sky Bet)
- Elfsborg 4+ Corners (4/5, Sky Bet)