AFTER a few quiet days, football returns with a bang with a busy UK card and matches from Serie A. Had a good look at the Boxing Day fixtures and there are a number of home teams I fancy.
Hearts v Hamilton (3pm)
Craig Levein has had plenty to say about results and referees over the last few months but one thing is for sure, he can't have any excuses come 4.45pm today.
From being top of the league, the Jambos have nosedived and although that coincides with the loss of key players to injury, they still have a good enough squad to be beating the likes of Hamilton.
Tynecastle is no longer the fortress it was with Celtic, Rangers and Kilmarnock all leaving with three points recently. But they don't lose many at home to the league's bottom-six sides and with Hamilton losing seven of their last nine on the road (failed to score in six of those) they should get a much-needed three points.
Crystal Palace v Cardiff City (3pm)
It's been a fantastic December for Palace – back-to-back wins against Leicester and Man City all of sudden make things look much rosier at Selhurst Park.
Saturday's win against City was as outstanding as it was surprising and they have a great opportunity to make it a hat-trick of wins against the league's whipping boys on the road.
Cardiff's away record in the league is appalling. P8 W0 D1 L7 – 1 point from a possible 24 will probably be the reason they end up going back to the Championship.
Palace will be absolutely brimming with confidence after beating City and a noisy Boxing Day home crowd should roar them on to another three points against a travel-sick Cardiff.
WBA v Wigan (3pm)
After an early-season blip, West Brom have roared back with 17 points from their last 21 (5 wins 2 draws) and are now right back in the hunt for automatic promotion.
A big factor in that is the goal return from their two strikers. Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez have 23 goals between and you have to fear for this Wigan side who have won just once in their last 10 matches.
Like a few sides I've looked at backing against today, Wigan collect the majority of their points at home. Their away form is shocking (4 points from 11 matches, 9 defeats, 1 win, 1 draw).
Really hard to make a case against WBA today, given their current form, place in the league and an opponent who struggle away. Those struggles should continue for Wigan today against a potent strikeforce.
I really like the look of all three sides, especially, Palace and WBA – Hearts would be the only worry given their recent woes but should still have enough about them to beat Hamilton.
- Crystal Palace to beat Cardiff
- WBA to beat Wigan
- 8/5 (Marathonbet) (NAP)
Add Hearts to make a 3/1 treble
Dundee v Livingston (KO 3pm)
I've seen plenty of these two sides this season and the bookies are certainly giving Livingston the respect they deserve by pricing Dundee as big as 3/1 despite being the home side.
Not a game I would touch in terms of the outcome as Livi will come here with confidence after their draw at Hibs and are more than capable of getting a result but most of their good work is done at home.
Dundee chucked their game against Celtic by resting key men with more winnable games than a trip to Celtic park on the horizon.
They did find a bit of form but that was ended by a trips to the leagues form sides in Celtic and Kilmarnock so be keen to see how they get on today in a match they feel they can win.
Kenny Miller who was rested at Celtic will come back into the team and will be their main threat. Dundee are big price and whilst I couldn't back them against a good Livi side, they are more than capable of scoring.
- Dundee Goal before 76 Mins
- 5/6 (Bet365)
They are 4/7 just to score at Coral which is a good value in my opinion.
English Premier League – Goals Treble
Don't need to say too much on these. City will be hurting after Saturday's defeat and we should see a reaction. Man U should kick on from their hammering of Cardiff and Spurs looked on fire at Everton.
- Leicester City v Man City
- Man United v Huddersfield
- Tottenham v Bournemouth
- Over 2.5 match goals treble 33/10 (MarathonBet)
Don't forget the first half goals and over 1.5 match goals in League 1 and 2 – been getting close