Now roughly one quarter of the way through the EPL season, we are back with another Friday upset pick. After missing with our inaugural pick, we hit last week with Bournemouth earning a draw against Tottenham. The Cherries got a shutout at home earning a point, and we’re going back to Eddie Howe’s team for this weekend’s pick.
This weekend Bournemouth are on the road, traveling to the Riverside stadium where Middlesborough have the joint worst home record in the Premier League. Boro tied their season opener at home against Stoke, but have since lost to Palace, Spurs and Watford at home. According to cQxG numbers, Boro have been unlucky defensively in their home games; they’ve conceded 1.5 goals per home game (7th worst) while only conceding 0.8 cQxG per game (5th best in the PL). While defensively it might look like Boro are due for some fortune at home, offensively they’ve got very little to be proud of. They’re averaging less than a goal per home game (0.75 is 2nd worst) on just 0.8 cQxG (3rd worst).
Now, if only Bournemouth had been a strong road team this season, I’d be all in on this pick. Unfortunately, the Cherries’ impressive home form hasn’t translated on the road. Bournemouth have averaged -1.35 cQxG differential in road games this season (the 3rd worst tally in the PL). That being said, I like the way this team has been trending lately in general and on the road.
Only three teams have taken more points from their last six games than Bournemouth (Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham). The Cherries are also unbeaten in their last four league games and in that timeframe are T-5th with 0.75 goals conceded per game, 6th with 0.98 xQxG conceded per game and have scored 2.25 goals per game, joint top in the league. They also put in their best road performance of the season last time out against Watford. It was their second away draw of the season and their only away performance in which their cQxG differential was better than -0.9 (though admittedly in their first draw they were absorbing pressure, defending a lead for more than 80 minutes).
Bournemouth’s defensive record on the road worries me a bit, but Boro’s offensive ineptitude coupled with Bournemouth’s recent form outweighs that concern and is why taking Bournemouth either +0.5 or on the ‘Draw No Bet’ is my pick for the week.