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Sunderland v Preston
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Sunderland and Preston fans are still hopeful of a play-off finish in 2024, but the first match of the new year in the Championship could have a big bearing on who looks more likely to achieve that dream.
Michael Beale is the new man in the Sunderland dugout and he will need to convince the Wearsiders that he is worthy of the role. Opinion amongst the fan base was very mixed upon his appointment, with many of them not wanting Tony Mowbray to leave in the first place. This could be a key match early on in his tenure.
Ryan Lowe is one of the longest-serving managers in the Championship, but it feels like it will only take one or two negative results for fans to turn on him. Often quite prickly in the press, Lowe has shown himself to be a capable Championship manager, but taking the next step for Preston is proving difficult.
The game is set up for Sunderland to come hard onto Preston and for the away side to see what chances they can create on the counter-attack.
There are plenty of stats and research that has been done on this match that can point us in the right direction of a value bet. Allow us to guide you through some of the key areas with some predictions based on the data.
Sunderland v Preston Cheat Sheet
This Cheat Sheet and Preview was created using predicted lineups.
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⚽️ Match stats: Sunderland one of the highest-performing teams in the Championship
⚽ Sunderland to win @ 1.53
⚽ Sunderland (-1 handicap) @ 2.50
🎯 Shooting stats: Jack Clarke the big show on the pitch
Jack Clarke has taken 70 shots for Sunderland this season. That total is the fourth-highest in the league, and almost double the number of the next highest Sunderland players, Dan Neil and Patrick Roberts.
Roberts is another interesting case though. He averages over two shots per 90, but is yet to score this season. He is potentially one to look at in the shots markets, but perhaps not the goals markets. Although variance does suggest that if he continues in the same vein he will score soon, he has accumulated 3 xG on his own already.
Dan Ballard also has a lot of shots from central defence, 26 shots and a three-goal return.
By contrast, Preston’s attacking outputs are much lower. Alan Browne leads the way with 31 shots and Liam Millar is the only player who averages over two shots per 90 minutes in the Preston squad.
Millar varies his position between wing back and wide forward, so it may be worth assessing the team selection to work out how much value he is, but he is Preston’s most lucrative angle of attack in most matches.
⚽ Jack Clarke to have 1+ shot on target @ 1.25
⚽ Patrick Roberts to have 1+ shot on target @ 1.50
⚽ Liam Millar to have 1+ shot on target @ 2.40
⚽ Alan Browne to have 1+ shot on target @ 2.87
🚩 Corners stats: Sunderland dominance expected
In keeping with their performance metrics, Sunderland are also dominant when it comes to corner collection.
They are heavy favourites in the corner match bet, but could be value for more. They average more than two corners more than their opponents so far this season in general, and this is enhanced slightly at the Stadium of Light.
In fairness, Preston’s data shows that they keep it fairly tight when it comes to corner concession on the road. Indeed, the average total of 8.67 in Preston’s away games is the lowest in the league, which means that the total over corner lines might be a risk for this match.
⚽ Sunderland corner match bet @ 1.25
🟨 Cards stats: Preston midfield to work themselves into the book
When looking at the first half of the season it is clearly Preston who have been in trouble with the referee the most with 63 yellow cards to Sunderland’s 49.
When it comes to the Black Cats it might be worth steering clear of the obvious. Dan Ballard has been booked nine times now, but his next caution will come with a two match suspension, something that Sunderland could do without.
Luke O’Nien is a regular card shout, but he is on eight as well, flying close to the sun.
Possibly the best value on Sunderland’s side is if Mason Burstow gets a start, he has three cards in only 6.6 90s.
Preston’s engine room works exceptionally hard and it can cause them to produce a lot of fouls, and, therefore, yellow cards.
Ryan Ledson, Alan Browne, Ali McCann, Brad Potts, and Ben Whiteman all have a decent number of fouls and cards to their name. There is absolutely no reason why they would approach this match any differently given the difficulty level of it.
In terms of the market, Alan Browne and Ali McCann are worth backing. They are both bigger prices than expected and they are nowhere near a suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards.
⚽ Alan Browne to be shown a card @ 3.75
⚽ Ali McCann to be shown a card @ 4.20
* I recommend waiting for confirmed team line-ups before placing any bets.
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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