Tottenham got off to a fine start against Newcastle on the opening day, and in the process softened discontent from the terraces about a summer transfer window that failed to produce a single new arrivals for the season.
Goals from World Cup stars Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli gave Mauricio Pochettino’s men all three points on Tyneside in what appeared to be a very tricky opener, and they were very good value for it.
Fulham, meanwhile, had a less than ideal return to the Premier League as Crystal Palace ruthlessly claimed a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage.
Hopes had been high in West London after a fine summer of recruitment following promotion, but the mood was somewhat deflated by Roy Hodgson’s troops.
Fulham have good recent memories of Wembley after beating Aston Villa there in the Championship playoff final just last May. However, their recent history against Spurs really isn’t something that is likely to fill them with confidence.
Tottenham have won eight of their last nine Premier League meetings with Fulham, losing only once, although it was at home, which may encourage Fulham. That was a 1-0 win back in 2013, the same scoreline as Fulham’s last trip to Wembley, and 24/1 at 888sport on a repeat is a punt that should tempt plenty of people out there.
Less encouraging for Fulham is that they have scored just five goals in their last 11 top-flight meetings with Spurs, and never more than once in a match in that run.
With that in mind, 888’s 10/11 on Spurs to win to nil looks just about as safe as an evens bet ever can.
As ever with Tottenham in August, the big question will be whether or not Harry Kane can break his August duck.
The England star, fresh off winning the World Cup golden boot, made it 14 career games in August without a goal at St James’ Park last week. That’s now 988 minutes and 46 attempted shots for Kane in August without reward, which must be one of the most bizarre streaks in all of sport.
Where this gets interesting this week is seeing which record is stronger: His atrocious August hoodoo or his brilliant record in London derbies, although, in truth, the latter is slightly on the wane.
After a run that saw him score 17 goals in 16 Premier League London derby matches between January 2015 and November 2016, Kane has netted just five goals in his last 13 such fixtures. Still, 22 goals in 29 games against London opposition remains a remarkable achievement.
The problem with backing Kane to score in August is that there are no rewards, mainly because odds-makers believe in maths, not hoodoos, so you’re better off looking elsewhere for some proper value.
Christian Eriksen is 13/2 to score first with Sportnation, and that should tempt plenty. The real value may be in Fulham pair Aleksandar Mitrovic (11/1) and Ryan Sessegnon (14/1) to open the scoring, and what are the chances that former Chelsea man Andre Schurrle will open his Fulham account at Wembley against Spurs? Well Spurs fans will consider it far more likely than the 16/1 that Bethard are offering.
If you really believe in the Harry Kane August curse, then Bethard’s 15/4 for the England man to hit the woodwork should look like a fun bet.
Despite that opening day win over Newcastle, there remains something unsettling bubbling away beneath he surface for Tottenham. Their transfer window undoubtedly caused frustration and delays to the reopening of White Hart Lane have been embarrassing.
So you almost get a sense that, if they are going to win this one, they will probably do it the Tottenham way – or to give it its other name: the hard way. Bethard are offering 11/2 on Tottenham to win the game from behind, which looks generous.
Ultimately, you have to back Tottenham in this one. A Fulham win will pay for itself without the need to over-complicate it for punters, so the real question is how do you find value in the market to back a Spurs win?
Bethard’s 21/2 for a 3-1 home win looks nice, and the 35/4 for a hard-fought 2-1 win for Pochettino’s side should be considered too.
If you’re looking for a fun angle, consider Bethard’s 19/1 on Fulham stopper Fabri to save a penalty, as it ticks a lot of our boxes here: Spurs to do it the hard way, Fulham to make it tough, and Harry Kane to continue to struggle through his August curse.