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Francesco Guidolin's men are the latest high-profile visitors to St Mary's as Saints ready themselves for the Premier League challenge. Adam Bate expects an unusually tight match

Southampton have enjoyed a busy pre-season schedule as they prepare for their Premier League opener against champions Manchester City on their top-flight return.

Nigel Adkins’ men have already taken on one Champions League outfit in Ajax and this weekend they welcome another to St Mary’s in the shape of Serie A side Udinese. Saints will want to go into their campaign with a win after a less-than-convincing 1-1 draw with Bristol City last time out.

The home side can be backed at 6/4 (2.5) with Paddy Power to get the victory.

If Southampton’s pre-season has been mixed then Udinese have endured a downright disappointing summer.

Defeats to Atalanta and Antalyaspor could only be partially redeemed as they held Schalke to a goalless draw in their last game.

Udinese can ill-afford a slow start as they face the first leg of their Champions League play-off in less than two weeks’ time. The Italian side are 13/8 (2.63) to win this one with Paddy Power. The draw is available at 9/4 (3.25).

With both sides having drawn their previous games, that would appear a real possibility here as each team tries to take some positives into their season proper.

The draw in the half-time/full-time market is tempting at 4/1 (5.0) but the value bet is to go with a 1-1 draw given the tight nature of all of the pre-season games these two have been involved in recently. You can back this scoreline at a tempting 11/2 (6.5) with Paddy Power.

It’s to be expected that things settled down in terms of goals as pre-season wears on and coaches look to tighten up on their defensive work.

Each of Southampton’s last three games have featured fewer than three goals and Udinese’s last three clashes have seen a total of just four goals.

As a result, the pick of the bets here is to back under 2.5 goals at 4/5 (1.8) with Paddy Power.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Under 2.5 goals at 4/5 (1.80) with Paddy Power
1-1 draw at 11/2 (6.50) with Paddy Power

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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on

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