Tottenham have not experienced the best summer on record, but their mood can improve slightly with a decent point in the first TV game of the season at Newcastle.
The draw can be backed at 23/10 at the Sports Direct Arena and it is the late injury concerns in the home ranks which looks likely to cost them.
As many as six players could take to the field for Newcastle short of full fitness, most notably Fabricio Coloccini, Yohan Cabaye and Davide Santon.
Hatem Ben Arfa looks the only definite non-starter, although serious doubts remain over Cheick Tiote.
Ever since Tottenham failed to qualify for the Champions League through Chelsea’s undeserved success over Bayern Munich, their luck has continued to be miserable.
Andre Villas-Boas’ best attempts to sign a striker have been in vain, while the Luka Modric saga continues to rumble on, certainly disrupting the squad and robbing the manager of funds to reinvest back into the transfer market.
The result is that Jermain Defoe is the only recognised striker in the squad, although Rafael Van der Vaart has been known to lead the line for the club in the past.
This could make a confident Defoe after his midweek England strike worth backing at 13/2 to open the scoring, even if he is not naturally suited to leading the line on his own.
It is 40/1 that Defoe grabs the only goal in a 1-0 Spurs success and this was the result when Tottenham last beat Newcastle in an away game in 2004.
This was also the score when the pair last clashed on the opening day of the season back in 1993.
In terms of picking a winner, if this game was played at the end of last season, Newcastle would certainly represent the value call at 8/5.
But Villas-Boas certainly has something to prove after his Chelsea nightmare and it is 17/10 that he can take advantage of Newcastle’s weakened side by returning to London with three points.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.