Newcastle United travel down south on Sunday to face Southampton in first Premier League game after the international break and their first after a hard fought 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

As well all know, boss Rafa Benitez wants all of his players signing from the same hymn book and as a result the team is a strong, cohesive and disciplined unit. United are playing decent football and are essentially one of the most average teams in the league.

They’re average in a good way, with three wins, three losses and a draw placing the Magpies in 9th out of 20 places on 10 points from their seven games. Seven goals scored and six conceded are another indication of the middle-of-the-road season that the Toon are having, but after years of unsustainable ups and then crushing lows, middle of the road seems just fine.

But what does that mean for betting on the Saints game? After dispensing with Claude Puel and appointing Argentine Mauricio Pellegrino, the south coast side are having an even blander season than Newcastle. They’re 12th in the table and have only won twice with two draws and five losses, which leavs Southampton on eight points and with a minus two goal difference.

That all points towards a Monday night snooze fest, especially as the Magpies are notoriously poor away from home. They’ve failed to win 13 out of their last 14 away games, and that means the odds for them to lose or draw are not great – although on the flip side they are pretty good if you back the Toon to win. Just make sure that you shop around and compare football odds to make sure you get the best bet on the match, it’s absolutely senseless backing a winner only to find out you could have got more bang for your buck elsewhere! You can check the odds of your favourite team and bet on them accordingly.

In other markets, this fixture looks like it will be an absolute shoe-in for under 2.5 goals in the game. In seven of Southampton’s last eight home games there have been under that amount, as well as for the last four of Newcastle’s away matches! Add this little humdinger of a stat to that knowledge and you’ll be running to find that under 2.5 goals per game best odd: the Saints have failed to score in eight of their last nine home games.

When you look at historical trends, however, that changes a bit. The past three times these two sides have met have led to two Southampton wins and one draw. Both those wins were 4-0 victories, while the draw was 1-1 – but be careful, Benítez has his team playing in a much more disciplined fashion and a massacre like that is unlikely.

There aren’t a lot of goals in the home side and five players have shared one each, which means there is no top scorer. There isn’t even that much fire in their bellies because the entire team has racked up just eight yellow cards and one red all season, so a good bet would be to put on 2-3 total Saints cards for the game – William Hill are offering odds on those.

Newcastle, meanwhile, have picked up 14 yellows and a red this campaign and for that reason is price is lower for 2-3 total Toon cards for the game. But do you risk it and go for four or more in the hope of a feisty encounter? If Jonjo Shelvey is playing, that would be a good call.

But overall this Newcastle fixture looks like it has Southampton, low scoring, low cards win written all over it. Newcastle are bad on the road and both teams are struggling for goals. Prediction? Saints to win 1-0 with 2-3 total cards.