Your blog’s English football pundit left everything UK-themed to Nikola by accident last week, which isn’t a shame at all from a prediction POV. The big man is excellent at forecasting European matches of all stripes, but regretfully, a vacation in Maui wasn’t the culprit behind last weekend’s missing picks – rather a PC crash that struck just as UEFA was gearing up for another Group Stage go-around.
Gone’s the chance to analyze how Premier League clubs might be distracted going into the mid-week international slate, but there’s still an opportunity for punters to glean betting angles out of how UEFA squads are likely to react coming out of it.
Chelsea’s loss to Juventus marks Pensioners let down in a big fixture for the 2nd time in early fall, while Manchester City’s defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain changes the conversation around which league’s representatives are most likely to challenge Sky Blues in spring, and sets the table for a lot of hand-wringing about why Man City can’t deal with its striker position in a timely manner, or come up with some kind of forward combination that can compare to PSG’s triumvirate of stars at the front of Parisians’ formation.
At the same time, we’re dealing with a sports landscape in which A+ competitors can forget the obvious and fall prey to foibles associated with losing teams, as evidenced by last weekend’s fascinating follies in the National Football League. Bookmakers are whiffing on more obvious angles than usual too, which makes me imagine that London and Las Vegas could be taking the basic, simple matter of handicapping Premier League kickoffs – as in, an analysis of form comparing 2 opposing teams – for granted. Most of the line movement and betting intrigue centers around how a club will feel about this and that, or how tired or injured it’s likely to be in a 3+ competition schedule.
Yet it’s so early in the campaign that every lineup carries plenty of hope, and outside of the nagging injury woes at City and on other EPL contenders, physical wear and fatigue are also less of an issue than how a favorite or underdog is executing on the pitch.
Champions League triumph and heartbreak will eventually affect how teams think and play on Premiership grounds. For now, though, it’s how English teams are stacking up mano-a-mano which provides the best gambling angles for this weekend.
Here’s 5 more EPL predictions added to WagerBop’s early autumn ledger – and none of them are based on reading the minds of players who flew home on Wednesday.
English Premier League: Best Upcoming Lines and Picks
Manchester United vs. Everton (Saturday 10/2)
The (-190) moneyline on Man United vs Everton could give casual bettors the wrong impression. Ronaldo’s debut did spark Red Devils to a nice 4-1 win over Newcastle however, since then, the club has disappointed several times. MUFC began the UEFA Champions League campaign by losing to Young Boys 2-1, then followed an anxious league win over West Ham by losing to Hammers in the EFL Cup, a loss that occurred despite Anthony Martial at forward and Dean Henderson appearing in goal.
Results only went downhill from there. Ronaldo returned at striker to face visiting Aston Villa, but 24 out of Manchester United’s 28 shot attempts went awry as Villains defeated the scatter-shot Red Devils in a fairly messy matchup.
The most recent coaching change for United was made in a hurry with seemingly no thought of whether the switch would limit the club’s ceiling of quality over the long haul. Perhaps another change will be undertaken soon. No matter what problems exist for Toffeemen in 2021, it’s a bad idea to pick MUFC at 1-to-2 odds against any Premier League club right now.
Recommended bet: Everton (+600)
Chelsea F.C. vs. Southampton (Saturday 10/2)
This Saturday’s matchup between Chelsea and Southampton clearly favors the former, and Chelsea has the responsible out-from-the-back form under Thomas Tuchel to maintain poise and a clean sheet vs. Southampton’s aggressive numbers game. However, an eye-popping moneyline of (-270) on Chelsea is way over the top even by Las Vegas and London’s standards, as Blues face an arduous week that includes a UEFA Champions League match at Juventus while Saints welcomed 6 days of rest and training.
Recommended bet: Draw (+370)
Crystal Palace vs Leicester City (Sunday 10/3)
At (+130) to defeat Crystal Palace, FanDuel’s line on Leicester hasn’t moved much since opening. That means punters have whiffed on an easy angle, made clear due to a ledger of “sample” outcomes from earlier in the season in which Foxes played matches against similar defense-oriented foes.
Supporters are losing faith fast after a less than ideal start by Leicester, which is already mired at 13th on the table. However, more so than any anticipated “positive reversion” for a UEFA representative this Saturday, we’re liking Leicester City’s patient on-pitch psychology against staid rivals in ’21.
Wolves, Norwich City, and Millwall have tried crowding Foxes in the box and playing a physical style, only for Leicester to prevail with clean sheets in each match. The same could happen on Sunday.
Recommended bets: Leicester City and Under (2.5) Goals
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Aston Villa (Sunday 10/3)
The favorites for Sunday are only a plus-odds 1/1 pick following Aston Villa’s shocker upset of Manchester United, providing a rare opportunity for punters to grab a favorable price on a UEFA club vs. an EPL bubble team matchup.
Recommended bet: Tottenham
Liverpool vs. Manchester City (Sunday 10/3)
NHL followers are privy to a “controversy” involving a tiny contingent of fans who do not want the Men’s Ice Hockey tournament at the upcoming Winter Olympics to happen, the equivalent of English Premier League supporters arguing that a FIFA World Cup “interferes” with their favorite club’s “more important” competitions.
What’s more bizarre is that a group of ice hockey fans who pride themselves on the National Hockey League’s superior quality have forgotten how to scout quality when comparing the NHL to top international tournaments. Team Finland, or whoever else wins bronze medals in Men’s Ice Hockey at the Olympics, could beat the Dallas Stars in a 7-game series by approximately 36 goals.
Or maybe it would just be 12 goals. FIFA-quality soccer sides play teams of ham-and-egg professionals all the time, and the fixtures aren’t necessarily won by 5 goals each. The stubbornness of blue-collar teams helps to maintain the trademark quirk of English football’s top level, “minnows” swimming upstream early in a league or tournament cycle while aristocrats bide their time.
Yet perhaps the 2020s will mark the end of that era, replaced by a Premier League in which strong starts are encouraged and even necessary to maintain UEFA status. Liverpool and Manchester City are playing “ordinary” league matches as though 3 points in March are just as valuable as the same points in September.
Looking at each club’s records will not relay the whole story. Liverpool has been knocking off 1 inferior team after another with clean sheets, with the exception of a weird 3-3 draw against Brentford last weekend. However, after a 3-2 win over Milan in the Champions League gave supporters cold sweats, Reds were bearing down on the next UEFA date—eventually a 5-1 win over F.C. Porto—and looking past Saturday.
Manchester City has stormed through its early schedule and taken revenge on Chelsea, though the club did suffer a 1-point draw with Southampton on 9/18 and was upset by PSG in a UEFA Group Stage loss.
Injuries become a greater threat than any emotional let-down when the EPL’s best clubs are working this hard in early fall. City’s roster woes showed up in the loss to Paris Saint-Germain as multi-purpose João Cancelo started at left back against a “Dream Team” lineup of opposing forwards Neymar, Messi, and French dynamo Kylian Mbappe. Liverpool has kept its starting-11 closer to fully intact and got a much better Champions League result this week, yet Reds remain a (+190) moneyline underdog for a match with an O/U line at (2.5) goals and odds set at (-138).
Trent Alexander-Arnold is injured and has been dropped from the Liverpool lineup on Sunday. Still, we’re predicting that Salah’s squad can outplay its 2/1 odds given a season of impeccable form so far.
Recommended bet: Liverpool
Kurt has authored close to 1000 stories covering football, soccer, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, prize-fighting and the Olympic Games. Kurt posted a 61% win rate on 200+ college and NFL gridiron picks last season. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.