We’ll be focusing mostly on Sunday’s matches in this weekend’s Premier League betting preview, raising the question of how NFL (Sunday) gamblers and FBS (Saturday) speculators in the United States view the EPL while cheering for their AM picks and afternoon side-bets to pay off. (We’ll avoid the obvious angle of NFL bettors only watching English football clubs who tend to play in the morning U.S. time, before the Dallas Cowboys can kick off.)
Intuitively, you’d think college pigskin fans would translate the wild, wooly world they’re used to into an “anything goes” mentally for betting on Saturday and Sunday soccer. Watching the Florida State Seminoles (more or less a 2nd-tier quality Serie A team for uninitiated Premier League supporters) lose to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (think “2nd tier semi-pro league in Switzerland”) will cause bookmakers and their clients alike to imagine surreal upsets prior to mismatched games going forward. Meanwhile, the NFL seems predictable at the start of 2021-22, with well-coached and conditioned clubs beating tired, disorganized foes they way they’re supposed to.
But fans of the National Football League (once again, we’re talking about American football – but only very briefly!) know that the pro game is ultimately least-susceptible to accurate forecasting. Professionals in a hand-picked league of even 32 teams, not 20, can get angry and prove dangerous on any Sunday. College football mismatches still work out to be mismatches, at least an overwhelming majority of the time.
Premier League soccer is like the NFL in late summer. West Ham and other “minnows” swim to the top of the EPL table while the scoring-depth advantage at Liverpool and Man City has to take until November to really start kicking-in. Inspired starting-11s with few injuries lead to a “casino” atmosphere at the sportsbook as fast-paced Premiership matches defy predictions and ruin carefully-placed bets.
Later on, of course, Man City becomes more like an “Alabama” or “Oklahoma,” punishing opposing teams with only 2 or 3 outstanding players, utilizing superior reserve quality to overcome any injury or red-card issues along the way. Favorites’ bets are a lot more likely to pay off when a Premier League opponent is missing 5 athletes from a lineup that was already backed against the wall vs an EPL legacy club.
Goal-total bets are a smart way to handle the Premier League’s “NFL outcomes” period at the start of each cycle. But we can’t forget that officials of top-table contenders are well aware of the dangers of a September swoon, having watched Everton and Tottenham among others fall behind City and Liverpool early in the race and never catch-up despite streaks of glory. Man United didn’t delay any longer than necessary to get Ronaldo on the pitch in 2021-22, figuring that points earned in autumn will count just as much as Ws on Boxing Day and Easter.
As a result, MUFC is just 1 of a handful of EPL squads who’re making an effort to begin a potential championship season as strongly as they plan to finish it, throwing a wrench in the usual underdog bargain-hunting at a sportsbook as favored teams blow-out goal spreads and O/U totals.
In other words it’s still OK to look for potential shock EPL outcomes to wager on this time of year. But it’s important to eliminate any matches in which the favorite is poised to control the action prohibitively with ahead-of-schedule form.
After all, it’s 2021, and teams are starting to train as usual without needing the fixtures themselves as “practice” and team orientation. That’s bad news for clubs like Crystal Palace who rely on teamwork and strong clearance against more talented rivals…even if Eagles are flying high following a 3-0 win.
Saturday’s English Premier League Betting Lines and Picks
Most of WagerBop’s clientele will find this Friday’s EPL tout too late to plot a bookie-takedown for Saturday morning, and thus scroll onward to the 3 Sunday picks. But here’s just a couple of key Saturday angles for early-birds clicking on the blog.
Wolverhampton vs Brentford
Wolves vs Blades is the undisputed “Under Derby” of Saturday. Bovada almost seems too optimistic with an O/U (2) line, but (+102) odds on the low-side are deceptive. Any simple 2-1 outcome kills the wager but a staid 1-1 draw pushes it.
On the other hand, (+235) odds on a 90+ minute draw are way too cheaply priced, since either 0-0 or 1-1 pays off the bet, and even an unexpected high-scoring match could pay it off.
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace
Reds are due for a subpar performance against a team like CPFC, whether or not Crystal Palace is coming off a huge triumph. Liverpool fought A.C. Milan in a tiring Champions League match on Wednesday, and an 11/1 underdog price on Eagles is matched by (+2) on Bovada’s goal spread.
Pick: Crystal Palace ATS
Other Saturday Picks:
Burnley (+275) defeats Arsenal
Man City vs Southampton (Over (3.5))
Norwich City (+120) defeats Watford
Everton (+205) defeats Aston Villa
Sunday 9/19 Premier League Odds and Predictions
West Ham vs Manchester United
This weekend’s marquee match is set for Sunday, leaving a host of underdogs to take on Premier League stalwarts on Saturday at long odds. West Ham (+330) will take on Ronaldo and Manchester United in Sunday’s olbigatory David vs Goliath battle.
MUFC has experienced the highs and lows of European football since the icon returned to England. Ronaldo led Man United as a striker last weekend and scored 2 goals to overwhelm Newcastle and keep Red Devils firmly on top of the Premier League table after 4 rounds of competition. Unfortunately, the club then went on to flop in the opening round of Champions League pool play, losing 2-1 to Young Boys despite another Ronaldo tally in the 1st half. Man United was short-handed following a red card in the 33rd minute and only managed to shoot twice on goal.
A similarly tumultuous set of results can also be seen in Hammers’ season. West Ham began Premier League play by defeating Newcastle and upsetting Leicester City 4-1, but a disappointing draw with Crystal Palace came next. The draw with Southampton that followed was capped (excuse the pun) by striker Michail Antonio taking a pointless red card and getting disqualified for match #5, a poor choice with bad timing as MUFC looms on the horizon.
Pick: Over (3.5) or (2.5)
Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea
Soccer junkies may find Leicester’s (+170) odds to defeat Brighton on Sunday appealing (in fact, we even put it in the headline so Foxes supporters won’t feel left out) but most of the soccer world will be tuned into a Sunday kickoff at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Spurs will try to attack a Chelsea back line that has barely allowed a goal in recent competitions.
1-to-1 odds on Over and Under (2.5) total goals is quite a “standard” goal-total line for a pair of stubborn defending teams, though Tottenham’s string of clean-sheet victories to begin the Premiership cycle was interrupted by Crystal Palace in an ugly 3-0 loss.
Chelsea should only see momentum increase thanks to a solid start in UEFA’s Group Stage. Blues checked FC Zenit on Tuesday despite needing a goal from Romelu Lukaku to prevail 1-0, attempting twice as many shots as Zenitchiki of the Russian Premier League. Lukaku leads Chelsea with 3 goals and 12 on-target shots so far this season.
Alternate Sunday Pick: Leicester City (+170)
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.