This season, more than perhaps any in recent Premiership history (it’s time to stop calling Leicester’s underdog title “recent”) it has been hard to take one’s eyes off the “Outright Winner” odds on UK soccer. Arsenal Football Club has been dogged, determined, and dynamic in its quest to remain ahead of powerful Manchester City, and even the recent uptick in form from Sky Blues has not pulled Man City level with Gunners again.
This week, however, it is the “top 4” proposition markets that are seeing the biggest shift. Manchester United gamblers are starting to wonder if they would not prefer holding infinitely-cheaper betting slips on Tottenham Hotspur, a 2-to-1 pick next to United’s 1-to-9. Liverpool’s annihilation of Man United last weekend has changed almost every calculus for teams near the top of the futures odds. Newcastle, even Spurs, must step aside as the market’s “sexy” wagers. Liverpool’s “1-to-1” odds were 3-to-1 very, very recently.
The race between Tottenham and Liverpool has tightened considerably. From a 9-point deficit less than 10 days ago, Liverpool has climbed to within 3 points of top-4 table position with a fixture to play in hand on Lilywhites. Defeat in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 should not discourage anyone from picking Tottenham’s line in a domestic league betting market, but the “low-lights” of Lilywhite striker Harry Kane‘s frustration in trying to conquer Milan illustrates a point about Premiership futures odds.
Reds’ top-4 odds are strangely connected to Kane’s currently long-odds wager to win the Premier League scoring crown in 2023. If the Lilywhites striker has a terrific early spring, then Tottenham, already 9 points ahead of Liverpool on the league table, is almost certain to remain ahead of Reds in May. Potential long-term Liverpool speculators are also discouraged by the team’s difficult schedule in weeks to come, which includes fixtures against Manchester City, Arsenal, and of course Tottenham. But other weeks will include extremely manageable match-ups with teams like Wolves, West Ham, and Bournemouth.
AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool (Saturday, March 11)
Liverpool and Manchester United have been playing games for well more than a century. That alone should highlight the history made during Sunday’s record-setting corker, Reds’ 7-0 victory at Anfield over a bamboozled Red Devils side of 11. It is even crazier that Liverpool accomplished the feat without a single footballer scoring a hat trick, though Mohamed Salah and forward Darwin Núñez gave the distinct impression that they were capable of scoring at-will against MUFC’s backline. Cody Gakpo, the burgeoning young Dutch forward, scored 2 other tallies to give Reds’ forward line a 6-goal outing. Amazingly, Liverpool only possessed the ball for 60% of the bout, only took 8 accurate strikes against United keeper David de Gea, and enjoyed merely 4 corner kicks in the match.
Though, it is still understandable why Liverpool (-240) in the end result is not a thinner money-line pick against Bournemouth this weekend. Cherries are a desperate team in need of points to avoid quick relegation back to English Championship, and Reds must take the pitch for what could be chilly and even rainy conditions in the morning.
It is not likely to turn into another romp like Sunday’s, though no expert would compare Bournemouth’s blue-collar lineup to that of famed (and chagrined) Red Devils.
WagerBop’s Pick: Liverpool to Score Exactly 1 Goal in Opening Half (“Half” Proposition Pick) (+130)
Tottenham Hotspur vs Nottingham Forest (Saturday, March 11)
It is not as easy to see why Tottenham Hotspur is a shorter-odds (-250) pick to defeat Nottingham Forest, another promoted Premiership side, a little later on Saturday. Tottenham has fallen short in the Champions League, which makes Wednesday’s booking into a negative with a lack of momentum following the match with Inter Milan.
Tricky Trees may not be hosting Saturday’s fixture, but Nottingham Forest needs league points just as badly as Cherries of Bournemouth. The only tempering angle is that Nottingham has not taken its show on the road with any success in 2022-23, but Tottenham’s thin markets still leave a tempting Draw line at (+360) odds.
WagerBop’s Pick: Draw (+360)
Leicester City vs Chelsea F.C. (Saturday, March 11)
Chelsea is FanDuel Sportsbook’s (-105) favorite to beat Leicester City after producing a vibrant, if anticipated, comeback triumph in the UEFA Champions League knockout round. Foxes’ attack has gone icy cold since enjoying a short span of success in February, making expert punters look to find generous odds on “Under” total-goals bets for Blues vs Foxes this weekend. Sure enough, FanDuel Sportsbook’s line on Under (2.5) combined-goals scored is just (-122) payoff odds, close to 1/1 and neglected by sharks at that generous figure.
WagerBop’s Pick: Under (2.5) (-122)
Fulham F.C. vs Arsenal F.C. (Sunday, March 12)
The meeting between Fulham and visiting Arsenal is intriguing. It is going to be fun to watch how the Premiership’s leading club tackles a scrappy, porous lineup that is manufactured goals and points in every unorthodox way imaginable, including “Fantasy Friendly” outings in which the Cottagers back line’s number of shots-allowed leads to a bonanza of Daily Fantasy points earned on relatively routine saves. Almost no play develops as “routine,” however, when a swift lineup is countering vs the wacky back-line of Fulham.
For Cottagers, the bough may have begun to break in a driving rain last week, as Brentford’s wing-worrisome attack broke through for 3 mid-game goals and a conquest that was more lopsided than the score indicates. FanDuel’s (-118) odds on Over (2.5) goals may again be too conservatively tied into the 1-to-1 standard picks for O/U (2.5) total-goals.
WagerBop’s Pick: Over (2.5) (-118)
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.
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