How dominant is Manchester City in English Premier League betting? Enough so that Citizens can have a lousy performance, fail to grab 3 points from a cyclical mid-table club, and still shrink in payoff-odds to win the next championship as a repeat offender.
Newcastle United F.C.’s new-look lineup was awful at times on Sunday, committing twice as many fouls as Manchester City and wasting 1 out of every 3 pass attempts. Nevertheless the St. James Park hosts wounded Sky Blues with a mid-match display of elite attacking, with Kieran Trippier’s goal early in the 2nd half staking Newcastle to a stunning 3-1 gain. Perchance it was Citizens’ resourcefulness in coming back so quickly that’s helping to keep the club’s futures odds from fattening as of days later, as it wasn’t long before forwards Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva scored to equalize for the visiting team.
A greater hint to the odds can be found elsewhere on the English Premier League ledger. Sky Blues’ toughest pair of rivals for the 2022-23 EPL crown each had disastrous 3rd round appearances, beginning on Sunday with Pensioners. Everything appeared normal at Elland Road for the opening minutes of Sunday’s so-called “favorite against underdog” pairing, but Leeds’s talented attackers soon punished Blues for sloppy tactics with the football and lackadaisical effort without it, scoring 3 times by the 70-minute point. Chelsea’s 0-3 upset defeat has killed the betting action on what was a flourishing dark-horse market a week ago, moving Blues to (+2100) odds to win the Premiership hardware.
Reds of Liverpool failed to earn 3 points for yet another Matchweek, giving Mohamed Salah’s side Europe’s most unexpected “winless” W-D-L record. A colossal Monday meeting at Old Trafford seemed to finally wake up Man United from what has also been a disappointing August for MUFC, but Reds remained listless in spite of the Egyptian striker finally getting on the board with a consolation goal late in the 2-1 MUFC triumph. United’s Marcus Rashford scored to give Red Devils a 2-0 lead early in the back frame, the kind of clutch performance that could shrink England’s World Cup odds thinner than 7/1. Yet the bettors at online sportsbooks are still holding on to Reds as the runner-up most popular choice to win the Premier League in spring 2023. Liverpool maintains (+750) futures odds ahead of Gunners (+1300) and Spurs (+1400) while chagrined by an 0-2-1 season record.
So, why are bettors holding onto Liverpool so stubbornly as the next-best Premier League choice? Reds are considered to be the only current lineup with the quality and depth to go on an “invincible” run of 10-20 matches and keep up with Man City’s anticipated pace of point-taking in midseason. Nonetheless with Sadio Mané missing from a Liverpool lineup that has looked extremely vulnerable so far, others may begin to favor making long-term soccer picks on freshly bolstered English Premier League competition, such as Gunners or Lilywhites. Spurs doesn’t boast “Man City”-level depth of quality, but Tottenham has a “reserve tank” of scoring potential with Richarlison as Harry Kane’s new foil at the striker position. Spurs remained unbeaten in Round 3 with help from a goal from Kane that staked Lilywhites to a 1-0 win over Wanderers. Arsenal’s been defying the critics for years now.
AFC Bournemouth is the (-290) “favorite” to be relegated back to the English Championship ranks next season after giving up 7 goals in 2 league matches and needing tiebreaker goals to escape Norwich City in the 2nd round of the EFL Cup 2022-23. Fulham is just a (+245) relegation wager after acquitting themselves quite well in opening rounds of play, producing 7 league points despite falling to unheralded Crawley Town in the aforementioned EFL prelims. Cottagers ran a catch-as-catch-can lineup onto the pitch for the losing effort in a less-prestigious club tournament, with the owner perhaps secretly pleased that the club has less competitions to worry about as Fulham prepares to try for a top-half placement.
Southampton F.C. vs Manchester United (Saturday, August 27th)
Some of the best sports betting advice remains “pick against the media,” not “pick against the public.” The soccer gambling public is perfectly capable of making reasonable assertions of form and quality throughout an English Premier League season, but the media’s hypersensitive focus on a single team at a time causes the odds to shift.
For example, MUFC is cast as a “minus” odds (-135) favorite to defeat Saints of Southampton this Saturday on the road. Southampton comes into the match having beaten Leicester City and Cambridge United convincingly within 72 hours, while Red Devils delighted and impressed punters (if not the sportsbook treasurers who had to pay out afterward) by upsetting Reds in a worldwide TV bout on Matchweek 3. However, in this case, the focus on Man United’s big win is clouding-out more than Southampton’s triumph.
Jurgen Klopp’s club has been simply terrible relative to its talent so far, and so Man United shouldn’t become a weekly “minus” money-line pick based on defeating Liverpool F.C. The bout at Old Trafford wasn’t a fight between a youthful-upstart United lineup and a championship-level Reds lineup, but rather a meeting of 2 high-priced, disorganized, struggling outfit. Saints’ teamwork and pressing style should bother a MUFC group that isn’t as ready to go as the headlines of last Monday’s marquee triumph makes it seem.
Putting it mildly, Saints could grab a few surprise break-away counterattacks off turnovers, and force Red Devils to bring forward numbers in a potentially wild finish.
WagerBop’s Picks: Southampton ATS (+1), Over (3.5) (+144)
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Leeds United (Saturday, August 27th)
An equivalent sportsbook syndrome is coming into play for Brighton’s match with visiting Leeds United (+330), the latter more than a 3-to-1 underdog in spite of crushing Chelsea’s hopes for a hot season-start in Peacocks’ previous appearance. Seagulls (-115) have amassed 7 points against a difficult opening slate, but the generous money-line odds on Leeds to win have just as much to do with the tabloids’ focus on Blues’ bad form in the Peacocks’ match. Simply put, to listen to the UK press, you’d imagine that Christian Pulisic and Pensioners lost at Elland Road to themselves, and not Leeds. While that is not fairly considered, given that Peacocks have produced a lively Premier League attack for more than a calendar year.
WagerBop’s Pick: Leeds United (+330)
Arsenal F.C. vs Fulham F.C. (Saturday, August 27th)
Believe it or not, but Arsenal F.C. stands alone in 1st place after 3 rounds and hasn’t allowed a meaningful goal from an opposing footballer, as Leicester’s brief flourish at Emirates Stadium came thanks to an own-goal in the 55th minute.
Gunners have been dragged by plenty of “experts” over the years, but Arsenal is quickly building on a successful 2021-22 cycle. This is why the best betting pick on Saturday’s match between Gunners and Cottagers is not “Over Total Goals,” even though London clearly anticipates a high-scoring match. FanDuel Sportsbook’s payout odds on Over (2.5) goals is a micro-thin (-198) as of Tuesday evening. Nevertheless, now is the time to take advantage of any summer striker fever” that’s got bookmakers and speculators alike picking the high-side of totals that grow in risk as the betting prices evolve. Competing with the benefit of host grounds, it’s just as likely that the experienced Premier League team quiets the lively attack of Tony Khan’s club, and gives Cottagers their maiden frustrating day of 2022-23.
WagerBop’s Pick: Under (3.5) (-164)
Newcastle United vs Wolverhampton F.C. (Sunday, August 28th)
Is it possible that the same gambling angle works for 3/4 of our picks this week? Microscopic focus on Newcastle (+165) and the recent success of Magpies has produced polarizing takes, as experts either believe there’s a new era dawning at St. James Park, or argue that punters should sit and wait for “reversion to form” and another mid-table completion. The argument is taking the lens off of Wolves (+175), a team that you may not need 20-20 vision to criticize in 2022.
Wolverhampton’s form could be the worst experienced by Wolverhampton supporters since the club made its way back to the English Premier League, and there’s no logical reason why Wolves should stand with 2/1 odds in a match against surging Newcastle.
WagerBop’s Pick: Newcastle United (+165)
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.