English teams are generally coasting along without incident in UEFA for a change. Liverpool hasn’t been nearly as stingy on the backline as Bayern Munich, but the EPL stalwarts have 6 points thru 2 matches and can acquire headroom in Group B by besting Atlético Madrid.
Compare the EPL’s international results with those of Barcelona, which gave up a goal at the 3-minute mark to Benfica last week before taking a 2nd straight clean-sheet loss in Group Stage. La Liga’s poor form has sent shock-waves through the standings, with an “extra” qualification potentially up for grabs. Barca’s struggles on the continental stage are also reflective of the club’s overall swoon early in 2021-22, in which the proud Spanish club is a pale 9th on its domestic table.
With the cycle in full swing at home and across the continent, Premier League punters will wonder how Champions League and Football League Cup fixtures will impact upcoming EPL contests each weekend. We’ve noticed that “minnows” are taking up less headwater in autumn as legacy Premiership clubs like Man City and Liverpool arrive buttoned-up for every domestic league match. However, the injuries and attrition of a schedule with 3+ competitions on it – plus the World Cup qualifying rounds – are starting to show.
Let the gambling public overreact to “momentum” or “regression” and injury woes in high profile UEFA meetings. It really doesn’t matter in what competition a footballer was nicked up in, as managers take less and less grief for putting quality lineups on the pitch in most all scenarios outside of club friendlies. It’s the modern era, and teams are grabbing all the spoils they can wherever they can find them, including 3 points at a time in EPL.
That’s just going to take a toll – if the best rosters began the cycle playing like mad there’s just a matter of time before limping form drives supporters crazy. Which betting favorites of the English Premier League are upright and ready to execute after a short break?
Best Picks on This Weekend’s EPL Matches
Watford vs Liverpool (Saturday 10/16)
Over the past few years, Hornets have produced as much table drama as any other “bubble” Premiership team, with just enough sparing win streaks to earn Watford a solid EPL membership card for a new decade proper. Punters know that elite clubs are gunning for points more enthusiastically than usual, yet Hornets still managed a solid start to the 2021-22 Premier League season. We should also not forget that Watford Football Club ended Liverpool’s hopes for an “invincible” campaign more recently than we may remember.
The all-around optimistic prognostications for Watford took a hit on September 21st when the club gave up 3 goals and was eliminated from the Carabao Cup by little-known English side Stoke City. Since then, Watford has failed to earn more than a token point in the Premier League, falling to Leeds United 0-1 in a listless effort on October 2nd. Meanwhile, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Liverpool (-300) will challenge Manchester City’s supremacy on the EPL table over the winter months. Reds are leading the Premier League in goals through 7 matches, with a goal-differential that matches Citizens and a slight lead in points as well.
Recommended bet: Over (3.5) Total Goals (+156)
Aston Villa vs Wolverhampton (Saturday 10/16)
The (+115) odds for Aston Villa to defeat visiting Wolverhampton could reflect sudden confidence in a relatively new EPL brand, or problems with a Wolves side that’s languishing in 12th place and has failed to defend home turf with customary stubbornness. The club’s outlook looked bleakest – at least hopefully – at Molineux Stadium just under a month ago as Brentford stunned Wolverhampton 2-0 despite taking a red card and going shorthanded early in the 2nd half. Wolves posted 0 on-target shots vs a 5-across midfield throughout the match.
Those poor performances aside, London and Las Vegas are thinking too broadly this time and focusing too little on the immediate form of opponents. Villains supporters can feel nice and tidy after defeating Red Devils of Manchester United in an upset, sandwiched between epic tournament and league battles with Chelsea and Tottenham respectively. But there are far worse times to have played each of those 3 clubs, including a Chelsea F.C. roster with bigger fish to fry than the Football League Cup.
On the other hand, it seems like Wanderers are beginning to find the mark. Wolves defeated pesky Southampton on the road 2 weeks ago as returning Raúl Jiménez scored his 1st goal of a new healthy span of appearances. Wolves then set things right at home vs Newcastle on October 2nd.
Recommended bet: Wolverhampton (+250)
Leicester City vs Manchester United (Saturday 10/16)
At (+105) moneyline odds, Ronaldo and Red Devils are a popular pick to defeat host Foxes on Saturday. However the betting action on MUFC feels more speculative than realistic, especially with Man United toiling on the road. Harry Maguire and other key names are suffering with injuries, making an emergence from MUFC’s swoon unlikely right now.
Yes, the club managed to vault upright in the UEFA Champions League round-robin with a 2-1 win over Villareal, as CR7 scored a winner with nary a second of added time left to go (imagine that). Looking objectively at the team’s last 5 matches tells another story, revealing points-lost to decidedly mid-tier EPL sides West Ham and Aston Villa, and a maddening 1-1 draw with Everton in which Red Devils could not capitalize on a 1st-half go-ahead goal from Anthony Martial, a 3/4ths ball possession edge, and 10 corner kicks.
Ever since butting heads with Millwall in a Football League Cup match, Leicester City has been in a bad way on the back line. The staid footballers of Crystal Palace scored twice on Foxes on October 3rd, and that’s just another reason why the trendy action is missing the boat on this Premier League match. Why does FanDuel have 1/1 odds on Over (2.5) bets when Leicester is so porous and still alive on the attack, and when Man United has none other than Ronaldo to put pressure on the defense?
Recommended bet: Over (2.5) (-122)
Brentford vs Chelsea F.C. (Saturday 10/16)
The (-170) betting odds on Chelsea Football Club to prevail at Brentford invites an age-old conundrum for punters. The payoff odds on Chelsea are risky unless we’re absolutely certain Blues will win the match. Failing that, other betting markets offer more.
After suffering a pair of losses to Premier League and Champions League rivals Man City and Juventus, Chelsea is on the way to bouncing back. Blues defeated Southampton in roaring 3-1 fashion 2 weeks ago, then enjoyed a 2-week sabbatical from all competitions while a handful of players toiled for national squads.
But a closer look at Chelsea’s win over Saints reveals a team that’s not in best form and struggling to put away lineups with fewer elite footballers. Pensioners were blessed with an early goal against a visiting side that thrives on counterattacks, but still had to play through a 1-1 deadlock in the 2nd half and needed an 11-on-10 advantage to seal the deal.
There are no Premier League “Handicap Draw” goal spreads available at FanDuel Sportsbook at present, but an exact score proposition pick that predicts an anxious win for Chelsea is a far better gamble than any “sure thing” pick on Blues.
Recommended bet: 2-1 (Exact Score Prop Bet) (+750)
Newcastle United vs Tottenham (Sunday 10/17)
Home field advantage can’t be the only reason Newcastle is an optimistic (+240) underdog for Sunday’s match. Magpies have failed to take advantage of a soft early schedule and could be headed for relegation even if the lineup improves over the next few months. Lilywhites of Tottenham have been a feast-or-famine gambling pick since getting shell-shocked by Crystal Palace in September, but the club’s splendid attacking form in a 5-1 UEFA triumph and a subsequent resourceful win over Aston Villa shows that Tottenham isn’t likely to be the maiden foil for Newcastle.
Recommended bet: Tottenham (+110)
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace (Monday 10/18)
One trusted moneyline favorite to win an upcoming EPL match is Arsenal (-115). Perhaps CPFC’s upset mojo is less of a factor when Eagles are visiting, as Palace hasn’t won on the road since prevailing in a friendly over Reading back in July. Meanwhile, Arsenal has out-scored its last 3 opponents at Emirates Stadium 7-1.
“Over” bets on a match between teams with 4 weeks’ combined rest and training is attractive, however punters should also consider the fact that Gunners could be too anxious to attack after earning just 1 point in a scoreless draw with Brentford on 10/2.
Arsenal’s back line and midfield are reasonably healthy and performing far superior to some of the shoddy defending units lamented at Emirates over the past few autumns, but that won’t stop a fast-paced battle from producing ping-pong plays in each box, with the chaos lending active winning chances to the underdog.
Recommended bet: Crystal Palace (+490)
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.