It’s high time to start looking at the bright side of things.
Once again the Premiership schedule has thrown a curveball at WagerBop, with a series of matches scheduled to begin about 48 hours after Liverpool and Manchester United finish off Matchday 23’s final fixture at Anfield.
We could try to squeeze in a roundabout of weekend picks followed by updated predictions for Tuesday. But if a handicapping blog is racing to keep up with a schedule, perhaps the reader will feel a little rushed too, and that’s a bad state of mind to be gambling in.
Instead, maybe there’s a fresh angle in looking at all 20 matches at once. Many sportsbooks already offer betting odds on next week’s EPL slate, knowing that some clients just can’t resist taking a club to win on the 2nd go-around…or at least looking for a way to wager at better odds.
There’s a pretty simple formula for gambling on the Matchday-to-follow before the previous matches take place. If you think Man City is going to win its upcoming EPL fixture, then go ahead and take Sky Blues on the moneyline for the next – assuming that’s the line you wanted to begin with. City’s odds are likely to shrink shorter after the prior victory. If your plan is to bet the Under on Man City’s follow-up but believe the prior fixture might also be low-scoring, then it’s bad to wait – go ahead and take the odds on the next O/U before the initial O/U outcome can drive the 2nd line down.
The corollary of that, of course, is betting against a club you think will lose on Tuesday before the earlier match can post an outcome – unless you think that club will win on the weekend and their opponents will swell to a longer (and higher-payoff) moneyline. The possibilities for gambling tactics are too intricate to foretell in a preview before even Saturday’s bouts begin. However, it’s not hard to predict how certain outcomes may effect certain betting lines for follow-up matches going forward. That’s the good news for wily wagerers.
Soccer events are often won or lost for reasons extraneous to overall form and coaching, and if a superior team is destined to lose for quirky reasons, it could make a corker of a bet-to-win on the weekday. “Mirage” opponents who win on Saturday but do not have suitable depth or goalkeeping to play a 2nd Premier League match in 3-4 days and prevail? They’re handy to bet against following the team’s victory and a subsequent leavening of the odds on the other club.
Here’s a look at the 10 upcoming kickoffs at the top level of English football, and some low-down dirty info to utilize when betting against-the-public…on Friday or a little later.
Watford F.C. vs Tottenham Hotspur
The gambling public is all about Hornets in Saturday’s early match. Watford F.C. has a dismal historical record vs Tottenham, and has languished with poor form for much of 2019-20. But something has clicked for the attack of the team from Vicarage Road, which has outscored opponents 8-1 in the last 3 Premier League matches. Meanwhile the Spurs lineup appears wounded and inconsistent as Mourinho molds the culture in his maiden weeks on the job. Harry Kane might be out forever, or at least for a span of time that could feel infinite to supporters. Keeper Hugo Lloris returns in February. Watford has gone from a near 3-to-1 underdog to a (+215) wager-to-win at home.
Still, there’s a lot of positives for Lilywhites, at least on the pitch if not in the trainer’s room. Spurs pursued a clean, straightforward style vs Liverpool last weekend, giving up a lonely goal to Firmino in the 0-1 result. 3 days later, Tottenham asserted its superiority just 2 minutes into an FA Cup replay against “Smoggles” of Middlesbrough.
Midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré is playing an enhanced role in the Hornets attack, upping the degree-of-difficulty for opposing backs in the box on corner kicks. Tottenham hasn’t been the stingiest club in the Premiership but should show enough spirit on the attack to stay level.
Pick: Draw (+245)
How a Tottenham win would affect the odds: Spurs are currently (-280) to beat Canaries at home on Tuesday. If the club beat Watford in a road match, bettors will likely flock to Tottenham Hotspur with renewed confidence, making the Spurs-over-Norwich line too short to be worthwhile.
How a Tottenham loss would affect the odds: Defeat or even a dull draw at Vicarage Road would likely up the betting action on Norwich-to-win in an upset, the perfect scenario in which to take Spurs to rebound against a weaker lineup.
Arsenal F.C. vs Sheffield United
Sheffield is another popular underdog wager at (+335) for Saturday’s match at Emirates Stadium. It’s somewhat strange, however, that the Draw line (+250) isn’t shrinking even shorter considering that Blades has such a reputation for cautious football.
Arsenal’s form has been improving on the backline and in midfield, but it’s a pity that Aubameyang will be missing this weekend due to a red card against Crystal Palace on Matchday 22.
Pick: Under (2.5)
How an Arsenal win would affect the odds: No matter what the final score, odds on Arsenal to upset Chelsea on Tuesday will continue to shrink as they already have periodically this week, and the Over/Under for Chelsea-Arsenal might even tick above (3) goals as punters look forward to the return of an elite striker for Gunners.
How an Arsenal loss would affect the odds: An Arsenal loss to Sheffield combined with a Chelsea win this weekend could lead to a 5-to-1 line on Gunners…and an interesting underdog bet to consider.
Brighton vs Aston Villa
Brighton’s line has shifted to (-160) from near-EVEN opening numbers, and one wonders how much that has to do with punters’ psychology after watching Man City score 6 goals at Villa Park. Villains are suffering from some injury woes that a deeper club could absorb, but which are hampering for a team in the “drop zone” as the bottom rungs of the EPL table are called.
Still it would appear Aston Villa is at too long of a moneyline at 4-to-1 and too-generous a line on the goal spread – left back Matt Targett is due back at any time and Brighton’s attack is not Man City’s.
Pick: Villa (+1) ATS
How a Brighton win would affect the odds: Seagulls might become a bona-fide favorite to defeat AFC Bournemouth on the road Tuesday.
How a Brighton loss would affect the odds: Villa could temporarily garner a few more wagers vs quality opponents, but not for long as another lopsided Villains loss (whenever it occurs) will lead to more long lines immediately.
West Ham vs Everton F.C.
Following a 1-0 triumph over Brighton last weekend, Toffees supporters have to wonder if the club has designs on a potential Champions League or Europa League berth in 2020-21. There are about a dozen Premiership clubs massed within a dozen points of each other, and what would have seemed fantastical weeks ago might be a real possibility. Everton and other established teams could still ascend the ladder as an already-curious table flips upside down in late winter.
Bovada Sportsbook is “goosing” gamblers with a (2.5) O/U dare at Over (-120) and Under (+100) for Hammers-Toffees on Saturday. I’ll take the bait and suggest the Under since Jordan Pickford won’t be generous in giving-out goals to pedestrian opposing attacks given an unexpected chance to make noise in league play.
How an Everton win would affect the odds: If it’s the clinical win or draw vs West Ham that I’m expecting, then you can expect to find another low O/U total for what might be an explosion of goals for Toffees at Goodison Park with Newcastle visiting on Tuesday.
How an Everton loss would affect the odds: Magpies might become a sexy underdog pick for Tuesday if supporters’ confidence takes a tumble again and leaves the more-heralded side without much motivation. Toffeemen have already lost in the FA Cup.
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace
As discussed in our Champions League Round-of-16 preview, Pep Guardiola must re-calibrate his club’s position now that a long-term plan for UEFA superiority has backfired. The concept was to let Liverpool and others mash themselves up striving for domestic glory while City sat happily near the top of the table, prohibitive favorites to win any all-EPL Champions League clashes later on. But the immaculate form of Reds has been such that Liverpool can likely coast to the Premiership finish line in spring, and Citizens are not comfortably ahead of several clubs which could challenge for top-4 status.
Man City will control what it can control. I would not be surprised to see numbers forward early in Sky Blues domestic matches as the top 11 tries to get comfortably clear of everyone who isn’t Liverpool. Big leads are the safest way to control minutes-played in appearances from those Pep will be counting on in UEFA dates to come.
Pick: Man City (-2.5)
How a City win would affect the odds: Depends on the final score. CPFC is a staid defending unit and so is Sheffield United, Man City’s weekday opponent-to-follow. If it’s 5-0 victory, don’t expect the O/U for Tuesday to rise too much, but a low score could send totals downward for City’s upcoming trip to Bramall Lane.
How a City loss would affect the odds: Chaos as gamblers wonder whether Blades’ stubborn brand of football could pose problems for a troubled favorite.
Norwich City vs A.F.C. Bournemouth
Do Canaries like to indulge in Cherries? Sounds like a Yeats poem or something. In any case this match is among a couple of “B-flight” kickoffs without a marquee favorite this weekend, and Norwich City is a reasonably-trendy moneyline pick at (+120). Cherries has been out-scored 0-9 in 3 league matches while advancing in the FA Cup.
Pick: Over (2.5)
How an Over outcome would affect the odds: Bournemouth may be in its worst form of the season, and goals from a host-opponent could come easier than apparent to the naked eye. If Norwich City wins 3-0 or 4-0 this Saturday, watch for a (3) goal total on the follow-up meeting with Tottenham to rise. That opens up a value-pick on the Under.
How an Under outcome would affect the odds: If the Lilywhites-Canaries line sinks below (3) there’s probably no value on either side of the Wednesday line.
Southampton vs Wolverhampton
I can’t understand why Wolves would be a 2-to-1 underdog at Saints thanks merely to a spell of bad form, considering the former club has been so resilient and apt to bounce-back throughout the past 2 seasons.
Pick: Wolves (+205)
How a Wolves win would affect the odds: London and Las Vegas will continue to weirdly underestimate Wolverhampton at crucial times.
How a Wolves loss would affect the odds: London and Las Vegas will continue to weirdly underestimate Wolverhampton at crucial times.
Newcastle United vs Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea is another favorite getting a nice bit of action, but Frank Lampard’s club has not shown the kind of consistency you’d like to see in a (-190) road favorite for Saturday’s late match.
Pick: Newcastle ATS (+1)
How a Chelsea win would affect the odds: The victory at St. James Park would occur on national television in America, causing a sharper-than-usual reaction at western sportsbooks and perhaps even making Arsenal’s line-to-win Tuesday’s match turn around and start to get longer again.
How a Chelsea loss would affect the odds: It’s an uncomfortable truth that while gambling on Arsenal-over-Chelsea now may in fact produce fatter-payoff odds than the same wager made on Sunday, the best thing to do if you’re looking for longer odds on Gunners is to sweat-out a win for Blues and perhaps even a poor result for Arsenal this weekend.
Burnley F.C. vs Leicester City
Foxes is among the least-popular moneylines on Matchday 23, at least going by line-movement. Leicester City sure looks as though it’s been granted a “get well” opponent this Sunday as Burnley is on a 4-match losing streak. Still, the previous 2 bouts have been disappointing, with a 1-1 score in the 1st leg of an EFL Cup semifinal vs Aston Villa followed by a 1-goal loss to Southampton. I’m thinking, however, that Burnley would need at least 2-3 goals to beat Leicester.
Pick: Leicester City (-115) or Over (2.5)
How a Leicester win would affect the odds: Leicester City’s line to beat visiting West Ham on Tuesday is still a modest-but-workable (-185) payoff. If the team does in fact “get well” at Burnley, then it’ll be too late to get better than a 1-to-2 or even 1-to-2.5 wager in the same market following Sunday’s outcome.
How a Leicester loss would affect the odds: Punters would probably decide that only Liverpool and City – when City truly cares – are lock-down winners in Premier League matches for the forseeable future.
Liverpool vs Manchester United
It’s not hard to find predictions on the North West Derby, but I’m glad to report on the betting lines and offer my 2 cents (or 2 units’ worth of recommendation anyway).
I happen to think that line-movement has made United’s (+700) moneyline and (+1.5) point spread a little too exaggerated, and not because of any criticism of Liverpool. Salah’s superlative side has found itself playing (and succeeding) in a ton of competitions, with only the slight “reprieve” of the Reds “U20” squad having lost 0-5 while on emergency Carabao Cup duty against Villains. There’s still the Champions League, Premiership, and even the FA Cup (possibly to the chagrin of manager Klopp) to worry about. Good news is the team is a billion points clear of everyone in domestic league play, and has drawn Shrewsbury in the next FA Cup round, and Atlético Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16 – an Atlético Madrid which has had problems scoring enough goals and reminds a little of Chelsea’s fang-less attack last season.
Oh, and Liverpool plays an extra EPL match in January against West Ham. You may know Hammers as the club its own supporters deem “rubbish, pew-wah rubbish” in a majority of post-game streams on YouTube. So that’s essentially 3 more points in the bag unless Firmino and 5 other superstars turn into “rubbish” that day.
What I’m getting around to is that it may be time for Klopp (and Salah) to ease-off on the throttle. Not that the lineup won’t continue to take Premier League appearances with the highest sense of nobility, but there’s more to be gained by making sure key performers are healthy and tuned-up for the stretch run. A foul spring would be the only way Liverpool would be in danger of losing 1st on the table. Any loss in January can simply be made-up for with 3 points in the extra appearance.
Plus, we’re all used to watching Liverpool play teams that aren’t on its level athletically. United can match-up with Liverpool in pure ceiling at some positions, if not any kind of consistent form that could challenge the current W/L disparity.
I’m fond of MUFC (+700) and Draw (+400) alike, meaning the safest play is Man United ATS.
How a Liverpool win would affect the odds: Dangerously. Punters would begin to feel intuitively that Reds are invulnerable, beginning with a Thursday match against Wolves and even leading into the UEFA leg in Spain.
How a Liverpool loss would affect the odds: Forget MUFC’s Wednesday match with Burnley. An accurate “provisional” handicap of line-movement following an upset Red Devils win would need to factor-in other markets too, as in a whole bunch of quid, pounds, and even dollars spent on any Manchester United futures line gamblers can get their cursors on. With a Carabao Cup title most-likely out of reach, I would look for the FA Cup and Europa League trophies getting the brunt of the speculative blitz.
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.