Forget all that jazz about the Premier League calendar setting-up well for handicaps and blog posts as of a week ago. This is the time of year when the EPL schedule begins losing the plot.
Playing catch-up after a few scattered breaks for international football, the Premiership will now undertake a flurry of 3 Matchdays within less than a 10-day span. Manchester United, for instance, will play thrice in 7 days’ time, hosting Aston Villa and Tottenham this coming Sunday and Wednesday before traveling to face Manchester City in a fixture that could legitimize MUFC’s season, knock Red Devils out of 2020-21 Champions League contention, or make the 2019-20 table look a little more like last year’s table in the big picture. It all depends how the former 2 meetings go.
The furious pace presents a conundrum for WagerBop’s U.K. soccer coverage. Putting-out 3 separate pages on the 3 separate rounds of matches would be a waste of cyberspace and traffic potential, but it would be impossible to handicap all 30 pairings right off the bat.
So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow beside the white chickens how the Reds, Lilywhites, and other clubs are able to seize the momentum and hold it through a stressor of 9 points up-for-grabs in a single week.
At the same time, trying to create 1 preview page and update it every time there’s a final score, a betting-line movement in London, or an injury development could lead to a gigantic blog post that nobody wants to sort-through by next Saturday.
I shall utilize a landscaper’s trick to keep things steady and sane. Experts know not to plant a hundred tiny bushes at once to fill-in space – what’s pleasing to the eye at first will become a tangled mess of overgrown shrubbery. To prevent a jumbled encyclopedia of English Premier League picks for Matchdays 14 through 16, we’ll stick with short blurbs and “capsule” previews of each match upcoming this weekend, followed by the same for the 15th and 16th rounds as soon as the odds settle.
You can expect to find Matchday 15 picks at this URL by Tuesday morning EST, and the next/final batch of predictions by Friday morning. But for those readers hoping to take advantage of shifting lines and “reversion” double-crosses when Saturday and Sunday’s outcomes are fresh off the presses, I’m including some snapshot-analysis of what might be expected to happen at the sportsbook if a noteworthy corker or upset-victory trends on social media this weekend.
Update 12/6: Matchday 16 Odds and Best Wagers
Everton FC vs Chelsea
A glance at the results of Matchday 15 might give the impression Chelsea’s momentum is slowing. However, Blues dominated possession in the 2-1 win over Villains and oozed comfort throughout much of the 2nd half. Pick: Chelsea (+100)
AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool
A rash of early action on the Under has steadied the goal-total at (3) for this fixture in which Cherries are in no shape to defend Reds for 90 minutes. Liverpool (-1.5) is a safer bet than the Over, though, considering the fatigue of Salah’s supporting cast (and the great attacker himself) and how cautious the hosts will be in an attempt to stem the inevitable. 0-2 is a likely result and 1-3 wouldn’t be a big surprise. Pick: Liverpool ATS
Tottenham Hotspur vs Burnley FC
Mourinho sounds like a skipper who knows his club is ready to break-out with a few nice victories now that he’s had some time to get things situated. Pick: Tottenham (-1.5)
Watford FC vs Crystal Palace
CPFC has posted 3 clean sheets in 8 matches vs Hornets. Pick: Under (2.5)
Manchester City vs Manchester United
City is taking all kinds of action ATS for Saturday’s marquee match. Still, I’m not sure why anyone would pass-up a 9-to-1 underdog line on United here. It’s not likely to win – but it’s worth a spare gambling unit. Pick: MUFC (+900)
Aston Villa vs Leicester City
Sunday’s round of matches begins with streaking Foxes just-slightly underestimated once again. Pick: Leicester City (-125)
Newcastle United vs Southampton FC
Saints have gotten a ton of opening action ATS and offer a shrinking ML of (+185). It’s easy to understand why. Newcastle is quietly putting a solid season together, but Southampton owns a nice record against the hosts and you can imagine Magpies falling to well-timed counterattacks on Sunday. Pick: Southampton (+185)
Norwich City vs Sheffield United
Almost feels like a “gimme” pick here – go with underdog/host Canaries in a match of 2018-19 English Championship sides. Pick: Norwich City (+195)
Brighton vs Wolverhampton FC
Wolves isn’t always as stubborn defending on the road as in Molineux Stadium, but that could be said for almost any Premier League club. It’s still worthwhile to risk a couple of basic units on the Under (2.25)…assuming you can find it at your sportsbook with totals for the match falling all over the web. Pick: Under
West Ham vs Arsenal
The breathless stretch of late-autumn Premiership play concludes at London Stadium with a match between teams looking to bounce-back from mid-week losses. Hammers can feel good about having upset Chelsea on Matchday 14, but goals-for have remained scarce vs everyone except in-transition Spurs. Speaking of in-transition, though, Arsenal will be an aimless and plan-less club until a new manager is chosen and signed on the dotted line. Pick: Draw (+305) or Under (3.5)
Update 12/3: Matchday 15 Odds and Picks (Tuesday-Thursday)
Crystal Palace vs AFC Bournemouth
Wilifred Zaha scored in Palace’s slump-snapping (or at least slump-pausing) 2-0 road win over Burnley on Saturday. Zaha exuberantly told reporters “my season starts now,” but with Cherries having dropped 9 points in a row, the (+120) line on CPFC in Tuesday’s match at Selhurst Park is as much about the visitors as the hosts.
Pick: Draw (+290)
Burnley FC vs Manchester City
It’s mighty strange to see a club (Burnley) sitting at roundabout 11-to-1 moneyline odds to prevail against a visitor (Man City) which has actually dropped more points than Clarets over the past 3 matches. I’m not feeling a Burnley upset here thanks in-part to City’s general health (Oleksandr Zinchenko is on his way back) and the resumption of Premiership-focused club calendars helping international footballers find grooves again. Burnley’s (+2) goal spread is still a great market if you can find it, though, and I’m also fond of Under (3.25) despite the tricky Asian Handicap.
Pick: Burnley ATS or Under (3.25)
Leicester City vs Watford
Is it ever wise to wager against 1 of the 2 or 3 hottest clubs in the world? In midst of an extraordinary winning streak, Foxes finally appeared to be hunted at King Power Stadium on Sunday – and the talent of Toffeemen finally seemed to have overcome Everton’s poor form when Richarlison scored in the 23rd minute. But Jamie Vardy – who else – and Nigerian forward Kelechi Iheanacho struck back in the 2nd half as Leicester won in added time.
Absolute scenes 🎬
A dramatic couple of minutes at King Power Stadium… pic.twitter.com/gk2EoIy8Z1
— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 1, 2019
Leicester bases too much of its attack on counters to be a quality (-1.5) goal-spread bet over the long term in 2019-20. At some point Foxes will have to rely on excellent goalkeeping and a bunch of 1-goal or added-time wins to prevail in the Premiership or the FA Cup. It’s safe to say, though, that if Hornets prevail in this Wednesday’s match it will depend on scoring more than once.
Then again, the Football Gods love to punish me when I say things like that.
Pick: Over (2.75) or Exact-Outcome Prop (Watford 1-0)
Wolverhampton vs West Ham
There hasn’t been much of a chance for lines to move on Matchday 15, but there’s already been a significant shift in the moneyline for Wanderers vs Hammers on Wednesday. An impressive unbeaten streak for Wolves has punters flocking to the hosts, but I see this match as quite unpredictable and will play the numbers with a pick on a near-4-to-1 (+380) payoff line.
Pick: West Ham
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
No such odds-movement for this fixture, except that the Draw market (+245) isn’t handicapped nearly as short as the almost-matching lines on each club to win. That’s interesting, since each has been involved in lots of draws recently and neither storied side has been faring all that well in keeping tying tallies out of the net.
Chelsea FC vs Aston Villa
Bettors absolutely love Villains as a 10-to-1 underdog in this Stamford Bridge meeting, and it’s questionable whether any EPL side which hasn’t lost in a few weeks is ever a bad bet at that price. But Tammy Abraham, who was missing in Chelsea’s dreary loss to West Ham, is likely set to return by mid-week and play against Aston Villa. Also it isn’t as if Blues didn’t dominate most of the match vs Hammers – analytically Chelsea is still worlds-better than the opposition.
Pick: Chelsea ATS (-1.5)
Southampton vs Norwich City
2 teams with 3 domestic league wins each, 2 teams almost impossible to figure out. Saints played well to beat Hornets on Saturday in a comeback sparked by Danny Ings midway through the 2nd half. Canaries have been in better form too lately, though, and once again I’m taking the best number instead of the best lineup.
Pick: Norwich City (+340)
Liverpool vs Everton
Toffees-to-win is another popular short-order betting market early this week, shrinking from 10-to-1 to 7-t0-1 prior to the Merseyside Derby at Anfield. Not that everything is swell for the host club despite top positions in the Premiership and UEFA Champions League – Fabinho is still injured and Alisson took a costly red card on Saturday. I’m not going to tout a flawed and flat Everton 2019-20 lineup to knock off Liverpool, but what’s interesting is that action has increased on the low side of a (3) Bovada Sportsbook goal total despite 1 of the finest goalkeepers in the world being absent for the match…and despite Jordan Pickford committing a Howler-of-the-Year nominee in the same event last season.
Sheffield United vs Newcastle United
Blades-to-win on Thursday at Bramall Lane is a pretty popular market too, shrinking to 1-to-1.25 without a long period for punters to handicap and place bets. I’m not going along – this feels like a match where clubs addicted to staid defense and draws actually get some sustained attacking play going thanks to similar speed and talent on each side.
Pick: Over (2)
Arsenal FC vs Brighton
Time for Gunners (-165) to prevail against a club whose current losing skid may match Arsenal’s transitory winless streak by the time lamb bites butcher. Interim manager Freddie Ljungberg isn’t off to a fabulous start, but we’ve seen teams get a blast of energy from a coaching change and then head south. Unai Emery’s departure may prove unfortunate in the long run, but Gunners will win a few matches vs inferior foes in the meantime.
Newcastle United vs Manchester City
This Saturday’s early match will occur in the ultimate wee-hours on the west coast of America, and a handful of Hawaiians will be able to live-wager it before bedtime. But don’t mistake the sleepy scenario for a lack of supporters’ expectations on both sides of the pond. Gambling action on the Over has driven a cautious O/U total up by a full goal to (3.5) for Magpies vs Citizens at St. James Park. That line-movement may be a product of recreational betting, since Ederson has a good shot at keeping a clean sheet against Newcastle.
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: City slips again and confirms that the club isn’t what it was in spring.
Burnley FC vs Crystal Palace
Eagles are confirmed to be in poor form. Crystal Palace was eliminated from the Carabao Cup in the 2nd round and has not won a Premiership match since besting Hammers in early October. The club may not know what to do at Turf Moor on Saturday except defend harder and tackle more viciously, and I’m liking Clarets (+125) to stay patient and prevail in a low-scoring fixture.
Pick: Burnley or Under (2.5)
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: Burnley loses and appears to be reverting to historical norms.
Chelsea FC vs West Ham
Christian Pulisic has returned from injury just in time for the Chelsea wunderkind to score a goal in the UEFA Champions League.
Blues are almost certain to win at Stamford Bridge this Saturday after a near-miss loss to Citizens, but the price is wrong at (-350) and getting shorter. I’ll take another against-the-public wager vs a ballooning O/U line.
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: Pulisic or another standout goes down for Blues and exposes the downside of a potent-yet-fragile lineup scenario.
Liverpool vs Brighton
I don’t normally recommend in-plays on AM-in-America soccer matches, because so many of our readers also dabble in American football and basketball betting, and can’t be expected to concentrate for live-betting sessions 10 or 12 hours apart. However, the Reds vs Seagulls match this Saturday sets up as such a classic “close then not-so-close” outcome that it’s too good to pass-up the conditional pick. Keeper Mathew Ryan of Brighton & Hove Albion is a talented player in his prime who kept Leicester off the scoreboard for 60+ minutes in a recent match. There’s a considerable chance Liverpool will be frustrated with a drawn score or a 1-0 advantage mid-way through the event at Anfield. That’s the time to strike with an Over-total goals or Reds-ATS wager in the live market. Salah will strut by the end.
Pick: Liverpool In-Play
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: Salah isn’t strutting at the end.
Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Bournemouth
Tottenham has a fancy new manager and a good old-fashioned surge of momentum. We’ve seen quality from teams with new coaches as a natural by-product of the situation itself – combine a master tactician and a lagging (and visiting) opponent like Cherries, and it’s unwise to pick against Spurs right now.
Pick: Tottenham (-1.5) at (+105)
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: Goalkeeping depth becomes a larger Spurs narrative starting on Saturday.
Southampton vs Watford
I see absolutely no reason Hornets should be a (+250) underdog at St. Mary’s Stadium. Just when it looked like Saints had a healthier lineup available, midfielder Sofiane Boufal drilled his toe into a kitchen table leg (!) and is doubtful to appear vs Watford in Saturday’s late match.
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: Additional furniture is hurled onto the pitch and produces more mayhem.
Norwich City vs Arsenal
Canaries grabbed a much-needed win over struggling Toffees last week, keeping a clean sheet against an attacking lineup that included Cenk Tosun and Richarlison. But the Norwich City backline will be out-classed by Bernd Leno and the Gunners backline. The only significant line-movement on this early-Sunday fixture is another sky-rocketing Over/Under total…yet you can imagine Arsenal controlling the pelota with long stretches of cautious possession in a 1-0 or 2-1 victory. Reports indicate Unai Emery will be dispatched from the skipper’s chair at Arsenal as early as Friday. Late in the week to make that change – and maybe too late to spark a Tottenham-like explosion of goals in the very next fixture.
Pick: Under (3.5)
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: Scoring records are set in the Premier League this weekend, and punters who have sent the O/U totals soaring feel vindicated.
Wolverhampton vs Sheffield United
Wolves is a fairly-popular moneyline pick at (-110), which again seems unusually short for a host club in good form playing against a road club also in fine form. It’s striking to think of how well these teams have played over the last 2 months – in fact Wanderers and Blades have lost exactly 1 match in all competitions combined since September. Still, the style of each side lends itself to draws and drawn-outcomes have been a trend for both organizations in weeks leading to Sunday, meaning that a fat (+245) Draw market is a product of indulgent and optimistic gambling habits.
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: Wolves remains unconquered and gets a chance to vault even closer to the top 4 against visiting West Ham in well under a week.
Leicester City vs Everton FC
Toffeemen may have blundered into a strange scenario with little remaining pressure on the squad. Everton isn’t in danger of finishing bottom-3 despite its current place on the table – Jordan Pickford can personally see to that if he’s healthy. But at this point there’s few prospects for a UEFA bid or any reward for the 2019-20 season other than survival and maybe a run in the FA Cup. If Everton absolutely needed a point or 3 from a super-heated Foxes club, Sunday’s visitors might play conservatively. Given the nihilistic circumstances and the impressive scoring pace of Leicester, a (2.5) Over/Under line is probably a tad low and belies other goal-total markets that are going bonkers.
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: Kasper Schmeichel keeps his extraordinary streak of clean sheets going, prompting prop-betting odds on just how long he can keep it up as Leicester’s schedule hits a soft patch.
Manchester United vs Aston Villa
Villa is a popular underdog in the 3-way moneyline markets, shrinking from 7-to-1 odds upon opening to a (+575) price to win Sunday’s match at Old Trafford. Man United is still on a seesaw, but Red Devils have out-classed Villains at almost every opportunity in recent years. Crucially the visitors have not fared well against elite lineups on the road – Aston Villa played over half of a September match at Emirates Stadium with only 10 Arsenal footballers on the pitch and still lost. In October, host Man City took a red card in the 2nd half vs Villa, and once again the newcomers couldn’t capitalize. Villains did everything right in last week’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle, but there’s no proof that the Villa Park form travels to legendary venues or succeeds against top talent.
Pick: Man United (-1) ATS
Could affect Matchday 15 odds if: Something occurs to make “Paul Pogba transfer rumours” only the 2nd-most clicked set of MUFC headlines for at least 24 hours.
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.