The betting odds on a 2021-22 English Premier League champion had already been tightening for weeks as of mid-March. Manchester City’s line to lift the hardware again has remained exceedingly popular, but fewer punters can be found siding with City as the ledger goes forward.
English football’s top betting trend got a shot in the arm over the past 2 rounds of matches. Sky Blues didn’t arrive at Selhurst Park expecting to out-foul, out-shank, and out-blunder Crystal Palace last Monday, but City committed 11 whistled tackles while whiffing on 14 out of 18 shots to draw 0-0 with CPFC. Combined with Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Brighton on Saturday and follow-up triumph over Arsenal on Wednesday by the same score, the surprise Palace-City outcome makes the EPL into a 1-point race with 9 fixtures to play. As a result, futures betting odds on Reds to lift the trophy have finally shrunk below 2-to-1, while Man City’s kingly 1-to-4 odds of weeks ago have been replaced by more cautious (-220) odds.
City’s short money-line odds to defeat Crystal Palace weren’t restrained by the club’s arduous international slate, as a 5-0 aggregate lead turned a back-end UEFA Champions League tie with Sporting Lisbon into a perceived blessing to City’s domestic league fortunes. There was no need to overtax the starting 11 or risk injury against an overwhelmed opponent with no chance to mount a comeback. Sky Blues could use the Champions League tie as warm-up competition for crucial FA Cup and EPL kickoffs.
Maybe, though, such tactics backfired in the long run. Man City’s defenders and midfielders played a breezy keep-away game against the Portuguese club, relaxing the team’s mindset while preparing for Palace, a unique side against which simple, obvious plays rarely work.
Liverpool and City are drawn on opposite sidelines for an FA Cup semi-final bout at City of Manchester Stadium, just 6 days after what could be a momentous EPL fixture at the same venue. The perilously-penciled pair of Liverpool-Manchester City showdowns is no “fateful coincidence” given a landscape in which Reds and Sky Blues are increasingly dangerous in all competitions. But such circumstances could remind punters of last cycle, in which Chelsea Football Club would become Manchester City’s springtime nemesis in more than a lone competition.
Chelsea could even draw additional championship bets thanks to Sky Blues falling back down to Earth. Chelsea’s line to win the EPL has been adjusted to (+18000) at FanDuel following Manchester City’s stumble in Selhurst. Thomas Tuchel’s team defeated Newcastle 1-0 on 3/13.
Norwich City is the overwhelming “favorite” to finish bottom-3 and suffer relegation to English Championship in 2022. Canaries aren’t too badly behind on the table at just 5 points shy of struggling Everton and 4 points southward of 19th-place Burnley. Everton has 3 EPL matches-to-play in hand on Canaries, however. Norwich City’s chronic problems were underscored by failing to score twice in last round’s 1-goal loss to Leeds United, probably the weakest back-line opponent of England’s top level. Leeds, a (+185) bet to be relegated, took 18 fouls in an all-out battle to claim 3 points and stave off Peacocks’ own threat of demotion. But the motley Elland Road-ers managed to disrupt about 1-in-3 Norwich pass attempts.
That doesn’t mean Norwich isn’t a good underdog bet to begin April. There’s always 2 sides of the story before every fixture, and such “bright” odds as you’ll find on a mid-table team to beat a cupcake are an opportunity to bet on a sure thing – that there are no cupcakes in the EPL.
Sat. April 2nd: Liverpool vs Watford F.C.
Liverpool was a fairly popular underdog pick to win the English Premier League as of 2 weeks ago. Since then, Reds have become the hottest betting slip in UK football.
Regretfully for Salah’s squad, it’s not the striker’s 20 goals in 27 domestic league appearances, nor Liverpool’s all-competitions excellence in early spring, that’s shifting Premiership title odds toward 1/1 on the league’s 2 leading clubs. In fact, Liverpool F.C.’s streak of 9 straight league wins is arguably not the top angle behind recent gambling trends on the next EPL championship. Liverpool has been perceived as a team on a “treadmill” behind Manchester City, the defending Premier League champion with a penchant for running-up insurance points when necessary late in the cycle. That all changed in mid-March as Man City drew consecutive matches with Sporting Lisbon and Crystal Palace, with the latter 0-0 outcome helping Reds pull to within 1 point on the English Premier League table with 9 matches to play. Another 9 victories in a row would seal the hardware for Liverpool, as City is booked on the ledger for April 10th. Of equal importance is the impression that Man City is no longer riding the momentum.
Liverpool’s optimistic odds of 1-to-9 to beat Watford (+2200) this Saturday reflect Reds’ keen focus on banking all available points against overmatched EPL opponents, in addition to Watford’s poor form in 2022. Speculators can recall, of course, Hornets ruining a Liverpool “invincible” run at the end of the 2010s with a shocker 3-0 victory. Reds and Hornets have played football matches since then, however, with Liverpool most-recently pummeling Watford 5-0 behind a Roberto Firmino hat trick last October.
Goal-scoring odds on Liverpool-Watford hint of a consensus-opinion that Hornets will be embarrassed this weekend. FanDuel Sportsbook offers thin (-118) payoff odds on an outcome of Over (3.5) total goals, but only (+104) odds on both teams to score.
WagerBop’s Pick: Liverpool (-2) (+105)
Sat. April 2nd: Leeds United vs Southampton F.C.
WagerBop has recommended Leeds United as a 3-to-1 relegation pick this spring, based on Peacocks defending so poorly as to make Brazil’s 2014 World Cup semi-final effort look like vintage Serie A. But if there’s an upcoming match in which Leeds can simply out-score a league opponent, earn 3 desperately needed points, and establish real pace ahead of the bottom-3, it’s against vulnerable Saints this weekend.
Peacocks boast (+140) favorite’s odds to beat Southampton (+185) following 3 straight Saints losses to pedestrian Premier League opponents. Southampton roared with top-half form headed into an FA Cup bout with West Ham on March 2nd, and dealt Hammers a 3-1 defeat that stands among West Ham’s biggest disappointments of 2022. But since then, Saints have been out-scored 8-2 by Villa, Newcastle, and Watford, prompting gamblers to reassess the impact of GK Alex McCarthy’s injury.
WagerBop’s Pick: Draw (+250)
Sat. April 2nd: Burnley F.C. vs Manchester City
There’s never odds so cautious as (-550) on Man City unless there’s something to be said for the other side, especially given that Burnley (+900) goes into Saturday’s match in 19th place on the Premier League table.
Clarets looked to be rounding into superior form as of the club’s upset win over Tottenham Hotspur and valuable 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace late in February. Since then, though, Burnley has played like a relegation victim, losing to 3 consecutive clean sheets in Premier League action.
Perhaps the favorites will see Liverpool’s charge as a wake-up call. City’s excellent 4-1 triumph over Southampton in the FA Cup quarter-finals shouldn’t be dismissed as a “tournament” result without bearing on City’s form in April matches. Man City’s starting-11 against Saints was dotted with FIFA stars, 4 of whom scored goals. Southampton’s style may differ, but Clarets represent a lesser challenge.
O/U payoff odds of (-186) on Over (2.5) goals indicate that Man City’s attack is alive and kicking…quite literally.
WagerBop’s Pick: Manchester City (with parlay)
Sat. April 2nd: Brighton F.C. vs Norwich City
Norwich’s thin prop-betting odds to be relegated in 2022 illustrate that bettors are looking at more than tables. Canaries aren’t that far behind in typical terms, considering that there are 9 matches left to be played. But the club’s poor defending gives Norwich little chance of grabbing 1 point at a time with draws. Norwich City’s last drawn outcome came against visiting Crystal Palace in early February, and discouragingly, even the 1-1 score of that fixture was a negative for Norwich City. Striker Teemu Pukki scored in the opening minute, but that was the final shot-on-target for Canaries as CPFC controlled the football for nearly 3/4ths of the contest.
Brighton’s (-220) moneyline on Saturday is an example of punters ignoring not only the table, but recent outcomes for the match’s favorites. Seagulls stand only 13th in the Premier League with little chance of moving significantly up or down, while only a surprise winning streak can possibly save Norwich City (+700) from a demotion to English Championship. Brighton hasn’t been holding serve against vulnerable Premier League opponents in spite of numerous chances to begin doing so.
Saturday’s 1-to-2 Falmer Stadium favorites have dropped 3 points in 6 consecutive matches, including an 0-3 outcome against struggling Burnley, and yet another string of opposing clean-sheet triumphs.
WagerBop’s Pick: Pick: Norwich City (+1) (+175)
Saturday, April 2nd: Manchester United vs Leicester City
Leicester may have paid for its Cinderella title of the 2010s with added pressure brought-upon by media scrutiny, and the heavy expectations of winning. Setting the tabloid noise aside, Foxes may have simply “settled into” a mid-tier form that was always natural for the club, casting the hand-wringing over 2022’s table position into a different mode of analysis.
Foxes have hunted just fine since the start of the 2021-22 cycle when visiting hosts like Burnley, Palace, Brentford, and Southampton. But the form of Brendan Rodgers’ lineup has headlong-hurtled into a wall of superiority when visiting EPL strongholds. Foxes most recently allowed 2 goals and 8 on-target shots in a road loss to Arsenal, before only minimally surviving in a back-end UEFA tie in which Rennes scored twice. Such can be considered “long-term reversion” to middle-tier status for Leicester.
MUFC has suffered the usual round of drama and disappointments over the past few weeks, including a bitter, lopsided loss to derby rival Manchester City. But the lack of confidence that Leicester can challenge an elite foe away from King Power Stadium in 2022 is helping Red Devils maintain (-190) odds to beat Foxes, with only 3-to-1 odds on a drawn score.
WagerBop’s Pick: Over (3.5) (+144)
Sun. April 3rd: Tottenham Hotspur vs Newcastle United
Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-to-2 odds to win Sunday’s only Premier League match belie a Spurs lineup that’s been as confounding as usual.
Newcastle is relatively safe at 9 points clear above relegation, and Magpies will presumably attack with abandon with an upcoming 3-match home stand on the ledger, followed by a winnable trip to visit Norwich.
The only issue for punters looking to take Newcastle’s (+550) underdog odds is the marked momentum from the league’s international break. Heung-min Son of Tottenham had a tremendous appearance helping Korea overwhelm Iran in World Cup qualifying, boding poorly for less-talented defenders who must also defend Harry Kane on Sunday.
Pick: Handicap Draw (Tottenham (-1)) (+250)
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.