We apologize for not faithfully covering each round of Premier League soccer with the usual short-preview and betting odds spread here at WagerBop. Doing so in a FIFA World Cup year would entail a lot of fast turnarounds, inaccuracies, and confusion in late April, because the EPL has been going hog-wild with an NBA-like match schedule.
Another 6 additional weekday matches were played prior to last Saturday’s national gala, with another Monday fixture thrown in before the 34th EPL match-week was complete. UEFA, World Cup qualifying, and domestic tournaments have worn players down.
Intrigue lingers as the smoke clears. The (-210) odds on Sky Blues winning the Premier League title again are as modest as they’ve been at any point this year. City of Manchester Stadium hosted an EPL-sanctioned corker on April 10th that spectators won’t soon forget, with Man City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne‘s goal against Liverpool at the 5-minute mark seeming to vindicate prevailing predictions that Manchester City’s midfield would prove too elite for any EPL opponent, including Reds, in 2022. Liverpool fought back with physical, contentious defending, and incisive counterattacks, leaving Sadio Mané’s tying goal at ’46 to produce a cautious 2nd half following a wild 4-goal opener. Liverpool beat Man City in an FA Cup bout just 6 days later, but is still a 1.5-to-1 underdog to lift hardware.
Man City’s long-term prospects are highly valued by FanDuel speculators (and bookmakers) thanks to Sky Blues’ immense depth of quality in the ranks. Liverpool, however, may have achieved its own kind of “long-term” tactics as of the 2021-22 cycle, as evidenced by last Sunday’s outcome from the Merseyside derby at Anfield. Reds refused to rush balls into likely scoring areas no matter how short-handed the Richarlison’s quasi-Neymar antics left Everton GK Jordan Pickford, and maintained possession while executing a precise game plan, simply waiting for Toffeemen to make a critical mistake. Salah’s beautiful touch, run, and crosser to produce the 2-0 victory’s winner was evidence that the plan worked. Moreover, the team’s patience and confidence mirror that of Manchester City, and Liverpool has emerged with hopes to make history with an equally strong, less valued team.
Liverpool may prove the strangest league “underdog” of all time given the prevailing prop betting odds, which give Reds an amazing 7-to-1 chance to win a “quadruple,” or the EFL Cup, FA Cup, EPL title, and Champions League in the same cycle.
While the UK-Europe quadruple has never been accomplished (it’s a tad harder than a Triple Toe Loop according to multi-sport handicappers), Liverpool would only need to defeat Man City a maximum of once to pull it off in 2022. Chelsea F.C., not Pep Guardiola’s Sky Blues, is Liverpool’s foe in the upcoming FA Cup final.
Liverpool’s 2021-22 EFL Cup hardware, of course, is already in the bag.
Thurs. April 28: Manchester United vs Chelsea F.C.
Things might look bleak for Man United with an opponent named “Chelsea” on the sheet. Thursday’s match at Old Trafford, in spite of Chelsea’s status as a name-brand and flourishing rival, does manage to pit MUFC against the most convenient of all possible elite opposing sides, as Chelsea has little to push for in EPL compared to the FA Cup.
No matter what the circumstances or the table/bracket situation, MUFC supporters have rights to fear whenever Man United (+210) takes on a top-stuff team like Chelsea (+120) in any competition in 2022. Ronaldo‘s team has been embarrassed by most of the top-6 at some point in recent memory, losing to Arsenal by 2 goals on Saturday in an outcome that should prove definitive in the chase for UEFA Champions League placement. Before that, Manchester United was humiliated by Salah and Sadio Mané in a 4-goal clean sheet loss at Anfield. MUFC’s best April result is a draw with Leicester.
Yet in a twist from FanDuel Sportsbook, Blues of Chelsea are only a (+350) long-odds wager to cover a (-1) line against-the-spread on Thursday. There’s no question if Red Devils are as sloppy defending Chelsea’s exquisite attack as they’ve been against Tottenham, Liverpool, and even Norwich City recently, the visitors will feast on balls in the box.
WagerBop’s Pick: Chelsea ATS (-1) (+350)
Sat. April 30: Newcastle United vs Liverpool
Newcastle United (+650) stands a bright 9th on the EPL table and will enjoy home-field advantage on Saturday against Liverpool (-240). Sadly for Newcastle, that’s about where the advantages end for Saturday’s early-start hosts. In layman’s terms, Newcastle is facing a 747 coming down the runway in more ways than one as Liverpool appears in town.
Liverpool is a 1-to-1 odds (-1) favorite ATS for a match with about 3 anticipated goals, lending plus-payoff odds to Under (2.5) and Over (3.5) goal-total wagers.
WagerBop’s Pick: Liverpool (with parlay)
Sat. April 30: Southampton vs Crystal Palace
Saturday’s simultaneous kickoffs consist of just 3 total fixtures. Villa is a 1-to-2.5 money-line favorite to defeat Norwich City, though Canaries are making a last-ditch effort to avoid relegation. Wolverhampton F.C. is a rather modest (+165) odds “favorite” to beat Brighton at home, having blown numerous chances for 3 points with shaky defending at Molineux. Then there’s a team that’s been making headlines with a championship bid…and it’s the ‘dog in the upcoming fight at Saint Mary’s Stadium.
Southampton’s nearly 1-to-1 odds to beat visiting Crystal Palace F.C. could look even weirder to some speculators, since CPFC has been good enough to reach bronze-medal placement in the FA Cup this season. Eagles also tied 2-2 with Saints in a December meeting. Crystal Palace’s only obvious weakness coming into Saturday’s fixture is a potential fatigue issue, itself partly due to Eagles’ domestic tournament resume.
The Over/Under goal-total odds of (-112) on Under (2.5) goals may prove to be too standardly drawn for Sin City’s own good. Crystal Palace will probably not mind allowing Southampton to possess the ball for a majority of the match, and could use kick-and-chase tactics to avoid a tired back-line against Southampton’s pressing forwards.
WagerBop’s Pick: Under (2.5)
Sat. April 30: Aston Villa vs Norwich City
Villa’s (-290) FanDuel prop betting odds to score a maiden goal against Norwich on Saturday indicate that bookmakers think Villains may reprise their success from December, when they defeated Norwich City 2-0. But the club has not scored in 2 straight fixtures.
WagerBop’s Pick: Draw (+380)
Sun. May 1: West Ham United vs Arsenal F.C.
Hammers have lost steam in the Premier League’s race for top-4 placement, standing with just 52 points and 8 points behind 4th-place Arsenal. In fact, Gunners’ current lead over West Ham, among its leads on several top-4 hopefuls, is so formidable that even a decisive Hammers victory over Arsenal on Sunday might not change either team’s fortunes.
But then again, West Ham has been simultaneously flourishing on the game’s international stage, to the extent that Hammers may qualify for another UEFA berth in 2022-23, maybe even a Champions League bid, without any table-placement honors from the EPL. Standout footballers Craig Dawson, Declan Rice, and Jerod Bowens scored within 11 minutes of the maiden half to help West Ham clobber host Lyon 4-1 on aggregate in the recent UEFA Europa League quarter-final round. Gunners are working with no such distractions from other events, and stand as a (-130) favorite to defeat the upstarts on Sunday, given the legacy club’s momentum and confidence level with a tasty match-up against Leeds approaching next on the slate.
Gunners are at (-1) on Sunday’s spread, though FanDuel Sportsbook’s 1-to-1 payoff odds ATS belong to West Ham at (+1). FanDuel’s standard (-110) odds on each side of O/U (2.5) total goals indicates respect for each club’s back-line contingent, as do the 1/1 odds on Arsenal scoring in the 1st frame.
WagerBop’s Pick: West Ham (+1) ATS
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.