It’s the busiest and most exciting stretch of the Premier League season for soccer betting. In a crucial period, each team is scheduled to play five matches over the next 2½ weeks.
Last weekend gave us some excellent matches as the Premier League title race continues to take shape. The top three of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all narrowly won last weekend to pull away from the rest of the pack.
Premier League Breakdown
Title Challengers Scrape By
Defending champions and title favorites Manchester City eked out a 1-0 win over a 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers side on Saturday. Raul Jimenez was sent off just before the halftime whistle, bizarrely receiving two yellows in the span of 30 seconds.
The Wolves remained disciplined defensively without him, but conceded a penalty in the second half. Raheem Sterling converted coolly to keep City at the top of the table.
This week, Man City face Leeds and Newcastle in two matches they should win. City is a 2½-goal favorite vs Leeds but Marcelo Bielsa’s side is capable of putting up a fight.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard returned to Anfield for the first time as Aston Villa manager on Saturday. He couldn’t defeat his former team but left with his pride as a Mo Salah penalty was the difference between the two sides.
Gerrard has done a great job so far with Aston Villa. He’s turned them into one of the best soccer picks as they’ve covered the goal-line in each of his five matches.
As for Liverpool, they managed a second straight 1-0 win and they’ll look to blow away Newcastle United on Thursday. The Reds are 2½-goal favorites and have a decent shot of covering. Sunday poses a challenge, however, as they head to London to face Antonio Conte’s Tottenham.
Tensions flared in an enthralling Chelsea vs Leeds match as Jorginho’s stoppage-time penalty gave Chelsea a 3-2 win. Leeds put up an excellent fight and opened up the scoring, but Mason Mount equalized soon after. Two second-half penalties from Jorginho were enough to give Chelsea a much-needed win at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea plays host to a struggling Everton side on Thursday and has a tough fixture at Wolves on Sunday. The Blues are tipped to defeat Everton as -425 sportsbook favorites.
This trio has pulled away from the pack significantly as third-place Chelsea is eight points ahead of fourth place West Ham. Manchester City is currently listed at -175 to be repeat champions, while Liverpool and Chelsea are listed at +275 and +500, respectively.
Competitive Battle for Last UCL Slot
West Ham’s scoreless draw at Burnley cracked the race for the final Champions League place wide open. The Hammers, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are all within three points of each other but Tottenham has two games in hand.
Sixth-place Arsenal, which demolished Southampton 3-0 last weekend without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, has a golden opportunity to overtake West Ham this week. The Gunners play host to the Hammers at the Emirates on Wednesday and are ½-goal favorites.
Midfielder Martin Odegaard has found the net in three consecutive games for Arsenal but striker play has been a huge problem. The last time Arsenal met West Ham, it finished in a thrilling 3-3 draw in which the Gunners came back from 3-0 down.
Life under Ralf Rangnick has gotten off to a good but uneasy start for Manchester United. They’ve managed consecutive 1-0 wins over bottom-half competition and Rangnick hasn’t yet unlocked their attacking potential.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the game’s only goal in the win vs Norwich last weekend, and United heads to Brentford on Tuesday. Manchester United looks like an enticing pick for betting online at first glance, at -115. However, Brentford has some excellent results and isn’t to be underestimated.
Tottenham’s COVID outbreak forced its UEFA Conference League match with Rennes to be cancelled and postponed its match with Brighton. Getting knocked out of Europe may be a blessing in disguise for Antonio Conte as he looks to lead the Spurs back into the Champions League.
If Tottenham are to finish in the top four, they’ll need a lot more from Harry Kane. A three-time Premier League Golden Boot winner, Kane has just one goal in 13 league matches. The Spurs have a tough road match at Leicester on Thursday and are +235 underdogs.
Relegation Looming for Bottom Feeders
Burnley was the only side in the relegation zone to pick up a point last weekend. Any of the five of Southampton, Watford, Burnley, Newcastle, and Norwich could conceivably go down.
Sean Dyche always seems to outperform expectations with Burnley, while Newcastle is tipped to go on a spending spree in January under new ownership. I think it’ll be close but Southampton, Watford and Norwich are the three I expect to go down at season’s end.