By Sean Cain
This is always my least favorite match week to bet coming from the international break. Typically, I stay away from this week altogether, but I know you all want the content so here we are.
WARNING: Bet lightly, the craziest of crazy happens after the international break and while I’d love to sit here and give you Newcastle ML on Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford, I simply do not want that on my head.
Let’s begin (he said nervously)!
West Ham / Southampton over 3 goals (+123 Barstool, +money on most books)
If we know anything about this game, it is that these two teams love scoring and hate defending. Just from trends alone, the fact this number is still +money is a little fishy to me, but I trust stats and figures and nothing else.
To open the season this number would have hit in 5/6 games for each of these teams (the lone failure coming when Southampton tied Man U 1-1). Neither team has been kept off the scoresheet yet and neither team has kept an opponent of the scoresheet yet. West Ham is at a blistering rate of 3.33 goals per match and Southampton allows 2.0 goals per match.
West Ham have 10 players in total that participated in International Qualifiers this past week, which is a bit cause for concern for this game, but fortunately (maybe not for him though) Michel Antonio, West Ham’s prolific goal scorer who sits atop the Prem in the race for the golden boot, did not see any action while away on International Duty. Additionally, defensive signing Kurt Zouma does not seem ready to make his Hammer’s debut quite yet, so expect plenty of goals in this game.
Tottenham ML (+100 Draft Kings, Barstool)
No doubt Tottenham escaped with a lucky 1-0 victory over Watford before the international break – but a third consecutive victory took Spurs into the break on top of the Premier League. I don’t expect Tottenham to be in contention to win the League come April, but their start to the Prem this season has been nothing short of remarkable, especially under new coach Nuno Espirito Santo and his defensive mindset. There certainly is fears in this Spurs side: they might be overlooking this clash with Palace and rather ahead to their Europa Conference League (yes, different than Europa League) contest against French-side Rennes, and with 95% of their squad away for the international break, will there be a lack of cohesion among the starting XI?
Crystal Palace will play in their fourth consecutive London derby this weekend as they play host to Tottenham. It shouldn’t be undersold that an early exit to Watford in the EFL Cup, and only mustering five shots and just one point from their first three derbies. Crystal’s schedule doesn’t get much easier as they will face Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester on the heels of their matchup with Spurs.
I too fear Tottenham might be a bit sluggish, but I have been so low on Crystal Palace this season, I just cannot see them finding a goal with the brick wall that is Spurs’ back six. Don’t expect Palace to fix their form in this home contest either, too much quality from Tottenham will see them stay atop the Prem with a narrow victory.
Arsenal -1 (-125 DraftKings)
In my last blog on the EPL, I said, and I quote “I am never betting on Arsenal again.” Well, that lasted all of two weeks! I don’t love Arsenal; I don’t think they are a good football team and I think Mikel Arteta got put in a bad situation… with that being said… take Arsenal to trounce Norwich City.
Arsenal is not relegation bad; they have had a tough schedule to start playing the European Champions and English Champions in two of their first three games. I think the International Break was exactly what Arsenal needed, and with a nice break from the EPL, an opportunity to reset, and refresh, the Gunners will come out, smack the Canaries, and begin their climb back to the middle of the table where they truly belong this season.
Listen, more than anything, this is a bet that at SOME point this season, Arsenal must start winning games, because they are not of relegation quality, simple as that.
I certainly don’t trust Arsenal enough to lay the -200 and more juice that each book has put on them to win this game on the ML, but a 2-0 or 3-1 victory is certainly a viable option and Arteta will push his players to go for goal #2, 3 and maybe even 4 if Arsenal can take an early lead.
If Norwich scores first or it’s tied 0-0 after the 60th minute, cash out of this bet immediately! I am banking that Arsenal comes out flying, scores early, and piles on late, beating a weak Norwich side.
1u – Tottenham to win & under 2.5 goals (+310 MGM)
This banks on the fact that Tottenham should beat Crystal Palace but will be lackluster coming off the international break and with European contests later in the week. 1-0 has been a popular scoreline for Spurs so far this season, and a road contest at Sellhurst Park screams a grimy 1-0 score. I certainly don’t see Crystal Palace finding the back of the net against Tottenham, so I am comfortable taking Spurs to win and keep this game under 3 goals, especially with 3 to 1 odds.
Sean’s Full Card
2u – West Ham/Southampton o3 (+123 Barstool, +120 Draft Kings)
2u – Tottenham ML (+100 Draft Kings, Barstool)
2u – Arsenal -1 (-125 DraftKings)
1u – Tottenham to win & under 2.5 goals (+310 MGM)
.5u “For the Hell of it” Parlay (+16250)
Leicester City Double Chance
Man Utd -1.5
Southampton/West Ham o2.5
Chelsea/Aston Villa o2
Leans (not betting, but things I could see happening, who knows maybe I will bet)
RB Leipzig +.5 (-135 DraftKings) (FanDuel offers Handicap Draw +1 at +330, worth a look)
Leverkusen ML (+225 MGM)
Leverkusen/Dortmund o3.5 (+106 FanDuel)