Matchweek 9 Preview

This Season: 53-47-20 (+5.7 Units)
Matchweek 9: 6-3-2 (+3.1 Units)

Finally! The International break has ended and we can once again resume our regular life of endless football. We have an awesome weekend in the Premier League, with the highlight being Liverpool trip’s to Old Trafford.

Let’s get this thing started. (Odds as of 10/17).

English Premier League
Saturday, October 19th
7:30 am EST

West Ham @ Everton (TV: NBCSN) – These two teams have had a combined 2 wins in their last 10 matches (1 win in 5 matches each), but there has been a major difference between the two. Everton have earned only 1 point in their last 5 matches while West Ham have earned 5 points in those 5 matches. West Ham have also been one of the best teams away from home this season, undefeated and with 6 points through 4 matches. Everton have also been the 5th worst team against the spread this season and find themselves as favorites here against a West Ham team who are 2-1 against the spread as underdogs (with their only loss coming against Man City). West Ham have also not loss against the spread away from home this season, and have played well consistently. I’ll gladly pick them as underdogs here. West Ham United +0.5 (-110).

10:00 am EST

Norwich City @ Bournemouth – Norwich have been very boom or bust this season, as they’re one of only two teams without a draw this season (Liverpool, who have been only boom this season). Norwich are also without a without a win away from home so far this year, and remain the only team who have yet to get a point away from home as well. Bournemouth meanwhile have been a steadier ship so far this year. They’re sitting in 10th with a 0 goal differential and have yet to have back to back losses. I’m going to side with Bournemouth here who are the better bet at home, against a Norwich team who I can’t trust in general, let alone away from home. Bournemouth -0.5 (-130).

Brighton @ Aston Villa – The international break couldn’t have come at a worse time for Villa as they trounced Norwich 5-1 before the break. They’ve now gone their last three unbeaten in all competitions but are hosting a Brighton team who completely picked apart Tottenham before the break. This match is big for both teams as a win would pull that team further away from the relegation zone. But Brighton have not been good away from home with their only win coming in the first match of the year and they’ll be playing a Villa team who are more than comfortable at home. They’ve only not covered once in their four home matches and have only lost outright once. Although Brighton looked great against Spurs, that was a really beaten down Spurs team and it was Brighton’s first win since that opener to Watford. Villa have had some sneaky better form as they’ve only lost two of their last eight matches in all competitions. I’ll take Villa at home on the pickem line, with only an outright loss losing me the bet. Aston Villa Pickem (-130).

Newcastle @ Chelsea – Everyone seems to making a big deal out of Chelsea’s season so far and yet they’re in 5th place and only 2 points off of City in 2nd. They’ve also won their last two league matches and their last four in all competitions. Newcastle only have two losses in their last seven in all competitions, but take that with a grain of salt. That run includes three draws and two losses by a total of seven goals (3-1 loss at Leicester and 5-0 at Liverpool). But they are coming off of a win against United and luckily for them, Chelsea have been below average this year at home. They’re 1-2-1 with a +1 goal differential with draws to Sheffield and Leicester. Even more of note, Chelsea will be without their most important player in Ngolo Kante, which will surely cause some holes in the midfield. I’m going to take the points as I think Newcastle can keep this a one-goal game or even possibly escape with a draw. Newcastle +1.5 (-105).

Burnley @ Leicester – This match features two of the best teams against the spread this season as Burnley have gone 6-1-1 and Leciester have gone 5-2-1. Burnley are clearly pushing above their weight this season with their only loss against the spread coming against Liverpool, an acceptable loss. They’re an undefeated 3-0-1 against the spread away from home but are somehow winless outright in that criteria. This basically means that they’ve kept results tight but Vegas has consistently undervalued them away from home. Another note is that they’ve achieved those marks without being a large underdog away from home. Well, they sit as a full-goal underdog here (they biggest they’ve been this season away from home) and I like them to keep it close against a Leicester side who have been brilliant this season, but will likely have trouble against a Burnley team who are great defensively and good at limiting opponent’s offensive production away from home. Burnley +1 (-110).

Watford @ Tottenham (TV: NBCSN) – This isn’t the best match on paper but it might be the most intriguing one. Spurs are in utter disarray after their 7-2 loss to Bayern Munich and 3-0 loss to Brighton. Reports say that the team has given up on Pochettino and there is an obvious lack of effort on the pitch. They now play the worst team in the league, both outright and against the spread, in Watford. This is Spurs’ chance to turn things around and I think the international break came at the right time for them. Watford are probably the only reason I’d bet on Spurs right now as they’re yet to even score a goal away from home. I’ll take Spurs here, especially with a positive price on the spread. Tottenham -1.5 (+110).

Southampton @ Wolves – It’s been a tale of two halves for Wolves so far this season. They’ve played more matches than anyone else and went without a win in their first six matches in the league. They’ve now won their last two including at Man City in a 200/1 upset, have gone undefeated against the spread in their last three league games and are beginning to look like themselves again. Southampton’s form was quite opposite before the international break, going 0-3 in their last three league matches and haven’t covered in any of those. Their 2-1 loss at Spurs seemed good on paper but they were man up for 60 minutes and then followed that with a 4-1 loss at home to Chelsea. I’m going to stay safe with this one and take Wolves at home, on the thought that the international break will give them a much-needed rest even after a good run of form. Wolves -0.5 (-115).

12:30 pm EST

Manchester City @ Crystal Palace (TV: NBC) – Man City need a win so badly that if they don’t get one, their season might as well be over. Their 8 point gap to Liverpool can’t get any longer and this could be an opportunity for them to take advantage if the Reds drop points to Manchester United on Sunday. Unluckily for them, Palace are undefeated against the spread at home with 2 wins and 2 pushes. Luckily for City though, they’ll be returning star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and center back John Stones. Their returns are huge for City as they were missing De Bruyne’s creativity in the midfield as well as the final third and John Stones will surely fill the glaring holes they’ve been having at the back. Although I think this could push, it also has the opportunity for a huge bounce back game for City after an international break that possibly gave them the clarity they needed. I’ll take City, hoping they can return to the form we all expect them to be at. Manchester City -2 (+110).

Sunday, October 20th
11:30 am EST

Liverpool @ Manchester United (TV: NBC) – This match over the last 20 years has been one of the best rivalries in world football, but things are a bit different this time around. United currently sit in 12th place on 9 points through 8 matches, their worst start since 1989 (30 years ago when the year the Berlin Wall fell). Liverpool meanwhile have gone 8-0 to start the season and if they get their 9th win, it would be their best start since 1990. But form tends to go out the window in big rivalry matches like this and if history says anything, this match tends to be close. Since Klopp took over at Liverpool, they’ve only beaten United two times in their nine matches in all competitions. Another stat of note is the last time Liverpool scored a goal from open play at Old Trafford was in 2015, scored by Christian Benteke. The last match these two played was a scoreless draw at Old Trafford, one many believed Liverpool would win, much like this Sunday. It sounds crazy to take United here especially without Pogba and De Gea, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I expect a weird and wonky match and I think Liverpool won’t dominate like many think. I’ll take the big home dogs in United here. Manchester United +1 (-125).

Monday, October 21st
3:00 pm EST

Arsenal @ Sheffield United (TV: NBCSN) – Most people (including me) believed Sheffield would struggle mightily but that’s not been the case this season. They sit in 13th and are one of only two teams with 6 wins against the spread this season (the other being Burnley) and are 3-0 in their last three matches against the spread. Their only two losses against the spread though have come at home. Arsenal meanwhile have found some more stability as they’ve gone their last 8 matches unbeaten and their last five league matches unbeaten. But one thing that has me worried about Arsenal is that their last three away matches have been far from convincing with a loss at Liverpool and very lackluster draws at Watford and Manchester United. That loss against Watford was in a similar situation here, 0.5 goal favorites away from home. I’m going to play this one safe and take the home dogs in Sheffield United, expecting them to give Arsenal some serious trouble in a tough atmosphere Monday night. Sheffield United +0.5 (-110).

That’s all for my Premier League picks for this weekend. Enjoy the return of club football!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

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