Wow, what a horrible week for me. After going a total of 3-9 this week in the Champions League for a whopping -7.1 units, I’m officially done making group stage picks unless I absolutely love a match. Let’s check in on the damage.
This Season: 77-73-33 (+2.3 Units)
UCL Matchweek 4, pt. 2: 1-5 (-4.7 Units)
There are a few insanely big matches this weekend but I will be writing a separate “BIG MATCH SPECIAL” blog that will preview and pick those matches (City/Liverpool, Bayern/Dortmund and MLS Cup Final).
Let’s dive into my picks and previews for the Premier League…
English Premier League
Friday, November 8th
3:00 pm EST
Watford @ Norwich City (TV: NBCSN) – Well we have the 2019/2020 crap bowl to start our weekend off in the Premier League. These teams have a combined two wins and 12 points through eleven matches. Neither of them have covered the spread much this season and neither of these teams are in good form. But if I had to dissect who is in better form and maybe more equipped to get points it’s probably Watford. In their last four league matches, they’ve grinded out three draws and had a close loss to Chelsea this past weekend. They’ve also conceded an average of 0.75 goals per game in that stretch while Norwich have conceded an average of 2.5 goals per game. Watford Pickem (-110).
Saturday, November 9th
7:30 am EST
Crystal Palace @ Chelsea (TV: NBCSN) – These London derbies tend to be very tight with only one matchup in the last seven being decided by more than one goal. Chelsea are in great form after five straight league wins and a big comeback against Ajax this week. But many people are looking past their form at home this season. It hasn’t been terrible but they haven’t had many good performances. In their last four home matches in all competitions, they’ve gone down 4-1 to Ajax on Tuesday and needed 2 red cards to get back in the game, they lost to United 2-1 in the League Cup, barely scraped past Newcastle 1-0, and were underwhelming against Brighton in a 2-0 win. Palace’s last two away matches were wins at West Ham and a comeback draw against fellow London foe Arsenal. I’m going to take the points and Palace in what could be a tricky game for Chelsea, especially after the high of Tuesday’s comeback. Crystal Palace +1.5 (-105).
10:00 am EST
West Ham @ Burnley – Burnley’s form has slipped since their good run of form with three straight league losses by an average of two goals. Those losses have come against three teams in the top six though (Leicester, Chelsea and Sheffield United). Luckily for them they’re facing a West Ham team who also have poor form, but it stretches across their last six matches (0 wins 2 draws and 4 losses). They were horrible last weekend against Newcastle where they went down 3-0 only 51 minutes in. I think Burnley’s form could be because of who they’ve played while I think West Ham’s is part of a bigger problem. I’ll take Burnley on the expensive pickem price as well as the better-priced moneyline. Burnley Pickem (-140) and Moneyline (+130).
Bournemouth @ Newcastle – Bournemouth’s short term form may not look spectacular but it’s a lot better than it looks. They may only have one win in their last four matches, but they’ve just beaten United and their only loss in that stretch came against Arsenal away from home in a match where they were very much deserving of getting a point. Stretching their league form out even further, they only have one loss in their last seven matches with three wins. They have also covered or pushed on the spread in their last three away matches. Newcastle looked great last weekend in a much needed win against West Ham and have recently been grinding to some good results as well. But Newcastle have only won one home game all year long and that came against a completely pathetic Manchester United side in a somewhat fluky game. I’ll take Bournemouth who I think have a better chance of getting points here. Bournemouth Pickem (-105).
Everton @ Southampton – Southampton are yet to win in their last six matches in all competitions but those all came against Spurs, Chelsea, Wolves, Leicester and Manchester City twice. Yeah a lot of those results were bad losses on the scoreline but I do take them with a grain of salt. In fact last weekend against Man City in the league, they held a lead for 57 minutes and were very disciplined defensively. Everton meanwhile have had a tough season away from home with only ONE POINT earned from their five away matches with that draw coming in the first match of the season against Palace. I like Southampton as a home pickem against an Everton team who has failed to cover in 6 matches this year and failed to cover in their last four away matches. Southampton Pickem (+110).
Sheffield United @ Tottenham (TV: NBCSN) – Before the season if I told you that one of these teams was in 11th and the other was in 6th, you’d surely say Spurs were above Sheffield. Alas, that is not the case. Sheffield aren’t a fluke, as they’ve gone 4-4-3 and conceded the least goals in the league so far. But probably the most impressive thing is that they’ve covered the spread a league-high NINE TIMES in their eleven matches. To put that in perspective, the next best team has covered seven times (Leicester) and the next has covered six times (Burnley). They are also one of only two teams this season who are undefeated away from home (Liverpool being the other). Spurs have rebounded a bit from their horrendous form with two wins in their last four matches, but both of those came in the Champions League against Red Star Belgrade. I can’t fade Sheffield here especially as one-goal underdogs since they’ve only been in two games that have been decided by more than a goal (both were wins against Everton and Burnley). Sheffield United +1 (-110).
1230 pm EST
Arsenal @ Leicester City (TV: NBC) – This is a matchup nightmare for Arsenal. Leicester are scoring goals for fun and their defensive discipline is among the best in the league. They’re tied with Sheffield for the least goals conceded and they’re second in goals scored only trailing Man City. Arsenal are barely in the top ten in goal differential and they’ve only won one away game in the league this season. They’re also one of three teams who have failed to cover the spread a league-low seven times this season. The Gunners haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last six matches in all competitions and only have one win during that span as well. Leicester meanwhile are on a four match winning streak and only have one loss in their last eight matches, against Liverpool at Anfield. I’ll take two units on Leicester who are clearly the better team at the moment and they’re being massively undervalued by Vegas here. Leicester City -0.5 (+105), 2 Units.
Sunday, November 10th
9:00 am EST
Brighton @ Manchester United (TV: NBCSN) – Similar to Spurs/Sheffield, if I told you before the season that eleven matches in, Brighton are two places ahead of United with the Red Devils in 10th place you would have laughed in my face. But Brighton have been sneaky good recently, especially against the spread. In their four covers against the spread this season, three have come in their last four matches in wins against Spurs, Everton and Norwich scoring three goals in each of them. But take that with a grain of salt as away from home it’s a different story. They have only covered the spread once this season away from home and they’ve lost their last two outright. United meanwhile are beginning to find a bit of form especially at home. They are undefeated in their last six home matches in all competitions and undefeated in their last three in the league with draws to Liverpool and Arsenal with a win against Leicester. I think this is the match that gets them back on track especially after a long run of away matches. Manchester United -1 (+105).
Aston Villa @ Wolves – Wolves only have one loss in their last eleven matches in all competitions and it came at Aston Villa in the League Cup. Throw that result out. Wolves are way more focused on the Premier League and the Europa League than the League Cup and their results in those other competitions have been impressive. They’re consistently grinding out results while Villa have been playing well against the bottom feeders but not as much against the better clubs. Away from home they only have three points through five matches and I can’t fade a Wolves team who are really tough to break down and beat. Wolves -0.5 (-110).
That’s all for this weekend’s Premier League picks blog! Don’t forget to check out my other blog breaking down the three biggest games in world football this weekend right HERE.
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.