Matchweek 17 Preview

This Season: 100-87-38 (+13.6 Units)
Matchweek 15: 3-1-2 (+2.0 Units)

Another solid weekend now brings us to 13.8 units in the positive. That’s already more than I had all of last season so let’s keep building and getting that number higher.

English Premier League
Saturday, December 14th
7:30 am EST

Watford @ Liverpool (TV:NBCSN) – This one is cut and dry. Liverpool have not lost a league match all year and have won their last three matches by at least two goals against teams that are better than this Watford team. Watford have played three teams in the current top six away from home and have lost by an average of 4 goals per game (they lost at City 8-0 but the other two matches were 2-0 defeats at Leicester and Wolves). I don’t see any way Liverpool don’t spank this team on Saturday, especially when they know they have a grueling and congested schedule ahead of them. They know they can’t pass up this easy opportunity for three points. I’ll take two units on the Reds here at home in what could be a blowout. Liverpool -2 (-120) 2 UNITS.

10:00 am EST

Newcastle @ Burnley – Newcastle have been brilliant in the last seven matches, with only one loss and 14 points earned during that period. In their last six matches, they’ve been either an underdog or a pickem and they’ve gone 5-1 against the spread. Burnley are on the other side of that form spectrum as they’ve lost their last three matches by an average of 3.3 goals per game. If you expand that form further to the entire season, their only wins have come against teams who sit behind them in the table (Southampton, Norwich, Everton, West Ham and Watford). I’ll take Newcastle as underdogs against Burnley team who are starting to slip towards the bottom of the table. Newcastle United +0.5 (-115).

Bournemouth @ Chelsea (TV: NBCSN) – A club whose form has absolutely tanked is Bournemouth. They’ve now lost their last five matches outright and only have one win in their last eleven matches. Chelsea meanwhile sit comfortably in fourth place but they haven’t been as inspiring as you’d think. They only have two wins in their last six matches in all competitions and one win in their last four matches in the Premier League. They’re 7-8-1 against the spread this year and have yet to be favorites of two goals like they are here. This is a situation I want to avoid (a team I don’t want to bet on and another team who is being overvalued), so I’ll pass. PASS.

Norwich @ Leicester – This is a match almost identical to Bournemouth/Chelsea. Norwich have only one win in their last eleven matches and they’ve caused some teams trouble that you wouldn’t expect. They play fearless and aren’t afraid to attack teams that are better than them. Yes, Leicester have been on fire and they look like the second best team in the league this year (nine straight wins in all competitions and eight in the league), but I’m hesitant to say they will keep beating teams by multiple goals. A two-goal spread feels too high for me and I feel that Leicester are being overvalued. PASS.

Aston Villa @ Sheffield United – Sheffield got back to winning ways by beating Norwich after their minor bump in the road against Newcastle. They have lost their winning ways a bit though over the last few months with only two wins in their last seven matches, but in that span they’ve only lost once. Those four draws came against West Ham, Spurs, Manchester United and Wolves which is pretty impressive. Aston Villa have now lost two games in a row against two teams in the top four, but that’s not my biggest worry for them in this match. They only have four points away from home this season through eight matches and they recently lost their best defender Tyrone Mings to a hamstring injury. That doesn’t bode well for one of the worst defenses in the league and the worst away from home. I’ll take Sheffield to get three points here at home. Sheffield United -0.5 (-115).

12:30 pm EST

West Ham @ Southampton (TV: NBC) – This match may look horrible on paper, but this is the Relegation Battle of the Week match. Southampton find themselves in 18th place on 15 points while West Ham sit in 16th on 16 points. I can’t find anything from this match that makes me want to take it since I trust neither team to get a result here. Although I’d lean West Ham as underdogs out of principal since it feels like a pickem, I’m just going to mind my own business and stay away. PASS.

Sunday, December 15th
9:00 am EST

Tottenham @ Wolves (TV: NBCSN) – Wolves have been unbelievable this season at getting points. Since September 22nd Wolves have only lost one match, coming against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup. As a pickem or underdog this season, Wolves have gone 6-2-3 (win-loss-push) against the spread and they have only lost one match outright at home this season. Spurs meanwhile have yet to get points against a team near their skill level under Mourinho and have only won one match away from home all season. Wolves are underdogs again here and I love them to get points at home where they’ve only failed to do so once this season in the league. Wolves +0.5 (-140).

Everton @ Manchester United – We continue the theme of ‘teams I really don’t want to bet on’ with this match. Both teams are coming off of HUGE wins and we now don’t know what to expect afterwards. Manchester United just won back to back league matches for the first time this season and they haven’t won three straight in the league since January of last year. Everton on the other hand, have a new manager and we now have no idea what to expect match to match. I’m going to stay away until we find out more about who these teams are. PASS.

11:30 am EST

Manchester City @ Arsenal (TV: NBCSN) – City are coming off of an embarrassing loss to rivals Manchester United while Arsenal are the most unpredictable top six team we’ve seen in years. City’s league season is basically over and they’re nursing a lot of injuries so I expect somewhat of a rag tag lineup from the Cityzens. Arsenal meanwhile broke a run of seven league matches without a win and nine matches in all competitions without a win with a 3-1 triumph over West Ham. But the Gunners had a horrible first half and needed a flurry of three goals in nine minutes in the second half to get the win. As impressive as it was, it’s not sustainable. I’m going to stay away from this match because the spread of 1.5 feels like too much for City and possibly not enough for Arsenal. PASS.

Monday, December 16th
2:45 pm EST

Brighton @ Crystal Palace (TV: NBCSN) – Palace have now gone three straight matches without a loss and even though they came against three relegation candidates, it’s big for their form. Palace’s four losses since September 22nd have all come against teams in the top four, but they’ve been undefeated against teams below that mark. In fact, their only losses this entire season have come against teams inside the top eight and are undefeated against the rest of the table. Brighton meanwhile had a big win against Arsenal last week and a hard-fought draw against Wolves this past weekend. But their win against Arsenal was their only win away from home in the league since their first match of the season against Watford. I’ll take Palace here as a home pickem. Crystal Palace Pickem (-115).

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

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