Matchweek 18 Preview

Last weekend’s Premier League saw Leicester and Chelsea slip up at home, City destroy Arsenal and Spurs get a big late winner at Wolves. Let’s see how I fared…

This Season: 101-89-40 (+12.0 Units)
Matchweek 17: 1-2-2 (-1.6 Units)

Could’ve been worse, but could’ve been better. Back to the well we go but before that, let’s discuss some business. If you haven’t noticed we have a podcast and a twitter account (both linked below). Follow and listen below!!

Twitter: @canikickitpod

English Premier League
Saturday, December 21st
7:30 am EST

Arsenal @ Everton (TV: NBCSN) – This match features two clubs in similar-ish positions. Both have seriously under-performed, sacked their managers, and hired new ones in recent weeks (Mikel Arteta to Arsenal and Carlo Ancelotti to Everton). But since they each sacked their manager, only Everton have shown life as they’re undefeated in regulation in their last three in all competitions since Marco Silva was shown the door. Those matches came against Leicester who won on penalties in the League Cup quarterfinals, at United where they got a draw and Chelsea at home where they won 3-1. Arsenal have only had one win in the league since early October and away from home have only earned 9 points from 8 matches with a -2 goal differential. I think Everton have bounced back much better and their squad has begun to settle while Arsenal have shown the opposite. I’m going to take Everton as a home pickem here. Everton Pickem (-130).

10:00 pm EST

Burnley @ Bournemouth – Burnley have stayed pretty consistent match to match as they have yet to lose to teams below them in the table and have a 65% win/push rate this season. Bournemouth did just win 1-0 at Chelsea but take that result with a grain of salt as that bucked a trend of five straight league losses. At home they’re 16th in the table with 9 points from 8 matches and they’re currently dealing with several key injuries including Nathan Ake and Harry Wilson to name a few. I’m going to stay safe and take Burnley on the pickem with some appealing odds. Burnley Pickem (+115).

Southampton @ Aston Villa – This match is similar to the one above, but with the roles reversed. Villa haven’t been all that bad this season with only one loss from teams in the bottom half of the table (against Bournemouth in August). At home against the spread, they’ve been almost as good with only 2 losses in their eight home matches. Southampton meanwhile haven’t won away from home in the league since September (6 matches) and since that loss, they’ve only earned 2 points from teams ahead of them in the table in matches both home and away (12 matches). Another pickem, and another team I just feel more confident in picking. Aston Villa Pickem (-125).

Sheffield @ Brighton – This is one of the better matches of the weekend as these two teams have been the pleasant surprises of the year so far. But not much can top what Sheffield have been able to do this season with only 4 losses through 17 matches and an undefeated away record. They’ve been almost unstoppable against the spread with an 82% cover rate, an unheard of number especially for a newly-promoted team. They’ve been a pickem or an underdog in 14 of those 17 matches and have only not covered 3 times. As underdogs this season they’re an astonishing 10-1 against the spread. Vegas has made them underdogs again here and there’s no way I’m going to fade them. Don’t fade the blades. Sheffield United +0.5 (-135).

Crystal Palace @ Newcastle – Both of these clubs have been in surprising form recently and in this situation (Palace away and Newcastle at home) as they rank in the top ten in points respectively. Palace have only one loss in their last five away matches while Newcastle haven’t lost at home since their opener against Arsenal (seven matches), which is also the only time they’ve failed to cover the spread at home this year. What concerns me about Palace though is that they played pretty poor for 60 minutes on Monday against Brighton at home and needed some Zaha magic to get a 1-1 draw. I’m going to stay safe and take the home team who has been rolling all season at home. Newcastle United Pickem (-135).

Wolves @ Norwich City (TV: NBCSN) – Normally I would take Wolves here but Norwich are coming off of a big result against Leicester and have been really hard to figure out recently. Wolves also just suffered their first home loss since September after they conceded a late winner to Spurs. If Wolves weren’t favored I’d probably take them but I can’t pick them as away favorites and I’m trying to stay away from betting on Norwich right now due to their inconsistencies. This is an easy pass for me. PASS.

12:30 pm EST

Leicester @ Manchester City (TV: NBC) – This spread somewhat shocked me. Leicester find themselves as multiple-goal underdogs for the first time this season and rightly so as they’ve only lost two games this season, both by only one goal. Yes, Man City are Man City but this Leicester team have been brilliant this year especially in keeping teams at bay. They’ve conceded 11 goals in 17 matches this season and only 6 in their 8 away matches. Against the spread, they’ve only not covered a shocking 18% so far this season, tied with only Sheffield. Man City have only covered the spread outright in 35% of their matches and failed to cover the spread 47%. They’ve also yet to win by multiple goals in their last four home matches. I’ll gladly take the points in what could be a very tight and low-scoring match here. Leicester City +1.5 (-115).

Sunday, December 22nd
9:00 am EST

Manchester United @ Watford (TV: NBCSN) – I’m currently staying far away from picking either of these two teams until United can win consistently (especially away from home) and Watford can cover the spread. I’m staying far away from this one because it could be 5-0 United, or a wonky upset from Watford. PASS.

11:30 am EST

Chelsea @ Tottenham (TV: NBCSN) – Spurs’ win at Wolves was a sign that maybe Mourinho’s message has gotten to the players. They’re 5-2 under Jose and their only losses came at Manchester United and at Bayern Munich. They’re undefeated at home under their new boss and they only have one loss at their new stadium in the league so far this season (to Newcastle in August). Chelsea meanwhile have had some seriously inconsistent form recently with only two wins in their last seven matches in all competitions. They also haven’t won a match away from home since Watford at the start of November and they have only beaten one club in the top ten away from Stamford Bridge (Wolves in September). I’m going to pick Spurs for the first time in weeks now that I know they’re starting to find their form under Mourinho. Tottenham Pickem (-125).

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @canikickitpod
Twitter: @nicodegallo

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