Matchweek 5 Preview

After my first round triumph in the Champions League, water ended up finding its level in the second day of games. Liverpool failed to get 3 points at home, Porto fell to Besiktas at home, City ran wild all over Feyenoord and Tottenham finally broke the Wembley curse that hung over them for a year now.

Results:

UCL

2-6, PARLAY 0-1

giphy3

Total 28-26-3, Parlays 5-6

The good news is that footy literally never stops and we have another awesome slate on our hands this weekend for Matchweek 5. Let’s dive right into the games:

Friday:

This game already happened so here’s the update: Brighton & Hove Albion traveled to Bournemouth with both teams having unexpected starts to their season. Bournemouth the promising side over the last two seasons, had lost their first 4 matches with only scoring 1 goal. Brighton, on the other hand, pulled 4 points from their first 3 games which isn’t half bad for a promoted side who played Leicester and Man City already. Brighton took a 1-0 lead early in the second half, but squandered it as Bournemouth surmounted too much pressure on the away side and tacked on 2 goals before the 90th minute to win 2-1.

Saturday:

Southampton @ Crystal Palace 7:30am ET:

Southampton (Pick -125)
Crystal Palace (Pick +105)
Draw (+200)

Crystal Palace fired their manager Frank De Boer this week, causing some fans to be upset as he only had 4 matches to prove his worth. With that being said Palace has lost all 4 games and have yet to score a goal, so, kind of the right decision. Players tend to rally around newly hired managers and Southampton has yet to truly prove themselves this season. Palace win 2-1 (Pick +105).

Manchester City @ Watford 10:00 am ET:

Man City (-294, -1½)
Watford (+775, +1½)
Draw (+400)

Man City come in off of a huge 5-0 victory over Liverpool last weekend and another big 4-0 Champions League victory. To be honest -294 is somewhat disrespectful with how this team is beginning to play, and I see them running with a big 3-1 victory. City -1½.

Other Saturday Picks:

Newcastle United +136
Huddersfield Town +½
West Brom +130
Liverpool -1½
Swansea City +2

Sunday:

How I feel about the matches on Sunday (And that they’ll end before 1:00 NFL kickoffs):giphy4

Arsenal @ Chelsea 8:30 am ET:

Arsenal (+300)
Chelsea (-128)
Draw (+285)

Starting off the early Sunday with a cracker on our hands as the Gunners travel across London to take on Chelsea. Chelsea whooped their lowly opponent in Champions League (Qarabag) 6-0 as Arsenal had to come back from 1-0 down to 3-1 up to take 3 points from Koln, who invaded the Emirates with around 20,000 fans (only 5,000 tickets were allocated to their fans). These games usually involve 3 or more goals so the over seems appetizing but I suck at picking overs so take it at your own risk.

Arsenal haven’t beaten a team who finished top 6 in the league since January 2015 and Chelsea have beaten them the last 5 times in the league at home. It doesn’t look good for Gunners as their shaky play (even with results) will come back to haunt them in this one. Chelsea are too strong of a side to give up 3 points at home and they’ll put Arsenal fans back in the dumps once again. Chelsea 3-0.

Everton @ Manchester United 11:00 am ET:

Everton (+725)
Manchester United (-294, -1½)
Draw (+390)

Wayne Rooney returns to Manchester United for the first time since losing, and there’s no doubt that the club’s all-time leading scorer will have an emotional return. But it will be short-lived, as United have posed one of the bigger threats not just in England but in Europe as a whole. Lukaku will continue his run to be arguably the league’s most elite pure target man and pick up at least a goal. United 2-0.

Major League Soccer Picks:

Atlanta United -1
Chicago Fire -1
Sporting Kansas City -1
San Jose Earthquakes (Pick -155) FEEL THE TREMOR

Parlays:

Premier League:
Liverpool (-425), Manchester City (-300), Tottenham (-450) = EVEN

Rest of Europe:
FC Barcelona (-390), Atletico Madrid (-450), Bayern (-850), Dortmund (-425)= +110

Roma (-550), Napoli (-950), Bayern (-850), Monaco (-550), Dortmund (-425) = +110

I should be getting back on the right foot this weekend, and there are some awesome games on Saturday and especially Sunday so I know I’ll enjoy my weekend.

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Champions League Begins Pt. 2

Tuesday was quite the day in the champions league as Barcelona proved that they’re, well, still Barcelona, PSG displayed to that Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani may be the best attack in the world right now and the rest of the top sides cruised. The record:

Tuesday: 6-1-1, Parlay 1-0

Total: 26-20-3, Parlays 5-5

Here are the results from Today:UCL MATCHWEEK 3

Starting off with the most anticipated match of the day; Barcelona was played a tight 44 minutes from Juventus being outshot by the Italian side, only to balance it out with a larger share of possession. It seemed like it was going into the break at a 0-0 tie, until Messi came in and scored his first ever goal against legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to put Barca up 1-0 before halftime;

giphy1

Then he did this;

giphy2

Messi with his 98th and 99th European club goals in his 116th appearance putting him second all-time (9 behind Ronaldo who has 105 goals in 140 appearances). Barcelona went on to win 3-0 and gain revenge from last year’s quarterfinal loss.

Quick Hits:
Manchester United flexed once again in Champions league play after a year long absence with a 3-0 win over Basel, with goals from Lukaku, Fellaini and Rashford. Bayern Munich went a goal and a man up 11 minutes in at home to Anderlecht and somehow only won 3-0. PSG went to Celtic (very hard place to play) and put up 5 on the Scottish side with Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani all scoring. Chelsea put 6 on Qarabag who’s from Azerbaijan, and somehow the spread was only -2½. Atletico held Roma to a scoreless draw, grabbing a nice away point from a tough game away in Roma (classic Atletico under 2½).

Wednesday 2:45 ET:

Group E:

Winner: Liverpool
Runner-Up: Sevilla

Sevilla @ Liverpool (-156)
Liverpool back under the lights in the Champions League at Anfield is going to be a special site after a 3 year absence and I think they will bounce back from their bad loss to City the other day. Liverpool 2-1.

Spartak Moscow (-109) @ Maribor

Group F:

Winner: Manchester City
Runner-Up: Napoli

Manchester City (-1½) @ Feyenoord
Napoli (+115) @ Shakhtar Donetsk

Group G:

Winner: FC Porto
Runner-Up: Monaco

Monaco (+½) @ RB Leipzig
Besiktas @ FC Porto (-179)

Group H (Group of Death?):

Winner: Real Madrid
Runner-Up: Borrusia Dortmund

Apoel Nicosia @ Real Madrid (-3½)

Borussia Dortmund (Pick +115) @ Tottenham Hotspur
Borussia Dortmund and young American Christian Pulisic will be going into a Wembley to take a very, very precious 3 points from Tottenham. When you’re in the group of death you HAVE to win your home matches or else you’re the team who gets left behind in third place. Dortmund and Tottenham both boast strong, young attacks and both teams are in good form. It will come down to who can score more goals in this one, but sadly I think both teams will leave London with a point in a 2-2 draw. (The spread is Pickem with odds leaning towards Tottenham. If it falls to Dortmund +½ take it, but without Delle Ali I think Tottenham won’t feel as comfortable and I’m going to lean towards Dortmund regardless.)

Parlay: Manchester City (-256), Real Madrid (-3000), FC Porto (-179) = (+120)

It’s going to be a day of tight matches with only 1 real blowout pending (Real Madrid). Hope you can catch the Tottenham v Dortmund match on FS1 at 2:45 as it’s shaping up to be a great one (plus Christian BabyJesus Pulisic will most likely be playing).

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Champions League Begins

giphy

The CHAAAMMPPIIIIOOOONNNSSSSSS!!!!

The Champions League has finally returned this week, starting an almost 8-month journey of 32 teams to see who the best club team in Europe is. The last two years Spanish giants Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo have taken the crown for their record 10th and 11th titles and will look to reclaim the title again for an unprecedented and almost impossible 3-peat.

The groups that stand out are clearly Group H (Real Madrid, Tottenham, Dortmund, Apoel) and Group C (Atletico, Chelsea, Roma, Qarabag). Both groups are considered Groups of Death, with Group H looking like the more treacherous one. Here are some quick predictions for the overall tournament:

Winner: Barcelona (No Neymar, No Problem)

Dark Horse: Napoli (Don’t be shocked if they make the semis or even the final)

First English Team Out: Tottenham (Won’t win games at home in Wembley against Dortmund and Real Madrid)

The groups look like this:

groups a-d.PNGgroups e-h.PNG

I’ll keep this one short and sweet with my picks to win the groups (top 2 advance: group stage lasts until December with each team playing each other twice, Home/Away) that are playing on Tuesday and the respective games:

Tuesday 2:45 ET:

Group A:

Winner: Manchester United

Runner-Up: Benfica

Basel @ Manchester United (-2)

CSKA Moscow @ Benfica (-147)

Group B:

Winner: Paris Saint Germain

Runner-Up: Bayern Munich

Anderlecht @ Bayern Munich (-2)

Paris Saint Germain (-455) @ Celtic

Group C:

Winner: Atletico Madrid

Runner-Up: Chelsea

Qarabag @ Chelsea (-2½)

Atletico Madrid (Pick -115) @ Roma

Atletico Madrid is known for shutting down offenses and getting crucial away points in the Champions League. Roma are a tough test though as the Stadio Olympico in Rome is one of the tougher places to play, but the Roma side if anything has been weakened since last year. Atletico will come in strong and get the points they need to get on the right foot in the group stage. Atletico 1-0.

Group D:

Winner: Barcelona

Runner-Up: Juventus

Juventus @ Barcelona (-164)

Woaaahhh nelly here we go. A rematch of the 2015 final and a very, very tough test for both sides at the start of the campaign. The key to winning the group in the Champions League is to take your home points, and none are more crucial than the 3 points up for grabs for Barcelona. They will get their group stage started off right with a tight, but decisive victory against Juventus. Barca 2-1.

Sporting Lisbon (Pick -105) @ Olympiakos

 

PARLAY: Bayern (-1250), Man U (-600), PSG (-455), Chelsea (-1000) = (-150)

Lock City.

That’s all for Tuesday’s games as I’ll be back before Wednesday’s games to recap and give predictions. Enjoy the matches!

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

What Went Wrong? Why The United States Failed

The United States went into this weekend’s home match against Costa Rica with the path to Russia laid out in front of them. All they needed to do was get 6 points to get in, and at the least get 4, to almost guarantee a spot in the World Cup. Then, it all went wrong.

Soccer is a match that primes itself on momentum; an intangible source of strength a team can gain to pull off almost any upset in the sport. The United States had momentum in spades going into the match against Costa Rica, going unbeaten in all 14 matches in the year of 2017 and winning the Gold Cup. But those 14 matches don’t matter in World Cup Qualifying, as anything can happen against anyone in those 90 minutes. And in New York against Costa Rica, it all went wrong for the United States and it all went right for Los Ticos.

Everyone knew Costa Rica’s initial gameplan; sit back for the first 20 minutes and keep the score 0-0. For those who don’t know soccer well, this is the best thing you can do when you feel you are the underdog; don’t let the team get off to a good start. They could not have executed that gameplan any better; keeping the United States to a goose egg through the first 20 minutes. They held a solid backline and they weren’t letting Pulisic or any playmaker get the ball in dangerous areas (except once). They were going to let the United States play with it all day, knowing that all they needed was one single chance to break through and deliver a crushing blow to the Americans.

The first 20 minutes weren’t all bad from the Americans, as they enjoyed most of the possession and were beginning to pose a threat to Costa Rica. It was clear the Yanks were trying to get the ball to Pulisic as much as they could, and although they rarely forced it to him, they created a style that was too one-dimensional. Costa Rica pressured him every time he got the ball to the point where he wasn’t given a foot of space when the ball was at his feet. They were extremely physical every time the ball was received, making Pulisic (only 18 years old) very frustrated. It was all working for Costa Rica, and it paid off in the 30th minute.

After absorbing pressure for 30 minutes, Costa Rica took advantage of one of the worst defensive moments I can maybe ever remember from the Americans. After winning a header in the middle of the pitch, Costa Rica played a through ball into the biggest piece of land in the United States behind the Grand Canyon, as Tim Ream and Geoff Cameron were about 20 yards apart. Marcos Ureña took the ball into the box, forced Tim Howard to overcompensate his front post and slotted a shot home to put Costa Rica up 1-0. Since maybe 5th grade every Center Back is taught to stay compact in the middle when the other team has the ball, especially on the counter attack. Instead, this was Cameron and Ream:

HORRIBLE DEFENDING.PNG

Yeah, big no-no. The United States went into halftime down 1-0 and it didn’t get better from there. Costa Rica were happy to sit back AGAIN, and let the pressure come to them forcing the United States to create. They were pressuring Pulisic and Nagbe, wasting time and making the Americans frustrated. They went on to score a winner off of another defensive howler from Geoff Cameron as he gave the ball away with an attempted pass from the back. The United States were exposed, and even if our best defender was out injured (Brooks) it was no excuse for the defensive breakdowns that occured. A horrible showing for the Americans as they dropped all 3 points in their home match in qualifying, which can be the sole reason you don’t make a World Cup.

It was a very similar story from the Americans in Honduras on Tuesday night. But this time literally nothing was set in place to go the Americans way. The game was played at 3:30 local time to take advantage of the 92-degree heat (felt like 110 at kickoff), the President of Honduras called for a national holiday so people could get to the game, the field might as well have been a field from a middle school, and the vuvuzelas were wailing at a bajillion decibels. Case in point; it is not easy going to a Central American country to get a win, period.

I’ll keep this one shorter; we played like shit. Very similar start to the game, as the United States held most of the possesssion early for the first 20 minutes as well as most of the solid chances. But something started to become glaringly clear; we were getting beat at the wing with Honduras’ pace. Even with the grass playing the ball slow, they were beating us down the wing the whole time. They almost never tried breaking us down throught the middle for this exact reason. They played Pulisic the same way that Costa Rica did; physical and with pressure. And what do ya know they scored off of a counter attack in the 27th minute off of another horrible defensive play; this time from Omar Gonzalez.

Another through ball played through our backline, but this time Omar Gonzalez was right on the ball and somehow let it roll by him. By the time he could make a play on the ball, Quioto the Honduran winger, had possession in the box after a failed Gonzalez tackle.

fuck you omar.PNG

 

See that white thing above our defender’s foot? Yeah, that’s the ball. Why Omar Gonzalez didn’t make a play on the ball in that moment baffles me. Every American fan promptly after that goal, “Yup, here we go again!” At this moment, it looked as if America’s road to Russia looked improbable, as tempers rose and we weren’t getting through the Honduran back line for the next 50 minutes. Bruce Arena then switched to 3 at the back (which can turn into 5 if needed) and put more numbers in the midfield to try to string more passes together and alleviate the pressure on the wingers (an adjustment he didn’t make against Costa Rica). It began to work, but Honduras was wasting every second available knowing how crucial 3 points would be. Then off of a free kick in the 85th minute which created a scrum in the box, the ball fell to Bobby Wood (thank god it was a striker) and he just kicked it somehow into the net to give the United States the point it desperately needed. Was it ugly? Absolutely. Does any American give a shit? Absolutely not. We got the point that keeps us alive and still somewhat in the drivers seat to get at least the 4th place playoff spot.

Here is how we stood (top) before the game vs Costa Rica, and here is how we stand (bottom) now after Honduras.

HEX

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

hex 2.PNG

The schedule to close it out in early October goes as follows:

The first set of games on October 6th have Panama @ United States and Honduras @ Costa Rica. If the United States get 3 points and Costa Rica get 3 points, the United States will be in 3rd place with a 2 point advantage on Panama and a 3 point advantage to Honduras. Then on the 10th, it’s the United States @ Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica @ Panama, and Mexico @ Honduras. BUT Honduras has a Goal Differential (tiebreaker after Head to Head) of -7, which is 8 less than the United States. Point being; if we can get 3 points, we don’t get blown out by Trinidad and Tobago the week after and Honduras only gets MAX 1 point from the games against Costa Rica and Mexico, we are guaranteed a spot in the playoff. Of course if we beat Panama and they only get a point at home to Costa Rica we would get the 3rd place spot and the automatic bid to Russia assuming at least 1 point in Trinidad.

Quick update on my record from Qualifying:

Went 1-1 in parlays and 2-2-1 in total predictions bringing my total to:

20-19-2 predictions

4-5 parlays

I’m hoping to post a quick preview for the premier league action before the weekend, but can’t guarantee anything.

May God bless us all, and may God Bless America.

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

 

Matchweek 3 Recap and World Cup Qualifying Preview

Night and day for your boy. Whiffed on all three of my parlays after Tottenham blew ANOTHER game at home, this time to lowly Burnley and Real Madrid somehow drew Valencia at home. Two results nobody really would’ve seen coming but that’s the beauty of the beautiful game. Went 5-6-1 for the predictions in the Premier League and MLS. Let’s get into the results from this weekend.

Matchweek 3 results

Manchester City traveled to Bournemouth and went down within 13 minutes, before pulling one back before the halftime break to tie it 1-1. The tie lasted all the way until Raheem Sterling scored a winner at the death in the 97th minute, getting a red card with it after a wild mosh pit celebration with the traveling City fans. The scrum included what seemed to be a fight between Aguero and a steward as City fans stormed the corner flag area.

Newcastle finally got their 3 points in a win at home to West Ham who looked very poor. Manchester United cruised easily against Leicester outshooting them 22-11 with 70% possession. Chelsea also handled Everton, as they look much better than their collapse on opening weekend.

Sunday came along and produced two wild games. Tottenham was holding a lead from the 49th minute and looked as if they were going to cruise to only their second ever win at home in their new temporary stadium, Wembley. But Tottenham will be Tottenham, (so Spursy), and they gave up an equalizer in the 92nd to newly acquired Burnley striker Chris Wood.

Arsenal traveled to Liverpool for what was the return of Alexis Sanchez, arguably one of the best players in the league. He was held out with injury and has had transfer rumors circulating around him all summer, so his return had Gunner fans excited. Well, Arsenal came out flat letting in a goal in the 17th and it fell apart from there. They suffered a 4-0 defeat without even registering a shot on target. Arsenal is slowly falling apart and it looks like Sanchez may be out the door, possibly to Man City. A picture tells a thousand words:

278734

In the MLS; the Chicago Fire were on the wrong side of one of the upsets of the year losing 2-1 to brand new team Minnesota United. Real Salt Lake manhandled rivals Colorado at home 4-1, and Seattle tied arch-rivals Portland 1-1 putting my MLS record this weekend to 1-2.

Parlays went 0-3 and I went 5-6-1 putting my total record to 18-17-1 in predictions and 3-4 in parlays. Not the way I wanted to go into the International Break, but we shall rebound. Speaking of the International Break………

World Cup Qualifying:

The greatest sporting event is less than a year away as Qualifying begins to wrap up to see which 32 teams will have the privilege to play in the World Cup in Russia.

Concacaf:

For all you noobs, Concacaf is the federation which includes Central and North America who compete to qualify for the World Cup. The United States started off in a frenzy losing their first two games in Qualifying and putting them in danger to not make the World Cup.

As a result, they fired coach Jurgen Klinsmann and brought in U.S. Coaching legend Bruce Arena. Since the change, the U.S. hasn’t lost a game in the year 2017. The run includes a Gold Cup championship as well as getting 2 wins at home and 2 crucial ties in Qualifying in hostile environments including Mexico, where the U.S. have only tied them once before in Qualifying. Here is where we stand in the final stage of Qualifying called the ‘Hexagonal’ (top 3 automatically qualify with the 4th team playing an Asian team in a playoff):

 

HEX.PNG

Costa Rica @ United States, Friday 7:00 pm ESPN

Costa Rica (+350)

United States (-141)

Draw (+240)

The United States lost away to Costa Rica 4-0 in a disastrous game, which eventually got Klinsmann fired. Costa Rica sits 3 points above the United States and with a win we would tie them, and if we win by 2 goals we surpass them on goal differential. But Costa Rica is not a squad to overlook, even with the injuries they have. Their goalie is the starting goalie for Real Madrid (ya those guys) and they have three players who play in the Champions League. They’ve only let up 4 goals in 6 games during this stage in qualifying, which is an amazing record. With that being said, the United States has scored the most goals in this stage, and Costa Rica hasn’t won in the Hex in their last 3 matches. They are also the better top to bottom team, not relying on a group of a few stars to carry the team. The U.S. should come out in New York looking for revenge against Costa Rica and will score an early goal from the one and only Pulisic. They’ll hold their lead and get the 3 points needed to almost secure a trip to Russia next summer. United States 1-0.

giphy7

Panama sits 1 point behind us, but they travel to the fortress that is Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, which sits 7,200 ft. above sea level (2,000 ft. higher than Denver), and packs 87,000 wild Mexican fans. This should bode very well if we get 3 points in New York, putting us tied (or above) Costa Rica and 4 points clear of Panama which could almost guarantee a trip to Russia next summer.

Other Qualifying Games:

Thursday:

Netherlands @ France (-179)

Colombia (-147) @ Venezuela

Ecuador @ Brazil ( -1½ )

Friday:

Germany ( -1 ) @ Czech Republic

Parlay:

Brazil (-400), Mexico (-345), Hungary (-303) = (-110)

Ghana (-312), Germany (-213), Chile (-233) = (+175)

Mix and match all you want, as other picks you could throw in are Romania (-233) and Greece (-286).

That’s all for this recap and Qualifying Preview. I hope everyone can catch the U.S. in action on Saturday and I hope you enjoy your Labor Day Weekend. I should be back before the next U.S. Qualifying game on Tuesday and maybe even some bonus European Qualifying picks for this weekend. Until then;

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

 

Matchweek 3 Preview

Another awesome weekend in the Premier League kicks off on Saturday morning with Manchester City leading the charge bright and early at Bournemouth. I’ll recap the rest of the games and then give my best picks and parlays, so let’s rip it:

Premier League:

Saturday:

Manchester City @ Bournemouth 7:30 am ET:

Manchester City (-303)

Bournemouth (+700)

Draw (+420)

City come in off of a draw against a very resilient Everton side who have shown a lot of promise. Bournemouth come off of an embarrassing 2-0 defeat at home to Watford, only registering 2 shots on target. They have yet to score a goal in the league this year and that does not bode well when facing an opponent in City who tends to get goals on command. One team will rebound and the other will not. City 2-0.

Leicester City @ Manchester United 12:30 pm ET:

Leicester City (+825)

Manchester United (-300)

Draw (+370)

The primetime Saturday match on NBC will feature two goal-scoring teams facing off in Manchester. United are absolutely rolling, scoring 4 goals in each of their two matches as well as keeping two clean sheets. Leicester have come out to play twice this season, only tallying 3 points to show for it. United have only ever lost 1 game at home to Leicester so expect the Red Devils to come out in this one on top. United 3-1 (Over 2.5 looks tasty).

Other Saturday Picks:

10:00 am ET Swansea City @ Crystal Palace (-111)

10:00 am ET Southampton @ Huddersfield Town (+½)

10:00 am ET West Ham @ Newcastle United (+131)

Sunday:

Everton @ Chelsea 8:30am ET:

Everton (+700)

Chelsea (-245)

Draw (+340)

Everton are traveling away to yet another Premier League powerhouse. They got the result the first time around, but Antonio Conte’s Chelsea will be well-prepared for this match at home. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 22 home Premier League matches against Everton… a jarring statistic. It will and should be close as Everton usually don’t let games get away from them, but the cream will rise to the top. Chelsea 2-1.

Arsenal @ Liverpool 11:00 am ET:

Wooaahhh nelly. This is by far the game of the weekend as two Top-6 clubs go after it at Anfield in Liverpool. Most people tend to take the home team in these Top-6 matchups but here are reasons not to:

Liverpool are coming off of a midweek Champions League Qualifier where they knocked off Hoffenheim to qualify for the coveted tournament. They are going to be tired especially if they play their starters, which I would assume they will. If they don’t, that’s another reason not to take them.

Arsenal are coming off of a horrible loss at Stoke last Sunday but they seem to be returning arguably the best player in the league in Alexis Sanchez, who they’ve badly missed. They are going to bounce back and I’m going to go with a tie, but take Arsenal (+½).

Other Sunday Picks:

Stoke City @ West Bromwich Albion (Pick -155)

Burnley @ Tottenham (-1½)

Parlays (3-1):

Last week things got back to normal and I conquered all three of my parlays.

giphy6

AC Milan (-500), FC Barcelona (-350), Real Madrid (-650), PSG (-1200) = (-110)

Weak Link: FC Barcelona as they travel to Alaves… which usually isn’t a problem but they’re short Suarez and Messi will be alone up top.

Tottenham (-425), Man City (-350), AC Milan (-500) = (-110)

Another strong parlay taking all home teams with easily winnable games. I tend to hate including the same team twice in two different plays, but Milan have only lost 1 out their last 14 against Cagliari, winning 9 of those matches. They also have a much stronger side this season.

Premier League Only Parlay:

If you’re only looking to get down with the Premier League because it’s all you’d probably watch, that’s cool too. Disclaimer: I’m probably least confident about this one but who the hell cares:

Manchester United (-300), Tottenham (-425), Chelsea (-245) = (-130)

Bonus MLS Games:

Chicago Fire -1½

Real Salt Lake (-135)

Seattle Sounders (-150)

That’s all for this weekend’s preview. I’ll be posting a midweek blog on the Champions League groups and my predictions for those as well as my usual Recap/Preview blog.

But until then,

Stay Kickin’ It.

Matchweek 2 Recap

The Premier League headed into week 2 with some delicious games and some surprising results. But most importantly we had several great games to watch within the league, as well as around Europe including this…..

Christian Pulisic Baby Jesus Watch:

In the absence of Ousmane Dembele and Marco Reus (two world superstars) Christian Pulisic stepped in and played one of the games of his career to lead Dortmund to a 3-0 victory against Wolfsburg.

He opened up the scoring to make it 1-0 with this freaking piece of American beauty:

For people who don’t know who this man is (take a lap if you don’t), he’s the 18-year old Hershey, PA native wonderkid who is starring on one of the best teams in the world. He’s not just turning heads in the United States, he’s turning heads around the world and is now regarded as one of the top young players, if not the top 18-year old in the world. This goal made him the youngest player in the German league to score 6 goals in their career.

He didn’t stop there. In the second half he produced one of the best passes and/or plays of the entire weekend:

His efforts earned him the honor of Player of the Week in the Bundesliga. This kid is for real and is changing the stigma of American soccer players abroad.

Premier League:

matchweek 2 recap.PNG

Games of Note:

Manchester United started the week off right Saturday morning when they opened a can of whoop-ass on Swansea, winning by a comfortable scoreline of 4-0. That’s two games, two 4-0 victories for the Red Devils.

Liverpool were held scoreless for 71 minutes at home to Crystal Palace until Sadio Mane scored a long-awaited goal at Anfield to get the Reds a 1-0 victory.

Yikes alert: Arsenal after taking 77% possession and outshooting the opponent 18-11 still lost away at Stoke. It was very obvious how much the Gunners need Alexis Sanchez, and the longer he stays out with a ‘back injury’ (transfer rumors) the more trouble Arsenal will face especially in tough road games.

Huddersfield is now tied on top of the table with Manchester United, which are words nobody expected to say in the 21st century. But two good results and two clean sheets have them atop the table with the Premier League giants. They fought off fellow newly-promoted side Newcastle for a 1-0 victory.

The game of the weekend included Chelsea and Tottenham in the first ever Premier League game at Wembley Stadium. Tottenham coming in with a curse of only 1 win in 9 matches at the iconic London stadium, knew how much a result would mean to the supporters and the club. But after dominating the opening 20 minutes, Marcos Alonso of Chelsea whipped in one of the goals of the season already off of a free kick to put the visitors up 1-0. Chelsea seemed confident in getting a result as they sat back and parked the bus, but let in a crushing own goal in the 82nd. Until the hero from earlier, Marcos Alonso, charged forward after a defensive miscue from Spurs and stuck one near post under Hugo Lloris to give Chelsea the 2-1 win late.

Manchester City went down 1-0 early on Monday to a familiar foe in Wayne Rooney, as he put Everton up in the first half. To make matters worse, Kyle Walker received two yellows (second one was questionable) in the span of 2 minutes and was sent off, leaving City with close to no chance. City though fought back to snag a goal in the 82nd with a man down. Everton then also received a red card (very questionable call again) which gave City a lifeline, but they couldn’t capitalize and the scoreline ended at 1-1 (told you there was value on the draw at +450).

Parlays:

W’s:

  1. Man U (England) and Liverpool (England) = (-130)
  2. Monaco (France), Juventus (Italy), Napoli (Italy) = (+110)
  3. PSG (France), Man U (England), FC Barcelona (Spain), Juventus (Italy) = (-110)

L’s:

NONE

That brings my record to 13-11 total and 3-1 in parlays. Keep an eye out for my next preview blog before the weekend, but until then;

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Matchweek 2 Preview

The world of Football starts to take shape this weekend as the Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga and the Italian Serie A all start their seasons. The Premier League continues its season going into the second week, as teams start to gain traction (not in Chelsea’s case), with some really really great matchups.

Premier League:

Saturday

Brighton & Hove Albion @ Leicester City 10:00 am ET:

Brighton & Hove Albion (+340)

Leicester City (-133)

Draw (+265)

Leicester City come off of an amazing away performance at Arsenal, only to blow two different leads to the Gunners in a thrilling 4-3 loss. Brighton is coming off a spanking from Manchester City, but played well holding off one of the best attacks in Europe scoreless for 70 minutes. But Brighton is a newly promoted team, and newly promoted teams do not do well away from home. To add to that, Leicester hasn’t lost in 12 straight home games against newly promoted teams. The more confident and experienced side will see this one through as Leicester will cruise to a 2-0 victory. 

West Ham @ Southampton 10:00 am ET:

West Ham (+370)

Southampton (-139)

Draw (+265)

West Ham is coming off of an absolute beatdown from Manchester United, and again have to hit the road against a healthy Southampton side. To add to that, West Ham will be missing four key starters including two of their strikers. Home + Healthy = Win. Southampton 1-0.

Other Saturday Picks:

7:30 am ET Manchester United (-303) @ Swansea City:

10:00 am ET Burnley (Pick -130) @ West Brom

10:00 am ET Crystal Palace @ Liverpool (-270)

10:00 am ET Watford @ Bournemouth (-110)

12:30 am ET Arsenal (-125) @ Stoke City (LOVE LOVE LOVE ARSENAL HERE… VALUE!)

Sunday

Newcastle United @ Huddersfield Town 8:30 am ET:

Newcastle United (+210 / Pick +120)

Huddersfield Town (+140 / Pick -150)

Draw (+220)

Yikes. Newcastle’s return to the premier league did not go as planned in an abysmal 2-0 loss (called it nbd) to Tottenham at home. They now travel to fellow-newbies Huddersfield Town who knocked off Crystal Palace on the road, 3-0. Huddersfield town looked more legit than any other newly promoted side, and now have their first ever home Premier League game. I do see Newcastle coming back strong though, being an overall better side who just had a worse game against a league powerhouse last weekend. This is where you take the ‘Pick’, where you will push with a draw. Make sure you take Huddersfield Pick, as the only way you can lose is if Newcastle takes all 3 points. Don’t see that happening. Huddersfield Pick (-150).

Chelsea @ Tottenham 11:00 am ET:

Chelsea (+265)

Tottenham (EVEN)

Draw (+245)

giphy3

This is the BIG one this upcoming weekend. Chelsea coming off of an embarrassing start to the season, while Tottenham is flying high with the two-time reigning Golden Boot winner not even getting on the score sheet yet. As Tottenham’s famed stadium White Hart Lane was knocked down a day after their last home game last season, they will now be playing in Wembley Stadium. Chelsea will dominate the first 10 minutes as it will take Tottenham some time to adjust to their new ground, but Harry Kane will put the hosts up before the break. Another goal from Spurs will make it 2-0, only for Chelsea to grab one back before the final whistle blows. Tottenham 2-1.

Monday

Everton @ Manchester City 3:00 pm ET

Everton (+950)

Manchester City (-355)

Draw (+450)

Everton getting NO respect from Vegas. With that being said, Man City is coming back to the Etihad for the first time this season, I don’t see them having much trouble. Though be careful with this one, as Man City haven’t beaten Everton in the league in 2 years, but are unbeaten in their last 6 home matches against them. Wait, what?!? This means there has been a lot of draws between these two sides when City is home. So be careful, with the Draw (+450) looking a tad interesting. BUT Man City seems to be a whole new animal this year with much more attacking power, and they only lost one game last year at home. City 2-0.

PARLAYS:

This is where daddy brings home the bacon. Let’s grip it and rip it:

  1. Man U (England) and Liverpool (England) = (-130)
  2. Monaco (France), Juventus (Italy), Napoli (Italy) = (+110)
  3. PSG (France), Man U (England), FC Barcelona (Spain), Juventus (Italy) = (-110)

Mix and match those matchups to develop what you like, but I think those three are pretty well constructed. Some notes and disclaimers from those parlay games:

PSG come home for the first time in the Neymar era and should roll with ease (-1400). Barca comes off of an embarrassment to Real Madrid in the SuperCopa and lose Luis Suarez to injury. But they come home and they have this guy named Lionel Messi. Idk, supposedly he’s pretty good (-700). Juventus also comes home for their first Serie A game as reigning champions of the Italian league against Cagliari. Cagliari has never beaten Juve and over the last two games have been outscored 6-0 (-650).

Napoli may be one of the Achilles heels here on this list, as they are away to Verona after coming off of a midweek Champions League qualifier. Whether they’ll be tired or more comfortable than Verona we will have to see (-255). Monaco is also in a very similar boat, traveling to a somewhat weakened side in Metz on Friday (if you miss that game, add Liverpool). With that being said, they have outscored Metz 12-0 over the last two meetings (insane I know). But they have left out their best player Kylian Mbappe of the team due to the transfer rumors surrounding him (-320).

Good luck to everyone and I hope you can catch the Premier League games on NBC and NBCSN, La Liga on BeIN Sports, and the Bundesliga on FoxSports1.

As always,

Stay Kickin It. Peace.

giphy4

Matchweek 1 Recap

This weekend had everything; from red cards, to shocking results and upsets, to El Clasico, Neymar’s debut and much much more. Let’s dive into how my predictions fared and a recap on the games from the weekend.

Premier League:

matchweek 1 results.PNG

Games of Note:

Chelsea went down to 10 men just 14 minutes in and fell behind 3-0 at halftime. They fought back to make it 3-2 but a second red card held them back from getting a result. Their depth got exposed as they couldn’t properly replace Gary Cahill (CB) and subsequentially let in 3 goals before halftime. (See my preview blog about their depth issues).

Liverpool squandered a 3-2 lead in the last second of their game off of a corner kick, giving the hosts Watford a much-needed home point. New season, same Liverpool!

Huddersfield got off to a FLYING start with a 3-0 victory away at Crystal Palace, proving they’re ready to cause some trouble this season (their first Premier League season ever).

Spurs won by a commanding 2-0 scoreline after a red card from Newcastle in the 48th minute. Two-time reigning Young Player of the Year Dele Ali was back on the score sheet guiding them to the 3 points (Tottenham have NEVER lost when he scores).

Finally, Man United and Man City both had very convincing wins to start off their campaign. City held close to 80% possession for their entire game at Brighton with Aguero scoring his 6th goal in 7 matches to start the season. United utterly dominated West Ham, with Lukaku scoring 2 goals in his debut. Matic, Lukaku, Mata and Pogba played outstanding matches, proving why this team is a whole different animal than last year’s squad.

I reviewed Arsenal’s thriller on Friday before the weekend, but since you probably didn’t read it: Arsenal won 4-3. Gunners took a 1-0 lead in the 1st (Lacazette) until Leicester tied it in the 4th minute (Okazaki). Leceister then went up 2-1 (Vardy) only for Arsenal to tie it 2-2 (Welbeck) before the break. Leicester came out in the 2nd half with a goal to make it 3-2 (Vardy) but blew the lead in a wild finish with goals from Arsenal in the 83rd (Ramsey) and the 85th minute (Giroud), giving Arsenal three points to start the season. Already up for match of the season.

My Record this week:

W’s:

  1. Arsenal
  2. Everton
  3. Man City
  4. Spurs (Tottenham)
  5. Man U
  6. Houston Dynamo (MLS)
  7. New York Red Bulls (MLS)
  8. Toronto FC (MLS)

L’s:

  1. Liverpool
  2. Bournemouth
  3. Southampton
  4. Crystal Palace
  5. Chelsea
  6. FC Dallas (MLS)

Parlay:

  1. Parlay (Chelsea, Man City, Man U) (LOSS)

8-6, 0-1 parlay in the first week wasn’t what I was looking for, but I’m above .500 nonetheless. If Chelsea didn’t get any red cards that record could easily be 9-5, 1-0. Damn you, Chelsea. If you’re interested in seeing the highlights/goals from the weekend:

http://www.nbcsports.com/video/premier-league-matchday-1-weekend-round

Other Games:

El Clasico went from the most boring first half in Clasico history to one of the more memorable second half’s in recent memory. Here is how the Spanish Super Cup went down:

In the 50th minute, Gerard Pique scored an own goal to get Madrid up 1-0. In the 77th Messi responded with a PK to even the scoreline at 1-1. Ronaldo then put the visitors up 2-1 in the 80th after coming on as a sub, with an absolute freaking beauty. He then takes his shirt off receiving a yellow, only to receive another yellow 1 minute later for diving. 1+1=2, and 2 equals a red card. (Ronaldo received a 5 game suspension on Monday for the red card as well as for shoving the referee). With a man down, Madrid counters and score another beautiful strike by Asensio to give them a 3-1 aggregate lead going back home to Madrid (without Ronaldo) for the second leg.

Lastly, Neymar had his debut in the French League 1 where he provided PSG with a goal and an assist to lead them to a dominant 3-0 victory at Guingamp. Get used to seeing that, as there is no doubt in my mind he will run through that league like Khalessi and Drogon did against the Lannisters.

I’ll be posting a blog before the weekend previewing next weekend’s games.

Stay kickin’ it. Peace

Matchweek 1

giphy

It’s been a long (not really) 83 days since last year’s premier league season ended, but now it’s time to get back to business. The first weekend is always interesting to see which teams are in shape, in form, and ready to jump to the top of the table early with 3 points under the belt.

Let’s get right into the picks for the weekend.

SATURDAY

Burnley @ Chelsea 10:00 am ET:

Burnley (+1100)

Chelsea (-417) (-2)

Draw (+440)

The champions kick off their ’17/18 campaign with history in their favor. Only once have the returning champions lost in Matchweek 1 on the season of their title defense. Chelsea should have Stamford Bridge rocking on Saturday and they should cruise to a very commanding 3-0 victory against a weakened Burnley side who stands little to no chance.

Swansea City @ Southampton 10:00 am ET:

Swansea City (+460)

Southampton (-164) (-½)

Draw (+270)

Compared to Chelsea, history is not on the side of Southampton, as they have never won a home opening day match in the Premier League. With that being said, the Swans (a.k.a. Big Cat’s Swans) haven’t won at Southampton’s home ground of Saint Mary’s Stadium in over 2 and a half years, losing 3 and drawing 1. I think Southampton will edge one out here with a late winner to make it 2-1.

Manchester City @ Brighton & Hove Albion 10:00 am ET:

Man City (-294) (-1½)

BHA (+750)

Draw (+390)

(O/U 2 ½, 3)

Manchester City might as well wear black to this one, as they’ll be burying Brighton on Matchweek 1 this season. City have won their last 6 opening fixtures, the best current run in the league. In those 6 games, Sergio Aguero has scored 5 goals and with the added firepower to the City front line, Brighton will be lucky if they can hold it to 2 or even 3 goals. But I think this one gets out of hand, with the OVER seeming like the right play in this one. 4-0 to City.

Other Saturday Picks:

7:30 am ET Liverpool (-164) @ Watford

10:00 am ET Huddersfield Town @ Crystal Palace (-124)

10:00 am ET Stoke City @ Everton (-143)

10:00 am ET Bournemouth @ West Brom: Bournemouth +1/2

SUNDAY:

Tottenham @ Newcastle United 8:30 am ET:

Tottenham (-139)

Newcastle United (+428)

Draw (+298)

Spurs start their campaign traveling to one of the new kids on the block; Newcastle. But don’t be fooled as Newcastle have been one of the Premier League’s most historic clubs only witnessing a downturn in the last year or two. After spending one season down below, they’re back and have plans to stay. They also have an American named Deandre Yedlin in their starting lineup so if you’re looking for someone to root for, he’s your guy. Sadly they have to face Tottenham who’s young stars have transformed their club from the laughing stock in London, to arguably the most talented team over the last two years combined. Spurs will have trouble from the start in what may be one of the better home field advantages in the league, but should find their footing once Harry Kane finds the back of the net. Spurs win 2-0,

*Note: there have been 14 goals scored in the last 3 premier league matches between these two teams at St. James’ Park, but with two very different sides compared to now. OVER could be in play, but tread lightly on the possible treacherous 2-0 scoreline*

West Ham United @ Manchester United 11:00 am ET:

West Ham United (+1047)

Manchester United (-319)

Draw (+487)

Man U begins their season at home this year, against what can sometimes be a deadly West Ham side. But there are two glaring facts here that will make you side with United. Jose Mourinho has NEVER LOST A HOME PREMIER LEAGUE GAME ON A SUNDAY (86W-26D). That is Bill Belichick-esque numbers. To add to that, Man U are unbeaten in their last 9 home matches against the Hammers, winning 7 and drawing 2. There is nothing else needed to be said about that. In classic Mourinho fashion, they will dominate the game and West Ham will not have a chance, but United will still win 1-0. That is what we call a ‘Mourinho Masterclass’ in the biz.

If you are wondering where my Friday Arsenal v. Leicester pick is, it is in my previous blog in the 2017/2018 Preview. (Arsenal to win 3-1)

UPDATE: *Arsenal won 4-3. Gunners took a 1-0 lead in the 1st (Lacazette) until Leicester tied it in the 4th minute (Okazaki). Leceister then went up 2-1 (Vardy) only for Arsenal to tie it 2-2 (Welbeck) before the break. Leicester came out in the 2nd half with a goal to make it 3-2 (Vardy) but blew the lead in a wild finish with goals from Arsenal in the 83rd (Ramsey) and the 85th minute (Giroud), giving Arsenal three points to start the season. What a match.

Parlay of the Week:

Saturday/Sunday:

Man City (-294), Chelsea (-417), Man U (-319) = +120 (10 to win 12)

If you know anything about me, I LOVE parlaying games with results that should happen. The combination of these three games are three close to sure-fire wins and are worth the close to even odds. Never get googly-eyed by high odds and big payouts; take the probable-to-guaranteed wins and combine them into a sure-fire parlay. (Combining anything above -250 to -300 all the way to including games that are -1000 or above).

NOOB TIP: if you win your first two games on Saturday (Man City and Chelsea) then you can hedge with the spread of the Man U’s opponent West Ham on Sunday, which will most likely be +1½. That way you guarantee either splitting even or coming out with winnings regardless (Man U wins 1-0 then you win your moneyline AND your spread bet). Obviously, if you are experienced then you should know this well-known tactic which can be used across all sports.

MLS:

Houston Dynamo (-120)

New York Red Bulls (-175)

FC Dallas (-200)

Toronto FC (-149)

 

Most of the other leagues around the world start in the next coming weeks, so I’ll be sure to include some picks from the marquee matchups around Europe’s top 5 leagues when they present themselves.

I’ll also have a weekly Christian Pulisic Baby Jesus Watch segment.

giphy1

But until then…

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.