Matchweek 1

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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.

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But until then…

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Premier League 2017/2018 Preview

LAST SEASON

The 2016/2017 Premier League season ended with Chelsea as champions, after rebounding from an abysmal 2015/2016 campaign where they finished in 10th place. Leicester City, the champions of that ’15/16 season (yep 5,000-1 odds), ended up finishing in 12th last season. This past year things began to even out and we began to see some normality in the league once again. In case you forgot the other 18 teams and where they finished this last season here is the table:

premier league table

Before we hop into this seasons preview, let’s quickly go over some notes from last year.

Chelsea ran away with the title about a month before the season ended winning 30 games, making them the first team to ever do so. They also finished with 90 or more points which hasn’t happened since Manchester United in ’08/09. Tottenham finished in 2nd for the second year in a row (they own the most total points over the last two seasons), a solid 7 points behind champions Chelsea. They also boasted the best goal differential ever without winning the title (+60) 8 better than champions Chelsea, and 19 over next best total by Manchester City. Manchester City, with then-new coach Pep Guardiola, finished in 3rd but only 3 points above the Champions League qualification cutoff. The top 4 rounded out with Liverpool finishing over Arsenal on the last day of the season, ruining Arsenal’s stunning record of 20 straight seasons finishing in Champions League qualification (top 4).

And in the race to lose $100 million, (relegation), we lost our dear friends Hull City, Middlesborough, and Sunderland who were relegated to the Championship (lower division for you soccer noobs). And in return, we receive Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United, and Brighton Hove Albion who were promoted.

Now that we’re done with last season’s review, let’s dive into what I think will happen this time around.

TOP 5

1. Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s team muscled up over the transfer window with additions in key areas including goalkeeper, defense, but most importantly on the wing with the addition of Bernardo Silva from Monaco. An attack boasting Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, and Gabriel Jesus will be making Premier League defenses shaking in their boots along with veterans of the league David Silva and Yaya Toure bolstering the midfield. Pep and the City management have cut the dead weight that was slowing them down last season by letting go of a whopping 9 players and adding 6 first team players that will fit in perfectly with Pep’s system. After their 3rd place finish last season with a new manager and a completely new style of play, expect City to feel completely comfortable coming out this season.

2. Manchester United

After having 15 draws out of 38 games last season leading them to a 6th place finish, Man U knows they have to do better to get 3 points against teams outside of the Power 6. Luckily they are entering Jose Mourinho’s second season where he historically manages his teams to titles. Although they lost their leader and all-time top scorer in Wayne Rooney as well as soccer icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they’ve added Romelu Lukaku to bolster their attack and Nemanja Matic to aid in their midfield troubles. The odds-on favorite at many books around England; Manchester United will look to finish atop their cross-town rivals Manchester City in what will shape up to be a title race for the ages.

*Last time that happened arguably the greatest moment in sports history occurred where City scored 2 goals in 3 minutes to win their first title in over 40 years to finish atop United*:

To round out the top 5:

3. Tottenham

4. Liverpool

5. Arsenal

You may be wondering why I did not include former champions Chelsea. Heres why:

Last time they won the league, they fell to 10th place and many believe that their success in the league this past season was attributed to their lack of participation in European competition. This year their lack of depth will get exposed as they will have to focus on Champions league play over the Premier League and they will be struggling come January/February to manage injuries and a large load of matches.

Who Will Get Relegated:

18. Watford

19. Burnley

20. Huddersfield Town

Sorry guys 😦

Golden Boot: Harry Kane/Sergio Aguero

Yes, I think they’ll tie… (actually just couldn’t decide)

Most Assists: Kevin De Bruyne

Player of the Season: Kevin De Bruyne

That’s all I have until I post my weekend blog which will include picks and my parlay(s) of the week. Season starts Friday and since my blog will go up after the first game…. here’s game #1:

 

Friday 2:45 pm ET Leicester City @ Arsenal

Leicester City (+480)

Arsenal (-196)

Draw (+330)

Arsenal tends to be a juggernaut at home going 14-3-2 (W-D-L) last season and with the addition of Lacazette who is a perennial goal scorer and pure finisher, against a shaky away side in Leicester City who only won 2 games away from home last season out of 19 (2-4-13). I expect Arsenal to win by a comfortable 3-1 scoreline.

Stay kickin’ it. Peace.

Can I Kick It?

Can I Kick It? Yes. Yes you can

Yes. Yes you can.

Can I Kick It is a blog covering soccer around the world (but mainly the Premier League and MLS), with game previews and picks along with some bonus betting advice (fade me, you won’t).

My name is Nico Pelaez, and I have a soccer problem.

Now if any of you know me, you know I like to talk about soccer… a lot. For years I have pestered my friends and family (and many others), by talking about soccer and trying very hard to get them to appreciate the sport. So I took my talents to the Internet where I can still annoy you, just only at your own peril.

As the game is growing in the United States, I started to realize more and more people paying attention. Whether it be a couple of snazzy jerseys being worn around college campuses and music concerts, bars in the States being packed at 10am for an early Premier League tilt, Americans buying the most World Cup tickets in the world in 2014, or even seeing my non-soccer twitter feed blow up when Messi scores an El Clasico winner; people are starting to care.

140622 Grant Park viewing party 13

So my goal is to combine my soccer knowledge, with an even better soccer betting knowledge to at the very least get you interested (and at the very most win you some cheddar) in the Beautiful Game from August alllllllllllllllllll the way to late May.

My blog will go as follows:

  • Several premier league games being previewed and full predictions before each weekend along with game picks and predictions for all matchups in the Premier League
  • Several MLS games being previewed with full predictions before each weekend
  • A couple games around the soccer world either profiled and with predictions
  • Champions League periodical updates and game picks
  • Parlay(s) of the week

Hope you’re going to enjoy it as much as I enjoy Lionel Messi making defenders look like an ice cream cake that was left outside in July.

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