Premier League Championship Sunday Preview

Okay before we get into what will likely be one of the greatest Championship Sundays in a long time, let’s get into what happened on Wednesday night.

Spurs somehow came back needing 3 goals in the second half against Ajax to go to their first ever Champions League Final. They were down 3-0 on aggregate at halftime and a Lucas Moura second half hat trick somehow put them through to the Final with the last goal coming in the final seconds of the match. Unlike Barcelona, Ajax did not break down and allow this to happen as much as Spurs willed their way to this win. Whoever the hell is writing this script is the greatest storyteller ever. It took 35 years for a 3-goal lead to be blown in a Semifinal and then it happened twice in 24 hours. We now have an all-English Champions League Final for the first time in over a decade and only the second time ever. Over the years this sport has proven why the world is obsessed, but this last year/month/week have gone above and beyond. The highlights are below…

Credit: Bleacher Report/Turner Sports

Now we somehow transition to a Championship Sunday in which a Premier League Champion will be crowned between either Liverpool or Man City who are separated by only 1 point atop the table. Liverpool haven’t won the league in almost 30 years while City look to become the first back-to-back champion in a decade. It’s also the first time in 5 years that a champion will be decided on Championship Sunday, adding to the drama of one of the greatest title races ever. In that 2013/2014 season, City topped Liverpool on Championship Sunday. In fact, this will be the third time in the Premier League era that City will have to win on the final day to win a title, winning their previous two. Could that be a good omen for City?

This Season: 207-162-47 (+18.4 Units)
Ajax v. Tottenham: 1-1 (+0.0 Units)
(+18.4 units = $100 bettor has won $1,840 this season)

For context, all matches are played at the same time to ensure that all results occur with integrity (and drama of course). The two big matches which include City and Liverpool will be at the end of my preview.

Championship Sunday
English Premier League
10:00 am EST

Arsenal @ Burnley (TV: MSNBC) – It has to be said that Arsenal made the Europa League Final on Thursday after whooping Valencia 7-3 on aggregate and will be playing Chelsea. They’ll be travelling from Spain for this one and usually I’d take Burnley if there were a lot of points on the board, but Arsenal are still playing for 5th place. I don’t like the spread at all so I decided to put a play on the total. The last time these two played it was 3-1 to Arsenal with the over cashing, six of Burnley’s last seven matches against the top 6 have had at least 3 goals and five of Arsenal’s last six matches have had at least 3 goals. That was enough for me to take the over in a match that should have a lot of chances. Over 3 goals (-110).

Bournemouth @ Crystal Palace (TV: Local NBC Sports Markets) – Palace have not been good at home this season and especially as of late. They’re 19th in the home table, their last home win in the league against someone who hasn’t been relegated came in December (8 matches) and Bournemouth have gone two straight unbeaten away from home. I also like Bournemouth because they match up well against Palace as they play a fast-paced game and can score goals on the break. They haven’t lost to Palace in their last three matches and I think they have a great chance of taking points here. I’ll take Bournemouth as underdogs. Bournemouth (+0.5, +105).

Newcastle @ Fulham (TV: Olympic Channel) – Fulham have been relegated and I called their regression last weekend against Wolves after three straight wins. But they’ll be playing a Newcastle team who have gone 1-4-5 in their last 10 away matches and I really think that Fulham will go out of the Premier League swinging with some points. I’m going to take Fulham on the pickem line at home in their last Premier League match against a Newcastle side who really have nothing else to play for. Fulham (Pick, -115).

Chelsea @ Leicester (TV: CNBC) – Chelsea beat Eintracht Frankfurt in penalties to advance to the Europa League Final where they will play Arsenal in Azerbaijan. But they went the distance, 120 minutes and penalties, while Leicester will have an entire week’s rest and will be home for this match. That alone is a great reason to take the home side as Chelsea are sure to rest some starters while Leicester have no reason but to play their normal starting XI. Chelsea have also already locked in their top 4 spot for next season’s Champions League but Leicester can jump to 8th with a win and Everton loss. I think Leicester will be more focused on closing out their season than Chelsea will be after their big win on Wednesday. I love Leicester at home here. Leicester (Pick, -125).

Cardiff City @ Manchester United (TV: USA) – I’m baffled as to why this spread is so low. Yes United are in complete turmoil with recent results, locker room rifts and pundits calling out the leadership as well as Solskjaer’s job, but United are far better than Cardiff. Yes United have won one of their last eight matches but most of them have been against some of the better teams in Europe (Barcelona, Man City, Chelsea and more). Meanwhile at home against non top 6 teams, United haven’t lost all season long. I expect them to close out their year well against a pretty bad Cardiff side. Manchester United (-1.5, -135).

Huddersfield @ Southampton (Streaming: NBCSports.com) – This one is likely to have goals and for that reason I’m taking the over. Why will it have a lot of goals? Well not only was their first match this season 3-1, but seven of Southampton’s last nine matches have had at least three goals with their last four home games hitting that mark as well. Adding to that, five of the last eight Huddersfield matches have had at least three goals with their previous two away matches having a total of 9 goals. These two teams won’t be doing much defending on Sunday. Over 3 goals (+105).

Everton @ Tottenham (TV: SYFY Channel) – Much like the other English teams who traveled this week in European competition, Spurs will likely not even be thinking about this match. Not only will they have 3-4 less days of rest compared to Everton but Spurs players were celebrating pretty hard after their epic comeback win against Ajax (Danny Rose even had a beer on the field after the game). Their spot in the top four has been guaranteed and I expect Pochettino to sit a lot of the players who played Wednesday night in Amsterdam for precautionary and rest reasons. Everton have also been in great form and scoring lots of goals as they have one loss in their last seven matches beating Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. Not only do I like Everton on the moneyline but I love the over too because of how these teams can score goals and Spurs’ lineup will likely not be ready for the challenge if they do sit a few starters. Over 2.5 goals (-125) and Everton Moneyline (+240).

West Ham @ Watford (TV: Golf Channel) – West Ham have been playing well but they’re due for some sort of regression. They’ve now won back-to-back league matches in the league for the first time since December, proving that their consistency has been an issue. One of those wins was away at Spurs but it was their first away win in eight matches with seven of those being losses. Meanwhile Watford have not lost to a team behind them in the current table at home since October. I like Watford to close out their Premier League season with a win, knowing they’ll want to go into their FA Cup Final with City in good form. Watford Moneyline (+120).

Now to the big boy stuff…

Wolves @ Liverpool (TV: NBC) – Wolves have not been an easy outfit for top 6 teams this season and it certainly won’t help Liverpool that they played a grueling match against Barcelona on Tuesday. The last time these two played it was in the FA Cup and Wolves eliminated Liverpool at home. Both teams are in good form and the spread sits at 1.5, which is something I don’t want to bite on especially knowing how Wolves love to make things hard on good teams. Instead, due to how they can make things hard and Liverpool’s likely heavy legs, I’m going to take the under. Only three times in Wolves’ 11 matches against the top 6 has the total finished over 3 and I think it’s unlikely this total will go above that mark here as well. I do think Liverpool will win, which will force City to win, but it won’t be easy for the Reds. Under 3 (-115).

Manchester City @ Brighton (TV: NBCSN) – Man City will have to go to a Brighton team who recently drew at Arsenal, barely lost at Spurs and drew at Wolves. But at home, they haven’t been impressive at all. They’ve gone 1-2-5 in their last eight home matches with their only points coming from a win against Huddersfield and draws against Newcastle and Watford. Against the top 6 at home they’ve gained 4 points in a win against United and a draw against Arsenal. But this City team is the best team in the league and they’re now on a 13-match win streak in the league. They know all they have to do is beat this Brighton team who are now fighting for nothing to win a 2nd straight Premier League title to put their names in the pantheon of the league. I think City score early and run up the score in what will be a coronation for the new kings of the Premier League. Manchester City (-2, -120).

Manchester City will win the Premier League title for the fourth time and the second consecutive season. But kudos will have to go to Liverpool who will end up having the third best season in Premier League history.

Thanks for riding with me this season in the Premier League! I’ll still be writing til the end of the season, covering the other European leagues and European Finals. This summer I will also be previewing every USWNT match this summer for the World Cup, transfer rumors, CONCACAF Gold Cup and more!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

Matchweek 37 Preview

Before we get into this weekends preview let’s go over Barcelona v Liverpool in the first leg of their Semifinal.

On paper you’d think Liverpool were able to get a result as they had more of the ball, more shots, and even more passes completed. But the scoreline says a completely different story as Barcelona ended up throttling Liverpool 3-0. They failed to achieve two of my three key points; stopping Messi and keeping a clean sheet/scoring an away goal. They did well to contain Messi for a lot of the match but there were times that the entire Liverpool defense went into panic mode whenever he had space, which allowed the lanes for Suarez and Coutinho to open up. On his first goal he was unmarked in the box and put away one of the easier chances of his career. That’s what happens when you take your eye off of him for 5 seconds in the box.

It also didn’t help that Messi scored one of the greatest free kicks we’ve ever seen. It was so good that the Liverpool players couldn’t even complain and it even made Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp smile on the touchline. 30 yards out, at 61 miles per hour and perfectly in the top corner. I really recommend watching the goal HERE. Liverpool now have a massive mountain to climb especially since they don’t have an away goal in their back pocket.

This Season’s Record: 201-159-46 (+14.9 Units)
Barcelona v. Liverpool: 1-0 (+1.0 Units)

Saturday, May 4th
English Premier League
7:30 am EST

Tottenham @ Bournemouth – This is an interesting one because how Spurs line up will say a lot about their commitment to their top 4 finish and their Champions League Semifinal on Wednesday. Son was rested on Tuesday against Ajax because of his suspension but they’ll be without Vertonghen, Kane and several other rotation players I’m sayursay both because of rest and injuries. They have enough of a cushion in the league where if they drop points, a top four finish is still likely. I think they’ll end up resting a few players because of their upcoming trip to Amsterdam. Their form worries me as they’ve only had one win in their last five matches and away from home they’ve gone 1-8 in their last 9. Bournemouth haven’t been fantastic either but they’re coming off of a 3-3 draw at Southampton where they showed that they can grind out a result especially by scoring goals. This is a great opportunity for Bournemouth to steal some points and I’m going to take them as home underdogs. Bournemouth (+0.5, -110).

10:00 am EST

Fulham @ Wolves – Fulham have been in fantastic form ever since they got relegated, winning three straight. But those matches weren’t far-fetched wins for the club and they’ll now have to face their first real test in Wolves. They’ve gone 0-4 in their last four matches against top-8 opponents with a -9 goal differential which makes for an average loss margin of 2.25. Wolves meanwhile have gone their last three matches unbeaten, with a win away at Watford and a win at home to Arsenal. They’re playing well enough to halt Fulham’s form in it’s tracks and they’re still fighting for that 7th place spot. A win here and a Leicester loss at City could guarantee that spot. I’ll take them on the spread at home. Wolves (-1. -110).

German Bundesliga
9:30 am EST

Nurnberg @ Wolfsburg – Nurnberg’s draw against Bayern last weekend was nothing short of spectacular, but it’s a one-off performance In my opinion. Adding to that, Schalke’s win at Dortmund puts Nurnberg’s hopes of survival at almost 0 as they now have an 11 point gap with 5 matches left. They’ll face a Wolfsburg team who have performed up to their standard over the last few matches, covering or pushing in most of them. They’re also still within an earshot of qualifying for European competition next season as they sit only 2 points behind the last Europa League spot and 4 points behind the last Champions League spot. Three points would be crucial in maintaining that quest for Europe and I trust them to get those points at home here. Wolfsburg (-1, -105).

Sunday, May 5th
English Premier League
9:00 am EST

Watford @ Chelsea – Chelsea will be coming off of their 1-1 draw at Frankfurt in the Europa League Semifinals while Watford will have a full week’s rest. I always like fading teams late in the season when they’re coming off of major travel, especially against clubs with a full week’s rest. Also, Chelsea’s recent results have been somewhat uninspiring as their only win in their last five matches was at home to Slavia Prague in the Quarterfinals of the Europa League. Yes Watford are coming off of a home loss last weekend, but they’ve been pretty good against top-6 clubs away from home this season. They’ve only failed to cover once against those teams in their last four tries and rank 8th in the league in away goal differential. I think they can cause Chelsea some serious trouble, especially if Sarri decides to rest some starters before the second leg against Frankfurt. I’ll take them on a spread that I think is 0.5 points too many. Watford (+1.5, -125).

Spanish La Liga
6:00 am EST

Girona @ Getafe – This is one of the more intriguing matches of the weekend as Getafe are still clinging on the the last Champions League spot and Girona are still at risk of relegation. Due to those factors, Getafe only sit as -0.5 favorites, but I think Vegas is severely underestimating how good this squad is. In their last few matches, Getafe have drawn Real Madrid, beaten Sevilla handily and had a home win against Bilbao. That’s three major results against three top-7 clubs while Girona are 1-6 in their last 7 matches. Yes, Girona’s sole win came against Sevilla last weekend (which ironically helped Getafe tremendously in the race for 4th), but overall Girona aren’t a team that Getafe should be too scared of. I love Getafe at home here to continue their quest for their first Champions League birth in 8 years and only their second ever. Getafe (-0.5, -125).

German Bundesliga
7:30 am EST

Augsburg @ Schalke – Schalke are coming off of their biggest win of the season as they dismantled rivals Dortmund and possibly ruined their chances at a Bundesliga title. Shockingly though, they still sit in the last safe spot in the league, but with a six point cushion. Meanwhile Augsburg sit only one point above them. If either of these teams can get three points, it’ll likely guarantee survival for that club. Although Augsburg have had a few good results as of late, they haven’t won in any of their last ten away matches, with their last win coming back in October. I trust Schalke, who are surely buzzing after their win last weekend, to take care of business at home and guarantee survival. Schalke (-0.5, -125).

Italian Serie A
9:00 am EST

Atalanta @ Lazio – This is probably the best match in Italy this weekend, outside of maybe the Turin derby between Torino and Juve. Atalanta come into this match in great form as they have won three straight matches and have gone unbeaten in their last eleven matches. Lazio meanwhile have had a few good wins including against Milan an Inter, but they’ve also dropped points to Chievo Verona, Sassuolo and SPAL. They’re also 2-3-1 in their last six and sit four points behind the final Champions League spot held by Atalanta. Atalanta will also have to play Juve in a few weeks and would feel much more comfortable going into that match with a three point cushion in their 4th place spot. I feel much more comfortable picking an Atalanta team who have had steady and consistent results against a Lazio team who are somewhat out of sorts right now. I’m even going to go as far as taking their moneyline at 2/1. Atalanta (+200).

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

Matchweek 36 Preview

Manchester City showed that they have what it takes to retain their title after surviving the trip across town to Old Trafford, beating United 2-0. Now both City and Liverpool are finally level on matches played with City above them by one point, finally finding some stability after first place has changed hands 28 times this season.

There are three matches left in the Premier League, four left in the Bundesliga, four left in La Liga and five more left in Serie A. The Premier League and the Bundesliga have neck and neck title races, all four leagues have very tight Champions League races, and most leagues have interesting relegation battles all well.

It’s the time of year that clubs can clinch titles, reach the top four and fight for survival which in turn provides us with value across the board. There are a lot of pickems of this week so let’s see if we can pinpoint that value, but first the numbers from this past midweek and overall this season…

This Season’s Record: 197-154-44 (+15.0 Units)
Midweek Matches: 4-1 (+4.4 Units)

Saturday, April 27th
English Premier League
10:00 am EST

Cardiff @ Fulham (TV: NBCSN) – Fulham are already relegated but for Cardiff, this is their best chance at saving their season and staying up in the Premier League. Shockingly enough once Fulham got relegated, they went on a two-match winning streak against Everton and Bournemouth. They’re for sure going down swinging. But they’re facing a desperate Cardiff team who last time out in a similar match a week and a half ago, beat Brighton at Brighton to keep their hopes alive. I think Fulham are due for regression especially since their defense has yet to have back-to-back-to-back clean sheets all year (let alone two in a row before this run) and their offense will likely not be able to make up for those goals conceded. I expect Cardiff to come out swinging and get a point at the minimum, keeping their hopes alive for staying in the Premier League next season. I like them on the pickem line with a positive price. Cardiff (Pick, +110).

Wolves @ Watford – Cue the Spiderman meme.

These two teams who have had almost identical seasons, identical records, similar crests and similar names will be facing off for the right for 7th place on Saturday. We all know how good Wolves have been, especially against the top 6, and it has almost put Watford totally under the radar this year. They’ve gone 6-3-2 at home in their last 11 with their only losses coming against Chelsea and to Arsenal, where they were a man down. Wolves meanwhile haven’t won an away match since the 2nd of February and have had recent struggles against non top 6 teams (oddly enough). I feel much more comfortable taking Watford on the pickem line at home. Watford (Pick, -120).

Bournemouth @ Southampton (TV: CNBC) – Other than their 5-0 win at Brighton (where Brighton were man down for a lot of the match) and their win at Huddersfield, Bournemouth haven’t been good enough lately. Including those wins against those weak opposition they are 2-2-7 in their last 11 and their away record outside of those two wins is 0-4 with a -11 goal differential. Meanwhile Southampton’s recent run hasn’t been nearly as bad, going 3-1 at home in their last four with their only loss coming against Liverpool. In that run of good form at home they beat Spurs and Wolves at home and they even beat Brighton away from home in a massive match for survival. Another reason I like Southampton at home here? They’re not technically safe and three points would all but guarantee their safety this season. Take the Saints. Southampton (-0.5, -110).

12:30 pm EST

Newcastle @ Brighton (NBC) – This. Match. Is. Huge. Brighton are fighting for their lives right now only being three points above Cardiff and a win here with dropped points from Cardiff would almost guarantee their safety. But there’s more to this match for Brighton. Their final two matches after this one are at Arsenal and home to City, two teams who will likely HAVE to win. If they fail to get points here, they’ll leave the door completely open for Cardiff. Adding to that, Brighton have had some inspiring performances this past week grinding to a 1-0 loss at Spurs where they held them for 88 minutes and they drew away to Wolves last weekend. Yes Newcastle have won two straight and their last match away from home, but prior to that away win they hadn’t won away since December which was to Huddersfield. I do wish it was a pickem but I just can’t fade this Brighton team who know they will likely need to win this match if they want to guarantee survival. Brighton (-0.5, +130).

Italian Serie A
2:30 pm EST

Juventus @ Inter Milan – This is such a great match even with Juventus closing out their 8th straight title the other day (yeah, I said 8 straight). But this one isn’t as nearly as much about Juventus as it is about Inter, who are a win away from possibly sealing their spot in next season’s Champions League. Juve are likely to rest a few of their starters to due injury and workload including Dyabala, Chiellini, Mandzukic and possibly even Ronaldo. Inter have somewhat survived the gauntlet that has been the last month, going 3-2-1 against teams like Milan, Lazio, Roma and Atalanta who all reside inside the top 6. Unlike Juve they will have no injury concerns and they have been in decent enough form to take on a somewhat shortened Juventus side who may have their minds already set on the offseason. Give me a motivated Inter team on the pickem line at home. Inter Milan (Pick, -130).

Spanish La Liga
2:45 pm EST

Levante @ FC Barcelona (TV: beIN Sports) – I think Vegas is seriously overlooking this line. FC Barcelona can clinch the La Liga title with a win and will therefore give them much more time to focus on their Champions League Semifinal. They sat a few of their main guys last weekend including Messi to make sure they can be fresh to win the league here at home. Yes, Levante is fighting against relegation and Vegas believes that they could make things tough against Barca here but I couldn’t disagree more. Levante won this past weekend at home to Betis but before that they went nine straight without a win. A motivated and fresh Barcelona side with a title on the line at the Camp Nou is one of the scariest things your eyes could ever look upon. They’re 13-3-1 at home this year with a +31 goal differential and they haven’t dropped points there since early February, to Real Madrid. Feed me Barca here. FC Barcelona (-2, +115).

Sunday, April 28th
English Premier League
7:00 am EST

Arsenal @ Leicester (TV: NBCSN) – It’s no secret that Arsenal are atrocious away from home and it was evident in their 3-1 loss to Wolves this past week (they were down 3-0 by halftime). Meanwhile they’ll face a Leicester team whose offense has begun to click with the addition of Rodgers as manager. They’ve had one match without a goal since his appointment and they’ve averaged 2 goals per game in that span. They’ll face an Arsenal team who, like I said, have been horrible away from home and rank 13th in goals conceded away from home. Rest will also be a concern for the gunners, as this will be their second away match in four days and they’ve had a grueling schedule as of late while Leicester will be rested and have had a manageable schedule the last month. I think this is a recipe for disaster for an Arsenal team who could use some points to stay in the top 4 hunt. I think the Foxes can really exploit this pickem line and worst case settle for the draw. Leicester (Pick, -110).

Italian Serie A
9:00 am EST

Genoa @ SPAL – This is a weird one to be picking, I know, but there is some serious value here. SPAL have been on fire and Genoa’s form is seriously slipping. SPAL have gone 5-1 in their last six and 3-0 in their last 3 at home against Roma, Lazio and Juventus and they’ve managed to climb out of the relegation zone. Genoa on the other hand are winless in their last five, haven’t won an away match since January and have only won two away matches all season long. I love SPAL to keep their form rolling against a very below average Genoa team on the pickem line. SPAL (Pick, -125).

Other big matchups to watch:


Schalke @ Borussia Dortmund (Rivierderby), Saturday 9:30 am EST (FS2)
Chelsea @ Manchester United, Sunday 11:30 am EST (NBCSN)

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Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Instagram: @canikickitblog

Midweek Matches and Manchester Derby Preview

We’ve got midweek matches!! I have five picks from the Premier League (including the Manchester Derby), La Liga, German cup semifinal and the Italian cup semifinal. There’s a lot on the line so let’s get right to it.

This Season’s Record: 193-153-44 (+10.6 Units)
Matchweek 35: 5-1 (+4.8 Units)

Tuesday, April 23rd
German DFB Pokal Semifinal
2:45 pm EST

RB Leipzig @ Hamburg (TV: ESPNEWS) – If you read my blog for this past weekend, you’d remember how I was all over Leipzig. Now after their win against Gladbach, they’ve won six straight and eight straight away from home. Their defense is the best in the top division and they love getting results away from home. They’ll be facing a Hamburg team who are currently in the second division, fighting for promotion to the Bundesliga and they have a massive match this upcoming weekend with promotion implications. Their form is beginning to slip though with only one win in their last six which came against another second division side in the quarterfinals of this competition. Hamburg aren’t bad, in fact they were almost a shoe-in to return to the Bundesliga after this season, but they don’t matchup whatsoever to a Leipzig team who are one of the best in the top division. I love Leipzig on the spread here with the possibility of them running away with this against an inferior side. RB Leipzig (-1, -110).

Wednesday, April 24th
Italian Coppa Italia Semifinal Leg 2
2:45 pm EST

Lazio @ AC Milan – The first leg was 0-0 in Rome after Milan were able to hold Lazio at bay. These two actually faced off in the league ten days ago and Milan were able to triumph 1-0 at home after dominating them pretty handily on the stat sheet. Milan have been fantastic at home this season going 10-4-3 and not counting their derby ‘home’ match against Inter, they haven’t lost at home since December 22nd. Lazio meanwhile only have one win in their last five and are 1-1-4 in their last six away from home in all competitions. I feel much more confident taking the slightly more in-form and home team on the pickem line here in the second leg. AC Milan (Pick, -115).

English Premier League
2:45 pm EST

Arsenal @ Wolves – Both of these teams have been a bit puzzling this season. Wolves have been giant killers this season going 5-5-5 in all competitions against the top 6 but have had trouble playing the rest of the field. Arsenal meanwhile have been good enough to be in the top four, but have been absolutely dreadful away from home even with their recent win against Watford (Watford were a man down). They rank 9th in the away table and got their first clean sheet away from home only last week. Making matters worse for the Gunners, Wolves have been pretty great at home this year. They rank 8th in the home table and they haven’t lost at home since the first week of January, a run lasting nine matches across all competitions (7-2-0). I love Wolves on the pickem line here. Wolves (Pick, +105).

Manchester Derby
3:00 pm EST

Manchester City @ Manchester United (TV: NBCSN) – The 178th Manchester Derby might be one of the most important matches played between these two in years. Manchester City need a win if they want to go back to the top of the table, as this is the match that they have in hand over Liverpool. Not only will Manchester United be trying to stop them, but they are also fighting for a spot in the top four. After Chelsea lost, United now sit only three points out of that fourth place spot. This line opened at 1.5 for Manchester City but was quickly bought down to 1, as bettors think since this is one of the biggest derbies in England, it will be very tight.

These two come into this match in pretty different shape. City are 17-0-1 in their last 18 matches in all competitions and they have only lost in the league once since the start of 2019 (14 matches). United on the other hand only have two wins in their last eight, at home to West Ham and Watford, and lost to Everton 4-0 at Goodison Park this past weekend. Against the top six, Wolves, Everton and Barcelona in that span (comparable opponents) they are 0-6 with a goal differential of -12. Adding to the bad voodoo for United, they haven’t beaten City at home in the league since 2015 going 0-1-2 in that span. United are also winless in mid-week derbies against City since ’94, going 0-2-3.

I think City obviously have more to play for and are in better shape right now. Even with De Bruyne likely out for the rest of the season, their lineup should be at 100% and they have enough quality players on their roster that depth shouldn’t be an issue. United meanwhile are having trouble finding the right starting XI right now and have been traveling nonstop for the last eleven days, going to Barcelona and Everton. City meanwhile have been home for a week and will only need to travel 4 miles to Old Trafford for this one. I think across the board City match up better, will likely have fresher legs and are in much better form. At 1.5 I might have been hesitant to take City, but there’s no chance I can fade them at -1 here. I think this once could push but I think City’s likelihood for three points are much higher than that of a draw. Manchester City (-1, -130).

Thursday, April 25th
Spanish La Liga
3:30 pm EST

Real Madrid @ Getafe (TV: beIN Sports) – Real Madrid have been one big question mark this season; dropping points to people they normally shouldn’t be, crashing out of the Champions League much earlier than normal, lower-than-usual goal-scoring production and having the 6th most conceded goals. I haven’t liked picking matches they’re in because of their inconsistency but this match definitely intrigued me. Getafe have been one of the darlings of La Liga this season, sitting in third place with the third best defense in the league. They only have one loss in their last twelve matches, are 10-1-5 at home this season and have the third most draws in the league. The draws stat would be worrying for some teams but for someone like Getafe, it shows that they know how to grind out the results they need to. That’s why I think the draw has a ton of value here at +250. Madrid haven’t won either of their last two away matches and Getafe could really use a result here. I think those two things will equal out to a hard-fought draw, much like Madrid’s last away match where they lost to Leganes. I’ll take the draw. Draw (+250).

That’s all for this weekend’s preview!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

Matchweek 35 Preview

Wednesday Review:

  • It’s hard to describe how Man City v Spurs went down on Wednesday. There were 4 goals in the first 11 minutes, 5 goals in the first 21 minutes, 2 massive VAR calls and a 93rd minute goal from Sterling to put City through, reversed due to VAR. The drama was unlike anything I’ve seen, the tension was palpable, the Etihad was rocking like I’ve never seen it and the stakes couldn’t have been higher. In the end, Spurs prevailed via the away goals tiebreaker and will now be facing Ajax in the Semifinals. I highly, highly recommend watching the highlights HERE.
  • Liverpool beat Porto 4-1 to advance 6-1 on aggregate. Any chances of Porto advancing were wiped away almost immediately once Mane scored in the 26th minute, giving Liverpool a 3-0 lead on aggregate with the away goal. Liverpool will now play Barcelona in the other Semifinal.

This Season’s Record: 188-152-44 (+5.8 Units)
Tuesday Champions League: 1-1 (-0.1 Units)

This week we only have six picks for your fix (rhymed, I know). There wasn’t a ton of value out there especially with a lot of the big teams coming off of exhausting Champions League and Europa League matches midweek. But let’s see what we can cook up…

Saturday, April 20th
English Premier League
7:30 am EST

Tottenham @ Manchester City (TV: NBCSN) – No, your eyes do not deceive you. These two somehow, someway square off again this weekend in the Premier League with massive implications for both teams AGAIN. City are in the thick of the title race with Liverpool while Spurs are still fighting for a top 4 spot. You honestly can’t write this stuff. I think this match will comes down to three factors; injuries, home field advantage and revenge.

Man City are now left to fight for the Premier League title after losing their Champions League hopes on Wednesday and I can guarantee you that they are pissed. They now get another shot at this Spurs team who will likely be missing a few of their most important players including Sissoko and Kane. A few others rotation players will also likely miss the match including Dier, Winks, Aurier and Lamela. A hobbled Spurs team facing this angered City team at the Etihad again is not good news. The Etihad reached it’s full potential this week and you know City and their fans will be looking for revenge. The combination of this hurting/resting Spurs squad, City getting another crack at them for revenge and the home field advantage has me picking City to run away with it. Manchester City (-1.5, -125).

Italian Serie A
9:00 am EST

Torino @ Genoa – Shockingly, Torino are still in a fight for a European spot in Serie A this year. They’ll face a Genoa team who have won once in eight matches, going 1-3-4 in that span. Torino meanwhile have lost once in their last twelve and have only lost one match this season away from home. They’ve been a really tough team to beat this season and are usually a sure thing to cover or push on the pickem line, especially when they’re fighting for a birth in a European competition. I’ll take the lads from Torino on the against a 15th place Genoa. Torino (Pick, -105).

English Premier League
10:00 am EST

Watford @ Huddersfield – This one seems pretty easy to me here. Huddersfield are long gone and Watford are still fighting for a top 10 finish. Watford are a team who don’t look good away from home on paper, losing their last three, but those matches came against United, City and Liverpool. In fact the last time they’ve lost outright, home or away, to a team outside the top 6 was in December when they lost to Leicester. They have a brilliant record against teams outside of the top 6 this season, going 12-7-3, and they are 4-1-0 against teams currently inside the relegation zone. Even without striker Troy Deeney, I think they’ll find their production via Andre Gray and Deolofeu if he starts. I’ll take them here against a really really bad Huddersfield team. Watford (-0.5, -115).

12:30 pm EST

Southampton @ Newcastle (TV: NBC) – These two teams aren’t technically safe, unless one leaves this match with three points. Newcastle sit 7 points ahead of Cardiff while Southampton sit 5 points above that last relegation place. Naturally this match is a pickem since they’re basically even on paper, but Newcastle have some juice since they’re home and have been in decent home form. Although they lost the last time they were home, Newcastle won their previous five in the league at St. James Park and they haven’t lost to a team outside the top 6 there since December. Newcastle currently ranks higher in Points Per Match (PPM), Goal Differential Rank and in relative Home/Away rank (per Lowe Down Stats). I think this one has the potential to be really close but I trust Newcastle to either draw or win here at home. Newastle United (Pick, -130).

German Bundesliga
12:30 pm EST

RB Leipzig @ Borussia Mochengladbach (TV: FS1) – This is a massive game in the Bundesliga as Gladbach are fighting for a European spot and Leipzig are trying to hold on to third place. They are separated by only seven points, but that could be ten or four by the end of this match. Leipzig are firing on all cylinders right now as they’ve won five straight matches and seven straight away from home. Gladbach meanwhile are 2-3-4 in their last nine and haven’t won outright at home in their last five attempts.

Leipzig currently rank 2nd in H/A (home/away) rating while Gladbach rank 6th and they rank 2nd in GD (goal differential) rank while Gladbach rank 8th. Those stats back up the lack of home field advantage Gladbach have, how capable Leipzig are away from home and how Leipzig tend to beat teams comfortably. RB Leipzig (Pick, -135).

Sunday, April 21st
8:30 am EST

Manchester United @ Everton (TV: NBCSN) – United are coming off of a somewhat embarrassing loss at Barcelona this past week and will be facing an Everton team who have been brilliant at home recently. The Blues are undefeated in their last three home matches which came against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool while United’s away form has been abysmal. The Red Devils have lost their last four away matches in all competitions and their form is slowly slipping out of control. In their last seven matches, United are 2-5 and will be coming off of a loss and short rest to face a healthy and rested Everton team at Goodison Park. I’m going to go above the pickem line and take Everton on the moneyline, expecting them to come out and win the game against a sputtering United team. Everton (+205).

I hope everyone enjoys their Easter/Passover weekend! Don’t forget to subscribe via email to get notified when I post my blogs and to follow the Instagram page.

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Instagram: @canikickitblog

Wednesday, 4/17 Champions League Quarterfinal Preview

Tuesday Recap:

  • Ajax did it. They went to Juventus and didn’t just win, they absolutely dominated again. They’ve now out-classed Real Madrid and Juventus on their way to the semifinal and pose a serious threat to win it all. A squad with the average age of 24 and with half the starting lineup born after their last Semifinal in 1997, might be the scariest team in the world right now.
  • Barcelona did what most people thought they would do in crushing United 3-0 at home. Messi’s first goal was an absolute piece of art and so was Coutinho’s for the third. United looked completely helpless and it’s obvious they’ll need a couple years to get back to where they want to be on the European stage.

This Season’s Record: 187-151-44 (+5.9 Units)
Tuesday Champions League: 2-1 (+1.0 Units)

Wednesday, April 17th
3:00 pm EST

Liverpool @ FC Porto – Liverpool have a comfortable 2-0 lead going into the second leg and an away goal would all but seal their ticket to the Semifinals. But going to Portugal and facing this Porto team isn’t necesarilly an easy task. In fact in the Round of 16 this year, Roma had a 2-1 lead after the first leg and lost in the second leg 3-1 after extra time in Porto. But there’s something about this line that makes it really tough to pick a side. With it only being (0.5), part of me wanted to take Porto as home underdogs but picking against this Liverpool team might be a bad idea right now. And on Liverpool’s side, picking the favorite with an already two-goal lead is arguably just as dangerous. But I did find something with the total that I liked.

Looking at the last two Champions League campaigns, I collected some data about over/unders in the second legs. Last season, 6 of the 8 matches went over 2.5 goals in the 2nd leg of the Round of 16, 3 of the 4 matches went over 2.5 goals in the 2nd leg of the Quarterfinals and both 2nd legs of the Semifinals went over 4 goals with an average total of 5. This season, 7 of the 8 2nd legs in the Round of 16 went over 2.5 with an average of 4 total goals and both Quarterfinals on Tuesday went over 2.5. That’s 13 of the last 16 2nd leg knockout matches going over 2.5, a pretty staggering trend.

Why are 2nd legs so high-scoring? Often one, or both teams, have to ditch normal tactics and either go for the win/goals or they have such a big cushion that letting up goals isn’t the end of the world. Another reason is because sometimes a passive approach is taken in the first leg, to ensure that both teams have a good chance in the second. I think these thought processes fit here. Liverpool have a comfortable lead and one away goal would seal it while Porto will surely try to go for it as they were more passive in the first leg, only trying to get that away goal.

I honestly think Liverpool can add a few goals for themselves with how good their front three is and Porto’s offense is very good at home as well. I also think Porto has a real opportunity to make this a game and if they can get the first goal, they’ll force Liverpool to get that coveted away goal to put the tie away. If the game opens up like that early I expect there to be goals and if it doesn’t and Porto throws everything at Liverpool, I expect Liverpool to counter and score goals with their front three. Bottom line; I think the floodgates could open here. Over 2.5 goals (-105).

Tottenham @ Manchester City (TV: TNT) – This is obviously the match of the day as City will look to reverse their one-goal loss in the first leg and Spurs will look to pull a shocker and sneak into their first ever Champions League Semifinal. Both teams have a lot to prove so let’s dive into it.

Spurs will be without Harry Kane, their top goalscorer for the last five years, and they’ll now have to rely on Son, Eriksen, Llorente, Lucas and Alli for their production. But when Kane was out earlier in the year in January, they won five of their seven matches including their first leg against Dortmund in the Round of 16. But let’s put a little context in those matches before we rush to judgement.

Away from home in that span they went 1-2 with their only away win being at now relegated Fulham. Their two losses were to Chelsea and Palace right after that Fulham match, and then they went on to win four straight home matches against Watford, Newcastle, Leicester and Dortmund. A couple things stand out to me there; one being that they didn’t perform well away from home and another being that they couldn’t beat the only top 6 team they played. But it’s not just that they’re poor away from home without Kane, it’s that they’ve been poor with him too. They’re 1-6 in their last seven away from home and this will be their first away match in four matches since they lost to Liverpool 2-1. That doesn’t bode well going into an Etihad Stadium where City have won their last 12 matches with a goal differential of +46, an average win margin of 3.8.

We all know what Man City can do and it’s no secret that this will be very tough for Spurs. Before their loss to Spurs last week, City went 14 straight unbeaten with the most recent eight being wins. Their best players are currently in excellent form with Sterling and De Bruyne on absolute fire as of late and De Bruyne didn’t even get more than 5 minutes last week in the first leg. If they can survive the press that Spurs will likely put on and are able to build from the back, they will 100% be successful in creating the necessary chances in this game. It was the one thing that was missing last week, the link from the back to the forwards, and I think De Bruyne’s addition will be that final link to the forwards.

City should have all of their starters ready to go for this with the likelihood of Delph if he’s even considered such, unlike Spurs who will be without Kane and likely Winks while subs Dier, Lamela and Aurier should miss the match as well. I think City run away with this one starting with an early goal and not looking back. The line, sitting at (1.5), is perfect for this match as City will likely have to win by 2 goals. This is basically me betting on City to advance in the 90 minutes, a very liekly possibility.Man City (-1.5, -110).

That’s all for today’s matches! Don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of the page and to follow on Twitter and Instagram!!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Instagram: @canikickitblog

Tuesday, 4/16 Champions League Quarterfinal Preview + Bonus Pick

The Leg 2’s are here!! There’s still everything to play for in three of the four matches, but every leg of every Champions League tie is still genuinely thrilling. This piece will include Ajax/Juve and United/Barca (and a bonus pick) while my piece coming out tomorrow will include the other two matches, Liverpool/Porto and Spurs/Man City. Let’s get to it.

This Season’s Record: 185-158-44 (+4.9 Units)
Matchweek 34 Record: 1-4-2 (-3.5) Units)

Tuesday, April 16th
3:00 pm EST

Manchester United @ FC Barcelona (TV: TNT) – Barcelona won the first leg 1-0 at Old Trafford and are bringing that away goal back to the Camp Nou to try to seal their path to the semifinal. Luckily for Barca, this is really the only thing they are focused on right now, as they have the Spanish league locked up and don’t have another match with serious meaning until late May. They rested Messi, Suarez, Pique, Lenglet and Rakitic completely while Coutinho, Alba and Arthur came on as subs this past weekend. But since United are still fighting for a Champions League spot, they instead had to play basically their whole squad this weekend against West Ham to get the points needed to stay in the chase.

Not only is rest and fitness on Barca’s side, but form is as well. United were at risk of having their worst run of form since 1992 if they lost this past weekend, but they pulled off a 2-1 win to West Ham at home. In their last six matches in all competitions they have two wins and four losses, with their only wins being at home to Watford in late March and West Ham this past weekend. They’ve actually lost their last four away matches, not boding well going into one of the cathedrals of world football, where Barcelona have not lost since November.

Barcelona meanwhile haven’t lost a competitive match since January 23rd and in their last six matches at full strength (where they aren’t resting most of their starters), they are 6-1-0 with a goal differential of +14, making for an average winning margin of 2 goals. Adding to that, they’ve been historically great in late-stage home Champions League legs (Quarterfinals/Semifinals). They’ve lost once in that criteria since 2008 and in the last four seasons they’ve gone 4-1-0 with a goal differential of +7.

Barca are known for not only winning Champions League legs, but for stepping on the throats of opponents at Camp Nou in those situations. They’re better overall, in better form, less tired and they have the best player in the world at the top of his game right now and I just can’t fade them. FC Barcelona (-1.5, -105).

Ajax @ Juventus – Kind of disappointed this one isn’t the match on TNT but I do understand that Messi and Barca/United is must-see TV. I think this match is going to be an absolute peach though, especially after how the first leg went. Ajax were completely up for it, scoring just 30 seconds into the second half and stifling Juventus’ offense completely right afterwards. They had 60% possession, 12 more shots, 226 more accurate passes and they forced Juve to use the long ball to break through their midfield, something they’re not used to doing. The one thing that’s stuck out to me about this Ajax team is that, even with how egregiously young they are, they’ve responded to every thing that’s been thrown their way. They went to Madrid and won 4-1, they drew Bayern twice in the group stage and they basically dominated Juve last week.

Juve come into this match after a tough loss to SPAL in the Serie A this weekend, but much like Barcelona they only played 2 players who got the start in Leg 1 in Amsterdam. They should be very rested and their loss to SPAL shouldn’t be a reflection at all of their form, but if you dive a little deeper you’ll realize they haven’t been exactly who they were earlier in the year. They’ve been out-shot and out-possessed in each of their last three matches, a stark contrast to their dominance from earlier in the year. This could be a product of having the league wrapped up and only the Champions League to play for, but the inconsistency of squads and performances should worry Juve bettors.

Now I’m not predicting Ajax to win and it’s not that they won’t, but it will be tough for them to waltz into the Allianz Stadium and have the same performance they did last week. But with Juve’s lack of dominance recently and their lack of maintaining systematic control of matches, this match could fit right into Ajax’s playbook to keep it tight. Outside of a few first half chances and the lack of marking Ronaldo on the goal (which shouldn’t happen again), Ajax’s defense didn’t allow Juventus to get any momentum throughout the match. Ajax caught Juventus sleeping on their goal and then kept their foot on the pedal, proving that you can’t and most likely won’t be able to coast against this team. Their midfield can create from deep with De Jong or around the box and they have the finishers to punish you with only a few good chances. If they can cut off the passing lines out wide to the outside backs, who love to whip balls in, and limit the other passing lanes to Ronaldo, I think Ajax can make this close or even push it to extra time.

I’m going to take the points. I think Ajax will be fearless, knowing that they can run with this team and the one goal spread gives them a ton of value if they get a goal as a 1-1 match puts it into extra time. Ajax (+1, -135).

BONUS PICK:

Cardiff @ Brighton (TV: NBCSN) – Oh Premier League you sneaky dogs. They slipped in one of the matches of the week with two relegation teams battling it out. These are my favorite matches since they’re usually very intense, have players playing for their jobs and the club playing to stay in the Premier League. They even say promotion and relegation are worth around $100 million.

But bottom line is that Cardiff have a much bigger hill to climb than Brighton and they will be utterly desperate here. I think that will be their downfall as they will end up going for the three points knowing that it will likely be the only result that can keep them up. The reason why I’m fading them? This strategy, especially away from home and against arguably a better team, often does not work. They’ll likely overextend themselves and allow for Brighton to counter. I usually like betting on the teams that need to win, but Cardiff might need to win too much and it will be their downfall against a Brighton team who have conceded 12 less goals this campaign. I’ll take Brighton as slight favorites here, with the rationale that a win at home will guarantee their survival. Brighton (-0.5, +105).

That’s all for today’s matches! Don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of the page and to follow on Twitter and Instagram!!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Instagram: @canikickitblog

Matchweek 34 Preview

Wednesday Recap:

  • Ajax and Juventus drew 1-1 in a match that either team could have won. Both teams passed up scoring chances all match, but a Ronaldo header right before halftime broke the deadlock after Ajax failed to track his run into the box. Ajax then responded with a goal right out of the gate in the second half, catching Juventus sleeping. It’s all up for grabs in the second leg.
  • Barcelona went into Manchester and dominated the first half, scoring a goal only 12 minutes in. The goal was built by a 48-pass build up where every player on the field touched the ball for Barcelona. They kept United at bay for the rest of the match and will be taking their one-goal lead with the away goal advantage back home for the second leg.

This Season’s Record: 184-154-42 (+8.4 Units)
4/10 UCL Quarterfinals: 3-0 (+4.3) Units)

A great Champions League Quarterfinals for me as I went 4-1 and completely nailed Wednesday predicting both games to a T (is that how you say it? Idk, we’ll carry on). Let’s see what we can get from this weekend.

Saturday, April 13th
German Bundesliga
9:30 am EST

Borussia Mochengladbach @ Hannover – Hannover are currently sitting at the basement of the Bundesliga and are on their way to being relegated. They’ll face a Gladbach team who are fighting for a chance to play in the Champions League next year, as they sit four points out of that final spot. Although they’ve hit a slight blip in form, I just don’t see them dropping points to a Hannover team who have gained points from a match once since mid January (going 1-10 in that span). I think Gladbach’s quality will show and they could honestly run away with this one. Gladbach (-1, -105).

English Premier League
10:00 am EST

Bournemouth @ Brighton – Both teams are in bad form going into this, as Brighton have had three straight losses in all competitions and Bournemouth with two straight. But two of Brighton’s losses came against Chelsea and City while Bournemouth’s came against Leicester and Burnley. Two things stand out to me here with the first being the disparity of Bournemouth’s away results compared to their home results. They stand in 10th in points at home but away from home they’re 16th with a record of 4-0-12, they have the most goals conceded with 37 and have the third worst goal differential.

The other thing that stands out to me is the fact that Brighton still have some work to do relegation-wise. They’re sitting tied for the last safe spot with a game in hand of Southampton and Cardiff, the two teams next to them. A win here would really help their race away from the relegation zone, especially with Cardiff having back-to-back away matches and then they are home to Liverpool. I like Brighton to go out and get a win, just a week shy of holding Man City to a 1-0 win in the FA Cup Semifinal, to all but assure their safety. Brighton (-0.5, +125).

Cardiff @ Burnley (TV: NBCSN) – Much like Brighton, Cardiff could really use a result here to help keep their race for survival alive. The only difference is that they’re going away from home to face a Burnley team who have won two straight against Wolves and Bournemouth. Adding to that, Cardiff have had real trouble this season allowing a large % of shots on target, ranking 5th most in defensive shots on target/shots (Def SoT/Sh) with 36%. Meanwhile Burnley rank 1st in scoring % at 53.7%, a stat which calculates the amount of goals per shot on target. Cardiff allowing a lot of shots this season versus a team who scores the most off of their shots on target does not bode well for a Cardiff team who have trouble scoring themselves, letting in the third most goals in the league this year.Burnley (-0.5, -110).

Everton @ Fulham – This match doesn’t look like a good one for Fulham. They’re already relegated, have lost 13 of their last 14 matches and are facing an Everton team who have won three straight against Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal. According to Lowe Down Stats, they rank last in their Three Factors Ranking, an offensive and defensive combination of shots/96 mins, shots on target/shots and scoring %. Adding even more to that, they rank in last place in goal differential average. The only reason they hung around that long was because of a few good results after a managerial change earlier in the year. I think Everton will breeze through this one with the chance to get back to their usual spot of 7th place. Everton (-0.5, -125).

Italian Serie A
12:00 pm EST

Udinese @ Roma (TV: ESPNEWS) – This line almost feels like a trap with Roma as a one-goal favorite at home. I know Roma haven’t been themselves this season and only have two wins from their last seven, but they’re facing an Udinese team who have been even more below their average this season. Yes, Udinese are fighting for their lives towards the bottom of the table and are undefeated in their last three, but they’ve been beyond poor away from home this season with one win from 14 matches. Against the top clubs in Italy, Udinese have gone 1-1-7 with a -12 goal differential, and away from home have gone 0-1-3 with a -6 goal differential. Roma will also be fighting for something though, being only one points out of the last Champions League spot.

Adding to this, Roma’s home goal-scoring record is first in the league with 2.33 goals per game at the Stadio Olimpico while Udinese’s away goal differential is 16th in the league. I love Roma to win here at home against an Udinese side who haven’t won at the Stadio Olimpico since 2012 and have had a goal differential of -10 over the five games prior to that win. Roma (-1, -130).

2:30 pm EST

Lazio @ AC Milan – Although Milan are three spots above Lazio in the table, recent results should have their fans feeling very nervous about finishing above them this season. Milan haven’t won in their last four matches, losing to Inter, Sampdoria and Juventus while drawing to Udinese at home. Now only three points separate Milan in 4th and Torino in 8th and that last Champions League will be completely up for grabs in this last month and a half. The biggest thing for me in this match is Lazio’s ability to limit opponents away from home, where they have allowed 15 goals and scored 15 goals. I don’t think Milan offer a lot up top to stifle Lazio’s defense, especially as they rank 7th in goals at home this season. I like Lazio on the pickem line with their ability to limit what Milan can do offensively. Lazio (Pick, -105).

Sunday, April 14th
English Premier League
11:30 am EST

Chelsea @ Liverpool (TV: NBCSN) – The last time these two faced off with one fighting for a title, Gerrard slipped and gave Demba Ba a goal which also gave Man City a title in 2014. That obviously won’t happen again, but this is Liverpool’s opportunity to either keep the pressure on City or fall behind and likely go another year without a title. Can they erase those demons and avenge that fateful day? Unluckily for them, Chelsea haven’t lost to Liverpool in all competitions since September of 2016 (five unbeaten). In fact, Liverpool have only won 2 of the last 16 matches against Chelsea. The Blues are starting to create more chances than they were earlier in the season and now rank second in the league in shots per 96 minutes on offense and third on defense. They also have this guy named Eden Hazard who, let’s just say, is pretty fu**ing unbelievable and can change any game in the blink of an eye.

They’ll be facing a Liverpool team who have been great this season at home with the second best home goal differential average. But lately they have started to see some slippage. Yes, they’ve won their last four at home in all comps but they haven’t been that impressive of wins, only covering the spread once in their last four. Adding to that, in their last four matches against the Top 6 and Everton, they are 1-2-1 with a goal differential of 0. I don’t feel comfortable taking Liverpool as one-goal favorites here and I’m instead taking a risk-averse approach with Chelsea, believing they’ll make it more of a closer game. I don’t see Liverpool running away with it. Chelsea (+1, -120).

That’s all for this week’s picks. Don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of the page and to follow on Twitter and Instagram!!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Instagram: @canikickitblog

Matchweek 33 Preview

The international break ends and we get smacked with non-stop soccer for a whole month as there won’t be a single day without a top-five league match until May 6th. That means we’re going to get nonstop midweek fixtures and I can promise you that you won’t see me complaining.

Let’s see how I did over the weekend…

This Season’s Record: 171-147-41 (+2.7 Units)
Matchweek 32: 3-3-2 (-0.2 Units)

QUICK NOTE: I’ve recently started an Instagram account for the Can i Kick It brand. I’ll be posting highlights, key moments, funny videos and everything else in the world of soccer for your educated and uneducated soccer brains. I can promise it’s worth the follow! @canikickitblog on Instagram.

Let’s rock and roll…

Tuesday, April 2nd
Spanish La Liga
1:30 pm EST

Girona @ Atletico Madrid (beIN Sports) – Girona, oddly enough, have been unbelievable away from home this season and somehow have been the worst team in the league at home. Here they find themselves traveling to Atletico Madrid, a team they’ve historically done really well against. Girona have found themselves better off sitting back and absorbing pressure for 75% of the game these last two years, a tactic both of these teams have used successfully over that same span. Girona’s back five forces Atletico to beat them with steady possession in the final third, something they aren’t usually comfortable doing. That might be why these two have drawn the last five meetings. Although I wish this had a bit more of a cushion, I’m going to take Girona and the points especially with the great price it’s being offered at. Girona (+1, +120).

English Premier League
2:45 pm EST

Fulham @ Watford – It would take a lot for me to bet on Fulham right now. They’re essentially already relegated, they’ve LOST eight straight, only two of those losses came by less than two goals and neither of those two losses were away from home. Watford meanwhile have been winning and losing the games they’re supposed to, showing some sort of consistency. They have had six losses since 12/4 all which came against top six teams. I think this Watford team is good enough to beat anyone outside of the top six at home and I don’t see that sentiment changing here. I’ll take them on a goal spread with a good price. Watford (-1, +110).

Manchester United @ Wolves (NBCSN) – Wolves have won four straight home games coming off of a loss, they beat United last time out before the international break in the FA Cup and are known to be top-six killers. I think United are in for some serious trouble and I also think the international break will have slowed down any sort of momentum they had going into it. United have also lost their last two away matches while Wolves’ home form is picking up as they’ve gone undefeated in the league in their last four home matches (3W and 1D). I like Wolves as home underdogs here with the chance to spoil United’s top four ambitions. Wolves (+0.5, -120).

Wednesday, April 3rd
English Premier League
2:45 pm EST

Brighton @ Chelsea – I absolutely hate betting on or against Chelsea spreads because of their inconsistencies on a matchweek to matchweek basis. But the total did jump out to me. Chelsea’s average total goals scored and conceded for home matches is 2.6 goals per match while Brighton’s average total for away matches is 2.8, giving us an expected total of 2.7. These two teams also seem to love goals when they meet with an average total of 3.25 goals per match the last four times they’ve met. Brighton have also gone over 2.5 goals in nine of their fifteen away matches this season. If all of these reasons don’t convince you to take the over like it did for me then I don’t know what else to tell you. I’m taking the over in a match that could easily have a total of 3 goals. Over 2.5 goals (-130).

Cardiff @ Manchester City – I’ve officially come out of my hiatus in betting on City matches. It’s the team I know best from being City fan for years and I know when it’s time to bet on them and not. I’ve nailed that all season long and I’ve backed off the last few matches due to some uncertainties in the squad and their congestion of fixtures. But City are arguably the best team in the world and they will be facing a very deflated Cardiff side who blew a lead to Chelsea over the weekend, possibly dooming them to relegation. Since 12/30, City have only dropped points once in a fluke loss to Newcastle and are absolutely burning through teams at the moment. They’re finally healthy, having Fernandinho and De Bruyne back in the squad, and they know they need points since Liverpool recently jumped them in the table. Yes this is breaking one of my rules of not betting the favorite on spreads of more than two, but I couldn’t resist. Manchester City (-3, -110).

Italian Serie A
3:00 pm EST

Inter Milan @ Genoa (ESPNEWS) – Inter’s last true away win (not counting their derby win to AC Milan) came almost two months ago against Parma. In fact, they have had only two away wins since the start of November and will be facing a Genoa team who have become a bit dangerous at home this season. Genoa have had one home loss since mid-November with recent wins at home against Lazio and more importantly Juventus, breaking their invincibility run. Also of note is that the home team has won each of the last eleven matches in this matchup, six wins to Inter and five to Genoa. I like Genoa as underdogs in a situation where I think Vegas is overcompensating for Inter’s quality. Genoa (+0.5, -120).

Spanish La Liga
3:30 pm EST

Real Madrid @ Valencia – Valencia are being posed as underdogs at home to a Real Madrid team who I think right now, Valencia are better than. Madrid had serious trouble beating the worst team in the league on Sunday and have gone 4-0-4 (4 wins and 4 losses) in their last eight. Valencia meanwhile haven’t lost in the league since January 5th, a stretch spanning eleven matches and are playing as solid as ever. They’re middle of the table at home this season but they’ve only lost one match (going 4-10-1) at the Mestalla, a place that has given Madrid some trouble over the years. Feed me Valencia as home underdogs in this one. Valencia (+0.5, -130).

That’s all for the matches I like this week. This weekend will be amazing with some huge matches for the title races in the Premier League and the Bundesliga so keep your eye out for that preview on Friday morning.

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Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Instagram: @canikickitblog

Matchweek 30 Preview and Champions League Recap

In one of the most wild Champions League matchweeks ever, Ajax, Porto, Manchester United and Tottenham all advanced to the quarterfinals. Here’s how it went down.

Ajax (5) @ Real Madrid (3) – Ajax went into the defending champions’ den and put on an absolute masterclass by winning 4-1, capping off the worst week in Real Madrid history after they just lost to Barcelona twice. Ajax looked brilliant going forward, had a lot more purpose than Los Blancos, completely dominated the midfield and finished all of their chances including a few spectacular goals. Ajax’s young core led by 19 year old captain Matthijs de Ligt, 21 year old Frenkie De Jong and former Southampton striker Dusan Tadic made Madrid look like a youth team and sent shockwaves and warning signs across Europe. They were +750 to advance going into the match.

Tottenham (4) @ Borussia Dortmund (0) – Dortmund had a mountain to climb even before the match being down 3-0 from the first leg. Matters were made worse when Harry Kane got Spurs a fourth on aggregate and an away goal, forcing Dortmund to have to score 5 to get through. Spoiler alert: they didn’t even score one. Spurs get through to the Quarterfinal.

Roma (3) @ Porto (4) – Even though it had to go into extra time, Porto prevailed 4-3 on aggregate and 3-1 in the second leg coming back after being down 2-1 from the first leg. An Alex Telles penalty sealed the deal for the Portuguese as they knock out a Roma side who ended up firing their manager just 24 hours afterwards.

Manchester United (3) @ PSG (3) – Manchester United became the first club in Champions League history to advance on aggregate after losing the first leg at home by at least two goals. They advanced on away goals as their tally of three away goals trumped PSG’s two from the first leg. This marks PSG’s second embarrassingly bad blown lead in the last three seasons and they’re now left wondering what has gone wrong. Several defensive and goalkeeping mistakes allowed United to capitalize on two of their goals and a handball in the box gave them their third. PSG may have let things slip but it was United’s resolve lacking nine of their first team players that shined on Wednesday. A bunch of kids led by a caretaker manager went into PSG’s house and got a fantastic result, moving them on to the Quarterfinals.

Let’s get into this weekend’s preview…

This Season’s Record: 155-137-37 (-2.8 Units)
Matchweek 29 Record: 1-3 (-2.3 Units)

Saturday, March 9th
English Premier League
7:30 am EST

Brighton @ Crystal Palace (NBCSN) – Palace at home against a struggling Brighton side, especially away from home, seems like a good bet here. Their only loss in their last eight was against a surging United team and Brighton are starting to struggle recently with only one win in the league since December 29th. I’ll take Palace at home. Crystal Palace (-0.5, -115).

10:00 am EST

West Ham @ Cardiff – West Ham are too well-priced here against one of the worsts team in the league. The Hammers have played very well recently with a draw against Liverpool, 1-0 loss at City and wins in the two matches that they should get three points from (Newcastle and Fulham). Cardiff meanwhile have lost three straight and lost their captain and center back Sol Bamba last weekend to a torn ACL. They’ll be more vulnerable than they already have been at the back and there’s a chance this can totally get away from them. West Ham (-0.5, +115).

Bournemouth @ Huddersfield – I couldn’t fade a team who has (+130) odds to beat the worst team in the league. A lot of things are trending away from Bournemouth right now but six of their last seven away losses were to Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, United, Spurs and Chelsea. I think going to Huddersfield is the perfect chance to break their form and get an away win especially against a Huddersfield team who have nothing to play for. I’ll take them here especially at (+130). Bournemouth (-0.5, +130).

Fulham @ Leicester City – Brendan Rodgers’ home debut will be against Fulham’s new manager Scott Parker’s whose squad is the worst away team in the league this season. Fulham have also lost their last five matches with only one of them being unwinnable, showing that they’re not getting the results even in matches they could get points from. I like Leicester to take all three points at home here in what hopes to be the start of a new era for the club. Leicester City (-1, -105).

Everton @ Newcastle (CNBC) – Newcastle are not only turning it around but they’re turning it around at home and at the right time, a recipe for success for staying up in the Premier League. They’ve won their last four league matches at home while Everton haven’t beaten a team above 16th away from home since October. I always love me a home pickem and it’s no different here. Newcastle (Pick, -110).

Tottenham @ Southampton (NBCSN) – Spurs are the best away team this year and are surely feeling great after advancing to the Quarterfinals of the Champions League. Yes their last two away league matches were losses, possibly bucking their away form, but they’ve since had a big draw in the North London Derby and had a huge away win at Dortmund in the Champions League. Things seem to be turning around for Spurs and I want to nail them while they’re hot. Tottenham (-0.5, -115).

12:30 pm EST

Watford @ Manchester City – Yes, for the first time maybe ever I’m fading City for a third straight week. They’re injured, have a huge Champions League match on Tuesday, will have one less day of rest than their Champions League opponents and only twice in their last nine matches have they won by more than two goals (only once in the league). For Watford, since the start of December they have only lost by more than one goal once against a top 5 side and against all teams in the league they’ve only lost by more than two once. They’re a team that can make life hard on good teams and I think with their fresh legs,they’ll sit back and take their chances on the counter, something that worked for West Ham and Bournemouth in the last few weeks against City. I’ll take the points. Watford (+2.5, -120).

Sunday, March 10th
English Premier League
8:00 am EST

Burnley @ Liverpool (NBCSN) – I’m taking another underdog, fading the other title contender here. I honestly think this will push but my rationale in picking Burnley is that Liverpool are a bit out of form, haven’t beaten Burnley by more than two goals in the last seven encounters and they have a big Champions League match on Wednesday that will be on their mind and they’ll need to prepare for. They play a Burnley team who in the league, have beaten Spurs and drew United in the last month or so. They are always up for playing the big clubs so I’ll take the points again here. Burnley (+2, +105).

10:05 am EST

Wolves @ Chelsea – Wolves against a top 6 side is always a good bet but I love this one specifically here. Chelsea’s depth problem/Sarri’s lack of change in the squad will come back to bite him after they had a match on Thursday in the Europa league and will likely be tired. They’ll need to make changes and if they do, their depth isn’t that strong and if they don’t then they’ll be tired. Wolves will be rested and have eleven points from nine matches against the top six the season, the best outside of that group this campaign. They also beat Chelsea 2-1 earlier in the season. Wolves (+1, -110).

12:30 am EST

Manchester United @ Arsenal (NBC) – Yes United’s win on Wednesday was one of the most miraculous comebacks in European history, but we have to remember that most of their first team is still injured and they will have to play another group of young players at the Emirates. Yes Arsenal will have one less day of rest and they suffered a bad loss in the Europa League on Thursday but they’re much healthier and have been brilliant at home this season. I think this could very well be a draw but I’m going to lean on the Gunners here a bit more than I would on United. Arsenal (Pick, -130).

Enjoy your weekend of matches! Please tell your friends and subscribe/follow me!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Facebook: Can I Kick It

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