Predicting the Weekend’s Best EPL Props
Airviews Photography (https://www.flickr.com/photos/airviews/)
After a week spent contesting English soccer’s various cup competitions, the big guns of the English Premier League return to the grind of league action, with a full slate of matches across the weekend.
Here, we run the rule over this weekend’s matchups to pick out the trends, storylines and topical value props to follow.
Chelsea vs. Leicester
Look out for: Antonio Conte’s body language. Conte has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain and, given his Chelsea side currently sits 16 points behind Manchester City in the Premier League table, maybe the lure of a “new challenge” and a seemingly bottomless transfer fund might be right up his alley. The fact he reacted to the speculation by saying “everything is possible” only served to fan the flames ahead of this weekend’s game, so expect a lot of cutaway shots of the Italian this weekend.
Vardy on the money: Jamie Vardy to score at any time @ +240 (William Hill). Leicester hitman Vardy is set to return after from injury, and when it comes to finding the net against the Premier League’s “Big Six” sides, there are few better. England striker Vardy has netted 22 goals in his last 41 games against the division’s biggest sides (Chelsea, Man United, Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs) — that’s more than any other player since the start of the 2014-15 season.
Repeat business: We highlighted a long-odds winner a fortnight ago when we picked marauding left back Marcos Alonso to find the net against Arsenal. He was a +400 shot in that game, and though his odds have shortened to +240 for this match, he remains an interesting value pick in the anytime goal scorer market. If you fancy him to open the scoring, he’s available for +800.
Crystal Palace vs. Burnley
Look out for: Two confident sides, for different reasons. Burnley has been superb away from home this season, and they beat Palace in each of their last three Premier League games. Palace, meanwhile, has rebounded superbly after a horrific start to their season. Most recently they earned a goalless draw with Man City on New Year’s Eve, then followed up with a 2-1 away win at Southampton.
Don’t call it a comeback: Burnley/Palace in the halftime/fulltime (double result) market @ +2800 (Bovada). Palace has earned 11 points from losing positions this season, a tally only bettered by Arsenal and Everton (12).
Backing bookings: Palace and Burnley sit third and fourth in the Premier League’s yellow cards table, so expect this one to be well contested. Throw into the mix the fact referee Michael Oliver has issued more bookings than any other ref in the EPL this season, and backing more than six yellow cards at +550 looks a solid value bet.
Huddersfield vs. West Ham
Look out for: West Ham on the attack. The Hammers are unbeaten in three and know they can leapfrog Huddersfield with a win on Saturday. The hosts, meanwhile, haven’t won in their last four outings and will be desperate to grab a win at home.
Man in form: If you’re looking for someone to find the net on the road for West Ham, look no further than Marko Arnautovic. He’s netted in each of West Ham’s last two away games and has three goals from his last three appearances. He’s +230 to score at any time and +600 to score first.
Newcastle vs. Swansea
Look out for: Swansea going for it away from home. The Swans are having a terrible season and currently sit at the foot of the table, but there’s no more fruitful away ground for them than St. James’ Park, where they’ve won more games than at any other away stadium. In total, they’ve won three out of five in Newcastle. On the flip side, Newcastle has traditionally struggled against The Swans, but will look to their more recent form against the Welsh side, having won their last two against Swansea in the Premier League.
A hat-trick of openers? Spanish forward Ayoze Perez netted the only goal of the game when Newcastle beat Southampton on the road on New Year’s Day. And the Newcastle striker helped himself to two more in the FA Cup as they cruised past Luton. He opened the scoring in both games, and he’ll be in confident form ahead of Saturday, where he’s a +500 shot to open the scoring for a third game in a row this weekend.
Watford vs. Southampton
Look out for: Two sides in shocking form. Watford hs lost four of their last five, while Southampton hasn’t won in their last NINE Premier League games. This will either be a dour game of low quality or a game so ridiculously open we could actually see a few goals. Common sense suggests the former.
If one player can make the difference it’s… Nathan Redmond. The former England Under-21 international LOVES playing against Watford, and his record proves it — four goals and one assist. He’s +900 to open the scoring and +300 to find the net at any time.
West Brom vs. Brighton
Look out for: A draw. No side has drawn as many Premier League games this season than West Brom (10), while Brighton is tied for second pn that list (with eight). Despite sitting second to last in the standings, they’ve only lost three times at home this season — to Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. They’ve won just once, meaning they’ve held their opponents to a stalemate on no less than seven occasions at The Hawthorns.
Who can break the deadlock? Glenn Murray. The Brighton striker is in the best recent scoring form, having tallied in his last two appearances for the Seagulls. In a game that could well be decided by a solitary goal, odds of +1600 on Murray to score the first and last goal might offer some interesting value.
Tottenham vs. Everton
Look out for: Spurs goals. Tottenham scored three times in each of their last two games against Everton in the Premier League, and they haven’t lost to the Merseyside outfit since December 2012 — an unbeaten run of nine games. The smart money is on Mauricio Pochettino’s side extending that run into double figures this weekend.
Kane at the double: Every time he takes the field all eyes are on Harry Kane, and this week is no exception. Tottenham’s talismanic target man’s 39 strikes in 2017 broke Alan Shearer’s record for the most Premier League goals in a calendar year, as he outscored not only the best in England, but the best in Europe. His record against Everton is red-hot, too. Kane has scored twice in each of his last two EPL games against the Toffees, and is +230 to score two or more in the late kickoff this Saturday.
Six in a row? If Kane isn’t enough of a threat for Everton to be worried about, Spurs’ South Korean striker Son Heung-Min is in a remarkable run of form heading into this game. Son has scored in each of Tottenham’s last FOUR Premier League games at Wembley. If he makes it five on Saturday, he’ll join Jermain Defoe as the only other Spurs player to score in five home games in a row. He’s +120 to score at any time, and +400 to score first.
Bournemouth vs. Arsenal (Sunday)
Look out for: Arsenal on the attack. The Gunners dropped four points in their last two games, allowing both Liverpool and Tottenham to leapfrog them in the Premier League table. And in the case of the latter, that’s inexcusable. Now the Gunners will be on the offensive as they look to get back to winning ways against a Bournemouth side that has conceded 17 EPL goals at home already this season.
Beating the handicap: Arsenal has scored three times against Bournemouth in each of their last three EPL meetings, and beat them 3-0 at home earlier this season. With Arsenal favored to have a similarly dominant win this time around there’s not a huge amount of value to be had in the usual markets, so a look at the handicaps offers the best chance of a sporting bet and a decent return. The Gunners are +170 to beat a -1 handicap, and +450 to beat a -2 handicap.
Liverpool vs. Manchester City (Sunday)
Look out for: The world’s most expensive defender. Former Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk is likely to make his Premier League debut on Sunday, and what a baptism he’s set to experience. That’s because Liverpool is taking on the undefeated runaway EPL leaders Manchester City.
Defenses on top? The matchup sees the two most exciting attacking sides in the EPL going head to head, with Liverpool hitting 16 goals in their last five EPL games and City scoring 12. But while all eyes are on the array of attacking talent on show, it’s worth noting the two sides are arguably even more impressive defensively, with Liverpool coming into the came with the No. 1 home defense (four goals conceded) and City’s No. 1 away defense (five goals conceded) on show. Whichever way you look at it, it seems like it’ll be a tight matchup and, given both sides’ defensive strengths, a goalless draw at +1600 looks excellent value.
(Odds quoted are current as of Friday night, Jan. 12, and from William Hill unless otherwise stated.)
[Image Credit: Airviews Photography via Creative Commons]