Betting Odds: Tottenham vs. Fulham
- Tottenham moneyline: -353
- Fulham moneyline: +1131
- Draw: +523
- Over/Under: 3 (Over -119/Under +104)
- Kickoff: Saturday, 10 a.m. ET
- Channel: NBC Sports Network
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Newly promoted Fulham were a bit of a media darling heading into the season. Expectations were high around the Cottagers after a fantastic finish to the 2017-18 season in the Championship.
That momentum was halted a bit last weekend as Fulham fell, 2-0, to Crystal Palace in front of their home fans at Craven Cottage.
A loss to Palace isn’t cause for real concern, and Fulham’s underlying numbers weren’t as bad as they were in the box score, but it wasn’t the start that many expected from the Cottagers.
Tottenham on the other hand took all three points in an unconvincing 2-1 away win over Newcastle. Spurs held onto the win thanks to some timely saves from World Cup-winning goalkeeper Hugo Llloris.
Onto Saturday then, as Tottenham are big favorites as they host Fulham at Wembley.
Key Injuries and Tactics
Spurs will be without several key players on Saturday, including Son Heung-Min, Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose.
Fulham will also be dealing with a weakened squad as their defense will be missing Tim Ream and Denis Odoi. It is far from ideal to be missing the heart of your defense against an attack as potent as Tottenham’s, but I don’t expect Spurs to be clicking yet.
Almost all of Tottenham’s best players played deep into the World Cup, and fatigue is very much worth considering when breaking this one down.
Fulham, too, will likely need more time to click as their squad features several new faces after a very active transfer window.
Jean Michael Seri is one of those new players and he looked a serious weapon against Palace and could cause trouble for Spurs in the middle of the park.
Fulham will want Seri and Tom Cairney to keep things tidy in the middle while wunderkind Ryan Sessegnon — who was on Tottenham’s radar this summer — and Andre Schurrle hopefully provide a threat on the flanks.
Going out wide on the counter is likely Fulham’s best chance as Sessegnon and Schurrle could take advantage of backups Ben Davies and Serge Aurier.
Up top Fulham will hope Aleksandar Mitrovic can find a ball to latch on to. He’s a perfect poacher for this scenario as he can wreak havoc inside the box.
As the odds suggest, Spurs — even with a weakened team — are clearly in an entirely different class from Fulham, but is the gap between them truly this wide at this point in the season?
At the current price, the market is suggesting that Spurs have a 77.2% chance of earning the win. Fulham’s implied probability is one-tenth that number at 7.7% while these two teams are expected to draw 16% of the time.
At this point in the season, it’s just too hard to back Spurs at this number. There are too many unknowns, and that gives Fulham a puncher’s chance despite being a big road underdog.
If you think Fulham can win this match one out of every 13 times, there’s value to be had by investing in the away side.
Similarly to backing Leicester against Manchester United last week, there is probably no better time to back a team such as Fulham to take on a contender such as Spurs.
The data backs up that notion as big underdogs tend to do their best work early in the Premier League season. Going back to 2013, dogs that are +270 or longer have been a great bet, with a 23.8% ROI, despite their 26-108 record.
Leicester ultimately fell to United (thanks in large part to a third-minute penalty) but at longer than 7-1 you expect to lose that bet more often than you win it.
That same logic needs to be applied with Fulham against Spurs. You’re taking on a team at long odds, so you can’t expect them to win. But that doesn’t mean the value isn’t there. I’m taking a shot on Fulham +1131.