Premier League Week 26 Betting Preview: Back Manchester City to Beat Chelsea

Premier League Week 26 Betting Preview: Back Manchester City to Beat Chelsea article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Man City and Chelsea

  • Manchester City and Liverpool enter the weekend tied for tops in the Premier League but heading in opposite directions.
  • After breaking down the betting market for all ten matches, I've picked out four value plays to make, including Man City-Chelsea (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET on NBC Sports).

Just a couple weeks ago it looked like Liverpool could run away with the title, but two straight draws leaves them level on points (62) with Manchester City at the top of the league table.

Man City do have the benefit of playing an extra game, a 2-0 road win at Everton on Wednesday, but they’re now -135 to lift the trophy. Liverpool were once the odds-on favorites as high as -185, but they’re now available at +140.

This weekend’s marquee match pits Man City against Chelsea (Sunday, 11 a.m. ET on NBC Sports), a game with huge implications. Here’s a look at the latest league standings and trends before diving into all ten EPL matches for Week 26.

2018-19 Season Trends

  • Draws were finally in the black in Week 25, but home teams and road teams both had small setbacks.
  • Leicester City remain the most profitable club to bet on the moneyline, earning +14.12 units this season. Fulham (-15.39 u) and Huddersfield (-15.15 u) have been the worst.
  • The results on favorites/underdogs have been incredibly even so far: favorites have won 146 matches for -0.09 units, underdogs have won 55 games for +3.98 units.
  • The same can be said for over/unders: overs have hit in 115 games for +2.96 units, unders have hit 107 times for -14.10 units (29 pushes).

For Week 26, I’ve analyzed the betting market for every match and provided four value plays (31-57-1 season record, -12.69 units).

(Odds are always on the move until kickoff, so be sure to follow all the latest lines and betting percentages here)


Saturday (7 Matches)

Manchester United at Fulham (7:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports)

Manchester United had a rare slip-up at home against Burnley last weekend, but did fight back for a 2-2 draw. Fulham have had a season full of slip-ups, and lost to Crystal Palace without attempting a shot on target.

For Saturday’s match, United opened -145 and are up to -165 behind the majority of bets (85%). Man United are always a publicly-backed club, but there’s also some sharp money shifting the odds up.

West Ham at Crystal Palace (10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold)

West Ham put in an incredible display against Liverpool on Monday night but couldn’t quite get the win, instead settling for a 1-1 draw. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace were 2-0 victors against Fulham last weekend and will fortunately have Wilfried Zaha available this weekend while he appeals his one-match ban.

The Hammers have been decimated by injuries lately but should head into Saturday with loads of confidence considering how well they played against Liverpool. West Ham opened as +250 underdogs but have drifted into the +265/+270 range despite garnering nearly half the wagers.

 

Arsenal at Huddersfield (10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold)

Arsenal lost at Manchester City, 3-1, on Sunday, but fortunately they’ve got the Premier League’s worst team coming up on the schedule.

Huddersfield are destined to finish dead last in the EPL and haven’t even scored a goal in their last five games (in all competitions). Maybe the pressure is completely off at this point, but they won’t be getting out of the relegation zone.

As an Arsenal fan I’m extremely worried for this game. The Gunners are -160 favorites and receiving more than 90% of moneyline bets, yet the odds haven’t really budged since opening.

It’s become commonplace over the last few years where Arsenal are public road favorites but sharp money comes in on the other side.

Instead of the moneyline, my focus on this game is the total.

Huddersfield can’t possibly be more inept offensively, but luckily for them, Arsenal’s blatant weakness is their defensive unit. I expect to see both teams to score, and love the value on the over (2.5).

Bournemouth at Liverpool (10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold)

Liverpool desperately need a bounce-back win after drawing two straight games as heavy favorites. Bournemouth also need a response after a lackluster loss to Cardiff City, 2-0.

The market expects Liverpool to win as they’re listed as massive -525 favorites. I’m not interested in this matchup but will be hoping the Reds drop points once again.

Cardiff City at Southampton (10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold)

Southampton settled for a brutal draw against Burnley last weekend after stupidly conceding a stoppage time PK.

Cardiff City have put in two positive performances in a row and even earned an outright victory against Bournemouth last Saturday. Southampton’s St. Mary’s Stadium isn’t the most difficult venue to play at (2-4-6 record this year), so Cardiff should go into the game with high hopes.

All the line movement has been toward Southampton (-115 to -135), but I’d consider taking a flier on Cardiff City if their odds get into the +500 range.

Everton at Watford (10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold)

Everton aren’t getting any public love in this matchup after losing two straight league games, and they may be an intriguing bet to buy low on.

The moneyline market has been extremely quiet thus far, but smart money has clearly taken a stance on the under (2.5).

Burnley at Brighton (12:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports)

There’s not a lot of excitement here and I’m sticking with the boring bet of the draw (+235) due to the low over/under of 2 goals.

 

Sunday (2 Matches)

Leicester City at Tottenham (8:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold)

Will Spurs finally draw a match?

They’ve extended the EPL record to 25 games to start the season with either a win or loss, but Sunday is when it will end. At +280 odds, I love the value on these teams splitting the points at Wembley Stadium, and only 5% of bettors are taking that scenario.

Chelsea at Manchester City (11 a.m. ET on NBC Sports)

In one of the most anticipated matches of the season, Manchester City host Chelsea as -200 favorites.

Public bettors have been flocking toward the prospect of Chelsea as big underdogs, but odds keep shifting away from the Blues. I don’t normally like to take favorites, but the -200 price on Man City is too good to pass up on a straight bet, and it’s also the contrarian angle.

Monday (1 Match)

Newcastle at Wolverhampton (3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports)

The final match of Week 26 is an important one between 15th-place Newcastle and 7th-place Wolverhampton.

It’s possible that Newcastle could be in the relegation zone by Saturday afternoon, which would add to the pressure the club is feeling at the moment. They made a big splash at the transfer deadline by acquiring Atlanta United midfield Miguel Almiron, but the move may not be enough to keep them in the EPL for another season.

Bettors seem to agree, and odds on Wolves have moved from -120 to -145 since opening. With more than two days until kickoff, this line could spring into the -160/-170 range.

Value Plays

  • Huddersfield-Arsenal Over 2.5 (-130)
  • Brighton-Burnley Draw (+235)
  • Tottenham-Leicester City Draw (+285)
  • Manchester City (-200) vs. Chelsea