Matchweek 1 came out of absolutely NOWHERE! None of us have had time to breathe since the end of the World Cup, but trust me I’m not complaining.
If you’re new to this, let me give you a brief overview of what I do. I preview all 10 matches for the weekend or weekday and pick the match in accordance to what the spread is. Last season I went 263-236-67 (W-L-D) with a 58% non-loss rate and never once had a negative total record.
If you missed my team-by-team preview for this upcoming season click *HERE*. Let’s get this damn party started!
This Season 0-0-0 (+0.0 Units)
Friday, August 10th
3:00 pm EST
Leicester City @ Manchester United – United and Leicester get us started on Friday afternoon as many questions surround United. They’ve had their manager put a cloud over their summer tour in America upsetting many players and their desperate search for a center back has come up empty. That hole at center back will be a serious issue for them and without many of their main starters in this match, I don’t see United pulling away from Leicester like some may expect. This Leicester side will be healthier, fitter and more confident than this United side and I like the points in this one, even with the large possibility of a push. Leicester City (+1).
Saturday August 11th
7:30 am EST
Tottenham @ Newcastle United – Spurs also come into this with a cloud over their head after not making a single move in the transfer window, the first time a Premier League club has done that since 2003. I don’t think it’s an issue as they’re strapped for cash with their new stadium and clearly Pochettino is content with his squad. Although many players will likely sit for Spurs in this one, they’re out to prove that they’re a top 4 team this season and I think they start off on the right foot. I like Newcastle this season, but they will have a bit to go for them to get used to their new-look lineup especially after losing most of their goalscoring production. Tottenham (-0.5).
10:00 am EST
Chelsea @ Huddersfield – New manager Maruizio Sarri will be making his debut for the Blues as they will be playing their first match with their new lineup. I usually fade teams who have several new starters, several key departures and a new manager and this will be no different. Huddersfield will be hungry for more after staying up last season and a home opener plays out perfectly for them if they want to get out on the right foot, especially against this new-look Chelsea squad. Huddersfield (+1).
Brighton @ Watford – Probably the least sexy matchup of the weekend, but who cares. Brighton won and drew against Watford last season and I don’t see Watford getting any better this year. They lost one of their top scorers and after Marcos Silva left halfway through last year, they looked somewhat lost. I smell a good ol’ draw in this one and that means I’m taking the points in what will most likely be a low-scoring affair. Brighton (+0.5).
Crystal Palace @ Fulham – Only two of the newly-promoted teams in the last 3 seasons have won their opening match in the Premier League, not boding well for Fulham. The line sits at a pickem which means a draw gives you a push and if the team you picked wins, you win the bet. These have extraordinary value in soccer as your chances of losing the bet are much lower than normal. I like the experience Palace has to keep this match to at least a draw, although I think Fulham could really give them a test. I’ll take the more experienced and more established side on the pickem. Crystal Palace (Pick +105).
Cardiff City @ Bournemouth – Another promoted team gets its shot to get off to a good start on their Premier League campaign as Cardiff visit Bournemouth. There are a few reasons why I like Bournemouth in this; they’re just much better than Cardiff, they’re home, they know how to grind out results in the Prem and I think they’ll learn from their horrible start last season and get a win out of the gate. Bournemouth (-0.5).
12:30 pm EST
Everton @ Wolves – Wolves get a chance to prove their worth and justify their expectation at home in Matchweek 1 against Everton. Both of these teams made some serious moves this summer and it will be interesting to see how they gel with so little time together. Although I think Everton are a different animal from last year, Wolves have a shot at home to show the league why people think they have a chance to make some noise this year. Utilize the pickem on the home side here. Wolves (Pick -125).
Sunday, August 12th
8:30 am EST
West Ham @ Liverpool – One of my rules of thumb when picking the matches is if the spread is at 2 or more, I shouldn’t pick the favorite unless I don’t hesitate to take it. This is one of those times where I didn’t hesitate to take Liverpool. At Anfield they are a different animal and they are far and away a better squad than West Ham. Will they win by more than 2? Who knows, but I feel more comfortable in them winning by 3 than them winning by only 1, and that’s the better determinant. Liverpool (-2) .
Burnley @ Southampton – Burnley’s success last season was not only impressive, but unexpected. They’re M.O. was to stifle every team’s offense, grab a goal and then sit back again until the clock hit 90′. But the biggest thing about this match is that they have been trying to qualify for the Europa League the last few weeks including a match on Wednesday in Turkey. You can make the argument that they already have their legs under them, but I think the constant travel and busy schedule will have Burnley out of sync. Southampton (-0.5).
11:00 am EST
Manchester City @ Arsenal – The defending champions head to London to face an Arsenal squad that has undergone some serious changes. Those changes include a new goalie, a new backline and most importantly a new manager. The Gunners finally seem to have a breath of fresh air after years of uncertainty. Unluckily for them, they face the best Premier League team of all time (yeah I said it Arsenal fans what are you going to do about it) and I just can’t fade them. City should get off to another rolling start here and get the 3 points. Man City (-0.5).
That’s all for my Premier League Matchweek 1 preview, I hope everyone can tail my picks or just watch the matches this weekend. Mark my words, watching these matches in the fall/winter in the mornings before football will be the best decision you’ve ever made. But until then, it’s a great reason drink and/or gamble on the weekends while nothing else is on!
Until next week…
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.