We have a great matchweek ahead of us as we return to some midweek action in the Premier League after some time in cup competition. Although there are no top 6 matchups, there are a few tight matchups I have my eye on including some that will be big for top 4 and relegation spots. There’s always money in the crumbs!
But first some thoughts on the USMNT friendly against Panama.
The first match under new manager Gregg Berhalter went as well as it could’ve possibly gone in a 3-0 win against a Panama B squad. Yes it was a Panama B squad but they dominated throughout. But it wasn’t the result that grabbed my attention the most.
The way these young and inexperienced kids played Berhalter’s system was something I haven’t seen a USMNT team do before. They played out the back successfully with a brand new backline and a 23 year-old keeper. They spread their wingers wide, opening up space in the middle for Bradley and Milhailovic to have space and pass through the lines effectively. They felt and looked comfortable on the ball, inviting pressure because their confidence told them they can pass through the opposition. Yes it was a bad Panama side, but for years we’ve seen even our first team struggle against Concacaf B sides with a lack of quality and tactics.
If this can translate to the regular first team and against a better opponent, this team may start to make some noise over the next few years.
This Season’s Record: 121-111-29 (-4.4 Units)
Matchweek 23 Record: 7-6 (-0.5 Units)
Tuesday, January 29th
English Premier League
2:45 pm EST
Cardiff City @ Arsenal – Sadly for Cardiff, this match will be played with some serious emotion and heartache as their newest and record-breaking signing Emiliano Sala disappeared on a plane over the English Channel. Most of the searches have been called off and they’re calling his survival highly doubtful. I hate to say it, but this does give Cardiff some sort of edge here as they’ll for sure be playing with extra motivation for their fallen would’ve-been teammate. This one should be a pretty high-scoring match on paper as they have two of the weakest defenses in the Premier League this season. I was seeing if I could get Arsenal at -1.5 and hope they sneaked out a two-goal win but the line was set at 2 and I decided couldn’t fade Cardiff. Are they going to win? Hell no, but I don’t see them losing by more than two with how bad the Arsenal defense is as well as the injuries they’re dealing with. Bellerin is out for the season with a torn ACL, Koscielny broke his jaw and will be out at least another month and Sokratis is out for three more weeks with an ankle injury. I’ll take the points here. Cardiff (+2, -125).
Brighton @ Fulham – Fulham come into this as a home pickem, usually my favorite bet in the Premier League but here’s why I won’t be picking them Tuesday. Brighton only have two losses in their last seven, 1-0 to Liverpool and 2-1 to United, proving that they can adapt to each match and beat any opponent. To add to that, Fulham have only 12 points from home matches this season and have lost four straight in all competitions. Brighton also have a really good price on the pickem, making it too hard to fade them. Brighton (Pick, +130).
Everton @ Huddersfield – Boy are Huddersfield atrocious. They have not won a match since November 25th, making it eleven straight without a win and only one draw during that span. Everton, for their standard, haven’t been that good either. They have been on and off of form going LLWLLWWLL in their last nine matches including a cup loss to Milwall on Saturday. But Huddersfield are currently -3300 to get relegated ($330 to win $10) and are 1-2-9 this season at home. I physically can’t stomach to bet on them here even with the home field advantage. Everton (-0.5, +110).
West Ham @ Wolves – West Ham’s inconsistency from the fall has returned as they fell to Bournemouth and Wimbledon in the FA Cup right after beating Arsenal at home. They’re rittled with injuries and have a congested fixture list, limiting their options for their starting XI from a game-to-game basis. Wolves on the other hand have also been a bit inconsistent but have the quality and depth to navigate a tough fixture schedule and to beat anyone in the league. It takes a lot for me to fade this Wolves team at home here, especially with positive odds. Wolves (-0.5, +105).
Burnley @ Manchester United (NBCSN) – I honestly thought this line would be 2 or even 2.5 with how United have been playing and with Burnley’s recent 5-0 drubbing in the cup on Saturday to City. But Vegas seems to be really valuing Burnley’s form before that City match where they went five straight without a loss and four straight wins during that span. But I think Burnley going to Old Trafford could be a disaster waiting to happen as their last four matches against the top six have been a total loss of 12-2. This team can hold its own against the bottom of the table but it really finds trouble against the big dogs in the league. Manchester United (-1.5, -120).
3:00 pm EST
Manchester City @ Newcastle United – Another line I was slightly puzzled at as City ride into St. James Park Tuesday afternoon. The line sits at -2 during a point when City have won eight straight and their last five matches they’ve gone 28-0 in scoring. To add to that, City have not lost to Newcastle in the league in almost 14 years and are in desperate need of as many points and goals as possible. This one was a complete no-brainer to me. Manchester City (-2, -110) 2 UNITS.
Wednesday, January 29th
2:45 pm EST
Chelsea @ Bournemouth – There’s something about these two teams that convinces me it’ll be a close match. Chelsea haven’t won by more than 1 goal in the league since December 8th, Bournemouth have the 6th best home record, Chelsea only won 1-0 at home in December in this matchup and Bournemouth are going to be well-rested while Chelsea had a Cup game on Sunday. With the spread sitting at 1, I couldn’t help but take the Cherries at home. Bournemouth (+1, -115).
Crystal Palace @ Southampton – This is a heavily-juiced Southampton pickem, so I’m actually going to stay away from the line and bet the moneyline instead. But where to go with the moneyline bet? Neither has that much value, especially since it’s a battle to distance themselves from the bottom three which usually result in draws. But Southampton are home, unbeaten in their last five in all competitions and will have 11 days of rest compared to Palace’s 3 days of rest. I like the Saints on the moneyline here for those reasons. Southampton (+135).
3:00 pm EST
Watford @ Tottenham – Spurs have had a crazy few weeks. First they lose Son to international duty for the Asian Cup, then Harry Kane hurts a ligament in his ankle and is out 2-3 months, Dele Alli hurts his hamstring and will miss a similar amount of time, they lose Demebele to China and finally they fell out of both cup tournaments in the same week. They now play a Watford team who have gone six straight unbeaten and have not lost an away match since December 1st. They’re a quality side who disrupt a lot of the top teams in the league and I think they have a real chance to steal points here at Wembley. Watford (+1, -120) 2 UNITS.
Leicester City @ Liverpool – Some people are calling this Liverpool’s trap game but I disagree completely. Leicester are in a complete free-fall right now with four losses out of five including to Cardiff, Newport County and Southampton at home. Liverpool at Anfield are a juggernaught 99% of the time and I don’t see them slipping. Liverpool (-2, +110).
That’s all for this weekend! Enjoy!
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.