This Season: 62-59-27 (+1.9 Units)
UCL Matchweek 3: 2-5-3 (-3.4 Units)
By the 75th minute of the Champions League matches on Wednesday, I was slated to be up over 4 units. Late goals from Benfica, Napoli and Lille ruined that party and swung my picks the other way. That’s the nature of the beast and in some ways gives me more confidence knowing I didn’t completely miss on any of the games.
Let’s pick ourselves up and make sure I don’t dip into the negative in a single season for the first time in 1,144 picks (a.k.a ever). (Don’t worry I’m still very positive all-time).
English Premier League
Friday, October 25th
3:00 pm EST
Leicester City @ Southampton (TV: NBCSN) – Brendan Rodgers has Leicester playing some serious footy right now. They sit in 3rd place, have only lost to United and Liverpool and have only dropped points this year to teams who finished in the top 7 from last season. They’ll face a Southampton team who have earned only 4 points from their last 6 matches and are winless at home with only 1 point. I’ll double down on Leicester to get at least a result (pickem) and a win (moneyline) here. Leicester City Pickem (-140), Leicester City (+125).
Saturday, October 26th
7:30 am EST
Aston Villa @ Manchester City (TV: NBCSN) – Villa picked a bad time to play Man City. The Cityzens are finding their footing after a slight blip in form. After beating Palace 2-0 over the weekend, they gave a beating to Atalanta in the Champions League by the tune of 5-1. But Villa have also been in some impressive form as well, undefeated in their last four in all competitions and only one loss in their last six. The spread sits at 3 here, which is a lot and in principle something I rarely bet, but one thing that concerns me is Villa’s defense. It hasn’t been good enough this season, especially away from home. They’re averaging 2 goals conceded away from Villa Park and have yet to keep a clean sheet in their last four league matches. Meanwhile City’s attack is finding some ridiculous form after Sterling produced a hat trick and an assist this week and the midfield has been providing an infinite amount of chances. This one could get ugly for Villa, especially if City score early, and I don’t want to be on the wrong side of it. Manchester City -3 (+110).
10:00 am EST
Everton @ Brighton (TV: NBCSN) – Everton got a much needed win last weekend against West Ham, bringing them some distance from the relegation zone. They’ve been pretty inconsistent this season though with only 1 draw through 9 matches with only 10 points. Brighton are in a similar boat, sitting only 1 point behind Everton and only 1 win in their last 3 league matches. I don’t want to bet on either one of these teams so I’m going to try to nail the draw here. Both teams have struggled for wins and even though I think Everton are the better team, I think they’ll have trouble on the road where they haven’t won yet. DRAW (+225).
Bournemouth @ Watford – Watford have now earned back to back draws against Sheffield and Spurs, two results that are far from their horrendous form earlier in the season. But Bournemouth won’t be a pushover here either as they’ve only had 1 loss in their last 5 league matches, which was against Arsenal in London. Away from home, Bournemouth have 6 points through 4 matches and have yet to have a result that wasn’t justified this season. I don’t have the stomach to bet on Watford so I’m going to play it safe and take the points even with the steep price. Bournemouth +0.5 (-135).
Sheffield United @ West Ham – West Ham’s disappointing form might be turning into worrying form after a run of 3 winless league matches. They’re also nursing injuries to a few key players while Sheffield has a healthy bill of health. Betting-wise, Sheffield have covered the spread more than anyone else going 7-2 and 4-0 away from home. Sheffield have also conceded more than 1 goal only once in their last 5 matches and are yet to lose by more than 1 goal in all of their 9 matches this season. I can’t keep picking against this Sheffield team especially when they’re underdogs away from home yet again, a situation they’ve thrived in all season long. Sheffield United +0.5 (-125).
12:30 pm EST
Chelsea @ Burnley (TV: NBC) – Another team pushing above their weight this season? Burnley. They’re 3-3-3 this season so far but have been overachieving on an individual match basis, only failing to beat Vegas’ number once this season. Burnley only have 1 loss this season at home too, conceding only 3 goals in those 4 matches. I want to take them as home dogs, but I look at Chelsea and I can’t ignore their form. They’ve won 6 straight matches across three different competitions and they’re coming off of a big win at Ajax in the Champions League. The Blues also rank 3rd in the league in points away from home with their only loss coming in the first match of the season against Manchester United. I’m not going to fade Chelsea while they’re on this run. Chelsea -0.5 (-125).
Sunday, October 27th
10:00 am EST
Wolves @ Newcastle United (TV: NBCSN) – Wolves have played a lot of matches this season and will be travelling from Slovakia this week after their 2-1 win against Slovan Bratislava (?) in the Europa League. They’ve now gone 7 matches unbeaten with 3 wins and a draw away from home in that stretch. Wolves are really starting to play like they did last year and are showing some serious determination in their last few matches, coming from behind in their last two and going to City and getting a win before that. Newcastle meanwhile only have 1 win in their last 7 matches and haven’t shown too much to write home about, outside of that weird win against United. I like Wolves to get at least a point here and likely the win. Pickem is great value. Wolves Pickem (-125).
12:30 pm EST
Crystal Palace @ Arsenal – A London Derby leads us into a rare three-match primetime Sunday slate. Arsenal have been an enigma this season with their results. One day they’re drawing Watford after being up 2-0, then they’re coming back down 2-0 to Spurs to get a draw, losing to Sheffield last weekend and then coming back from being down twice to Vitoria in the Europa League this week only to win 3-2. Palace have been great this season though, sitting only 1 point back of Arsenal in 6th place. They’ve had only one bad game all season, a blowout loss to Spurs, and they have played up to par for the last four matches with their only loss in that span coming to City last Saturday. So when I see Palace as one-goal underdogs with a positive price, my mouth starts to salivate. Arsenal have yet to win by more than one goal in the league this season and Palace have only lost by more than one goal once this season. I’ll take Palace as underdogs with a really attractive price. Crystal Palace +1 (+115).
Tottenham @ Liverpool (TV: NBC) – The match of the weekend brings us a rematch of last season’s Champions League Final, where Liverpool won 2-0. Spurs got a much needed win this week in the Champions League, but it came at home against Red Star Belgrade. Liverpool meanwhile went to Genk and blew them out 4-1. Spurs have not had a result that has really jumped off the page against a decent opponent since their win against Palace in mid-September. They’ve disappointed against Newcastle, Arsenal, Olympiacos, Colchester, Bayern Munich, Brighton and Watford. Liverpool meanwhile have disappointed only once, this past weekend at Manchester United which was very clearly a trap game. This, is not. I love Liverpool to run away with this one as they should be getting back to full health and the comfort of Anfield. Liverpool -1 (-115).
Manchester United @ Norwich City – Norwich will be chomping at the bit to play a vulnerable Manchester United side. Yes United got a big result against Liverpool and yes they got their first away win in 12 matches this week in the Europa League, but this is the perfect storm for Norwich. They know they can take it to United and fluster them early, similar to their strategy against City. But unlike against City, and they don’t feel like they’re risking the chance of a massive defeat in implementing that strategy. Regarding United’s win this Thursday, they really didn’t play well and needed a penalty to get over the finish line with 3 points. Their injury list is piling up and a trip back from Serbia with only a few days rest and a banged up squad could be a recipe for disaster. I’ll take the home dogs. Norwich City +0.5 (+105).
That’s all for my picks for the weekend! Good luck to all!
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.