Happy New Year!!
In case you missed it, we now have a podcast and we dropped a new episode this week with our mid-season Premier League team grades, our decade awards and a preview of this weekend’s matches. Check it out below.
ALSO, please check out our new twitter page @canikickitpod.
Let’s get down to business.
Last Two Seasons: 321-267-89 (+23.6 units)
This Season: 109-97-41 (+10.8 Units)
Matchweek 20: 3-3 (-0.6 Units)
I’ve somewhat stalled over the last few matchweeks which is better than going in the negative. The festive fixtures are really hard to navigate as some teams are playing three matches in five or six days, which makes it hard to pick matches.
The good news about the congested fixtures though is the fact that we get nine matches on New Year’s Day spanning from 7:30 am EST to 3:00 pm EST. Here is the fixture list…
English Premier League
Wednesday, January 1st
7:30 am EST
Chelsea @ Brighton (TV: NBCSN) – Brighton are beginning to look like a tough out for most teams in the league over the last few weeks. They just beat Bournemouth at home 2-0 which isn’t saying much but they’re 2-2-2 in their last six with their only losses coming at Spurs and home to a really solid Sheffield team. They’ve also only lost two of their last eight home matches. Chelsea meanwhile have been great away from home this season but they’ve been really inconsistent overall the last few weeks, going fourteen matches without back to back wins. I love Brighton as home underdogs here. Brighton +0.5 (-115).
Aston Villa @ Burnley – Burnley are also becoming a solid pick as of late, especially against clubs lower in the table. They’ve yet to lose to teams in the bottom half of the table and their record against those clubs stands at 6-2-0, 4-0 at home. Villa meanwhile have only four points in their ten away matches this season, ranking last in the league. They’re also an abysmal 1-5 in their last six league matches. I’ll gladly take Burnley at home to get the three points here. Burnley -0.5 (-120).
10:00 am EST
Wolves @ Watford – Watford have begun to turn things around with three straight matches gaining points against United (W, 3-0), Sheffield (D, 1-1) and Aston Villa (W, 3-0). The only problem with those results is that they’re not sustainable for a team like Watford who haven’t shown enough this season that they can string together good results. They’ll now face a Wolves team who just recently had a comeback win against Man City and a close loss at Liverpool. I think Vegas is overvaluing a Watford team who likely can’t keep this form up. I’ll take the Wolves moneyline which sits at a tasty +125. Wolves +125.
12:30 pm EST
Crystal Palace @ Norwich City – This line kind of confuses me. The bookmakers have this match as a pickem even though Norwich have only gained three points from a possible twenty one in the month of December. Crystal Palace meanwhile have only one loss in their last seven matches and have shown that they’re one of the more resilient sides in the league. Away from home they also only have one loss in their last four. Palace have been a great team on the pickem line and with positive odds here, I can’t fade them. Crystal Palace Pickem (+115).
3:00 pm EST
Manchester United @ Arsenal (TV: NBCSN) – Neither of these two teams have played well this season but there’s one who has salvaged a bit of their campaign. United have begun to turn things around and they now sit in 5th place only four points off the top four. Arsenal meanwhile have one one win in their last fifteen matches in all competitions and have slipped all the way down to 12th place. To many, this feels like a no-brainer pick for United but I disagree. There’s no way Arsenal continue this form and I truly believe this is the match they begin to turn things around and at the very least get points. If there’s one team to break Arsenal’s slump this season, it’s gotta be Manchester United. Arsenal Pickem (-105).
The rest of the matches I couldn’t find something I liked. Man City/Everton had too big of a spread but also the chance of a City blowout, Leicester/Newcastle also had a larger spread than I wanted but I don’t want to fade Leicester, Spurs/Southampton’s feels like a trap game for Spurs and I’m not comfortable taking Southampton yet, Bournemouth/West Ham are two teams I’m avoiding completely and Liverpool/Sheffield feels too unstable.
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.