This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
Following October's international break, the Premier League went back to normal in that matches weren't averaging more than three or four goals per contest. The last four gameweeks have been mostly quiet, with nothing coming close to Aston Villa's five-goal win over Liverpool or Tottenham's 6-1 drubbing of Manchester United.
A lot of that is because of the schedule. The big teams aren't getting much of a rest between matches, as seven are in European competitions. It doesn't help that the big teams also have the most players taking part in international matches, with injuries getting enhanced by COVID-19.
Oddly, the variety in starting XIs had gone down prior to this international break. Most managers have found the guys they trust and a lot of the big ones (Pep Guardiola) are running players into the ground, as seen in Sergio Aguero's new injury.
That probably means more lower-scoring matches are ahead. Tottenham beating West Brom 1-0 is likely the norm as opposed to Crystal Palace beating Leeds United 4-1.
Without that wide range in results, Gameweek 8 went fairly smoothly, though it could've gone better for my picks. I misplayed the Newcastle matchup thinking the absence of Danny Ings would hurt Southampton. Instead, the Saints were a better team with better tactics than the Magpies. My other loss was Arsenal at -530 for a simple win or draw against Villa, which ended my four-piece parlay. I still managed to finish in the positive after focusing on edges in the odds and recent history. I'm more disappointed that I didn't give out Leicester City to beat Wolverhampton 1-0. I didn't think both teams would score and it only made sense to go with Leicester taking the match by a slim margin. At the least, I still hit -115 odds for both teams not to score.
THE WEEK AHEAD
I think one of the bigger advantages for bettors in Gameweek 9 comes from Leicester City as a decent underdog against Liverpool, who may be getting a tad too much respect. The Reds lost Joe Gomez and Mohamed Salah over the international break and will have to start two central defenders who have probably never played a match together in addition to someone else playing for Trent Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool's attack remains one of the best in the league, but Leicester may be the most in-form team (first in the table), and they already showed they could take down the big boys in a 5-2 win over Man City. While Leicester were at +130 to win or draw last week, I still feel comfortable taking them at -114 to win or draw.
There is also some value in taking the over if you think each team will counter the other to death. Salah may be out, but Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota are elite and their back line is also a question. Combine that with a healthy Leicester squad and that seven goals were scored between these teams in two matches last season, and over 2.5 goals at -175 is a viable parlay piece, while over 3.5 goals at +150 is also a reasonable bet.
You can get similar odds on Tottenham at +102 to win or draw against Manchester City, however, they've been a bit more unpredictable this season. They're racking up wins against the bottom dwellers, but none looked easy. While Tottenham took four points from two meetings last season and more points are possible in this spot, I never like betting against Man City, especially when they're mostly healthy, unlike Liverpool.
One year ago, Wolves were a -135 home favorite against Southampton, who went on to finish with 10 more shots in a 1-1 draw. Wolverhampton's only shot on target that match was from the penalty spot. The following matchup was a bit different as Wolverhampton scored three straight goals in the second half to win 3-2. These teams seem to play weird matches, and that's what I expect in this contest. While Wolves are home, it's worth looking at their results as all four of their wins have come against teams in the bottom half of the table (Newcastle, Leeds, Fulham, Sheffield United). In addition to taking Southampton to win or draw at -157, I think using the over 1.5 goals (-265) in a parlay piece is worth a look. Southampton love to attack and I think that'll open up for both teams to get good looks on net.
I want to bet Fulham against Everton, but the return of Richarlison changes everything and getting them at -108 to win or draw isn't good enough. If anything, I think Everton's lack of defense continues in this match, as they've allowed multiple goals in each of their last five. Fulham aren't great in the attack, but they've been more competent in the last month and over 2.5 goals at -141 isn't terrible.
In the opposite mold, I think Sheffield United and West Ham are both going to play their preferred styles, which tends to be more defensive. Sheffield United need points and would be fine with a scoreless result in this spot, while West Ham may not have Michail Antonio again. If you don't like under 2.5 goals at -141 for a single bet, you can use it in a parlay or even go with under 3.5 goals at -400. And similar to last week, you can get better odds on both teams to not score at -108.
Leicester City to win or draw -114
Fulham/Everton over 2.5 goals -141
Sheffield/West Ham both teams won't score -108
Parlay: Liverpool/Leicester over 1.5 goals (-590), Everton win/draw (-375), West Ham win/draw (-235), Burnley/Palace both won't score (-127) = +280