This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
The matches continue and there's nothing that will stop them, not even the transfer window. Once again, every team is in action midweek followed by a full weekend schedule. There was some squad rotation this past weekend and that'll likely continue to be the case over the next few days. Some teams run their players into the ground and others like to rotate every few days, which is something to keep in mind when lineups release.
Making bets two gameweeks in advance is never a good idea, and that's what my recent numbers show. I was riding the Liverpool fade and then they found some form again and I was left with West Ham to win or draw in last week's article. Fading a team like Liverpool is like playing the stock market: you keep riding it while it works but once they got that win against Tottenham, it was time to jump off. Similar to last week, there are a slew of midweek matches before the weekend, but I'll try my best to steer clear of any bear markets.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Before I look at the weekend there are a couple things to monitor Wednesday and Thursday. Manchester City are -129 to win to nil against Burnley, who may not have Chris Wood or Ashley Barnes. Burnley play worse against possession-based teams, which is why they struggled against Chelsea and managed one shot on target in the 5-0 loss against Man City earlier in the season.
This weekend is highlighted by a lot of even matches, with the Liverpool and Manchester City battle overshadowing the rest. That won't stop me from betting Brighton and Burnley in a matchup no one is excited for. I suggested Brighton and Tottenham to draw last week, but the injury to Harry Kane took away the possibility of a stoppage-time equalizer. I'm taking a similar approach in what will be another defensive match Saturday.
Brighton and Burnley played to a scoreless draw earlier in the season when they combined for four shots on target. I think Brighton have the edge, but I'm not comfortable backing them. You can get decent odds on both teams not to score at -134. There have been just four goals scored in total in Brighton's last four matches, while at least one team hasn't scored in five of Burnley's last six. If you think it finishes 1-0 to either side or another scoreless draw, under 1.5 goals is +175. If you want to secure an early winner, a goal won't be scored in both halves is -141. When it's 0-0 at the break, the bet would already be a winner.
Betting on even teams is never easy and that's where I'm between Aston Villa and Arsenal. I like Villa after they won the previous meeting 3-0, but Arsenal are playing well (when they aren't down a man or two) and there isn't much in the odds. You can take Villa on a draw no bet at +100 and you'll be counting on them to win again, which I don't think will happen. You could bet a draw at +260, but I'm not sure that's the best route.
I'd rather take a swing on Newcastle draw no bet (+112) against Southampton. Reading back the last paragraph, it seems like a terrible idea to put money on Newcastle rather than Aston Villa, but this is more of a play against Southampton. I originally had win or draw at -132, but those odds jumped to -180 after the Saints were demolished Tuesday. Southampton aren't the same team and could be playing with more youth team players in central midfield and at center-back.
Instead of looking at sides, there are a couple openings to bet on goals. A few weeks ago, both West Ham and Fulham were playing well in the back, but fatigue has possibly been an issue because neither team rotates much. Prior to midweek, there were at least three goals scored in West Ham's last three matches, while Fulham fell apart defensively in the second half against West Brom. If those things continue, over 2.5 goals at -112 is a reasonable play.
I don't know what's going on with Tottenham, but it's also reasonable to take over 2.5 goals at -143 between them and West Brom. It makes sense to avoid this matchup because of the absence of Kane, but there have been at least three goals scored in seven-straight matches for the Baggies. They can't defend anyone and, on the other end, Tottenham have suddenly hit a wall and Jose Mourinho is changing his formation and back line every match.
I had an idea to take Sheffield United +1 against Chelsea, but they lost the prior matchup 4-1 and I'm still unsure on how to bet on this Thomas Tuchel side. That leads me to the match of the weekend.
Liverpool have seemed to have found their legs a bit and some new defensive signings should help the rest of the way, while Man City have been dominant, as Ederson had seven straight league clean sheets prior to the match at Burnley. This matchup usually features goals, but there's a chance this game is a little more defensive like earlier in the season when it finished 1-1 with five combined shots on goal. Liverpool got an early penalty and City equalized in the 31st minute, but neither side broke through in the final hour. You can get under 2.5 goals at +128 or get even better odds on both teams not to score at +160. That second bet means you'll lose on another 1-1 result, but I'm fine with that. I think this is the type of matchup that will finish 1-0 or 2-0 to either side. Whoever gets the early goal will aim to control possession and hunker down the rest of the way, especially if the first goal comes in the second half.
Man City are rolling, but their schedule has been pretty lackluster in the last month or two and this is a step up in competition. Sure, they're playing well, but the easy opportunities won't be there (hopefully) against Liverpool.
Manchester City to win to nil against Burnley -129
Brighton/Burnley both teams won't score -134
Liverpool/Manchester City both teams won't score +160
Newcastle draw no bet against Southampton +112
Parlay: Tottenham/West Brom over 2.5 goals, Leeds/Crystal Palace over 2.5 goals = +179