EPL Best Bets

Let’s get into this week’s Premier League matches and my EPL best bets.

Luton Town vs. Brentford

Saturday, 10:00 a.m. ET


This is not only a huge match for Luton Town; it is a must-win match for them and my first EPL best bet. The two sides directly above them play each other on Sunday, and so the Hatters know if they can claim victory here, they will gain points on at least one of their nearest rivals, potentially both.

A win will also give them the psychological boost of climbing out of the relegation zone regardless of the result at Goodison Park the following day. Generally, this season Rob Edwards has seen his side play the role of gallant loser. It’s time for points rather than plaudits.

They have gone toe to toe with the top sides in the division and given many a scare. They have also picked up points against teams around them at the foot of the table, including their last home game, a 2-1 defeat of Bournemouth, which also ended a winless run of 10 league games.

The one constant with Luton this season is that they score goals. Even when up against it last weekend at Manchester City, they still got on the scoresheet. They never give up.

Luton have scored in 15 of their 16 home games this season and in all the last 12. That run includes fixtures against all the top four: Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Aston Villa. Across all venues, they have hit the back of the net in 20 of their last 21 Premier League games, only failing to do so away at Arsenal, the team with the best defensive record this term.

I faded their opponents here, Brentford, last week and only fell to a heart-breaking goal three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the match. The pattern of the game only highlighted to me it was the right bet and I’m back for more this week.

Brentford’s top scorer and talisman since they were promoted to the Premier League has been Ivan Toney. However, something has clearly gone wrong behind the scenes, with the England international sitting out the entirety of last weekend’s game on the bench. Whatever the backstory, without him in the side, the Bees’ attack is severely depleted.

Prior to that win against Bournemouth, where they needed to come from a goal down to claim all three points, Luton’s last home game was against Nottingham Forest. Once again, they showed their fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude by scoring late on to claim a priceless draw.

The Hatters have three home games remaining. After this one, they host Everton and Fulham.

For me, they must get a minimum of seven points from those fixtures to stand a chance of survival. They will start that by giving this game a real go against a Brentford side you could argue are all but safe following last week’s win.

You must question Brentford’s desire for a scrap against what will be a typically aggressive home side roared on by their passionate support in their tight and compact Kenilworth Road stadium. Especially given their poor road record.

Thomas Frank’s side have won just one of their last 12 matches away from home in all competitions with 10 defeats in those fixtures. All of which makes it incredible Luton are priced as the big underdog.

I wouldn’t put anyone off betting Luton on the moneyline at a big price that holds plenty of value. But given the home side do concede plenty of goals too I am concerned about the tie so would like to keep it onside in some form. For that reason, Luton Tie No Bet is the official play at +130. It’s a nice return for a home win but an insurance policy of money back should the game end in a tie.

EPL Best Bet: Luton Town Tie No Bet at -132.

Everton vs. Nottingham Forest

Sunday, 08:30 p.m. ET

The game I just discussed has massive implications for this match. If Luton loses, a draw could suit both these sides. If Luton wins, that puts huge pressure on both sides to take three points, too, but certainly to ensure they do not lose.

The play here is for under 2.5 goals. With the game being the day after Luton’s fixture that helps the bet and expect a cagey affair with both sides desperate not to lose.

Regardless of that scenario, the statistics of both sides make this a must-play. Everton were dreadful on Monday as they were embarrassed 6-0 by Chelsea.

Sean Dyche described his side’s performance as “ugly” and “dire” in a game where they failed to do the basics. A non-negotiable for the no-nonsense boss. You can guarantee he will be well into his side this week in training and ensuring no stone is left unturned in making them far more well drilled.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed the game with a hamstring injury but could be back for this. Although he has only five goals, his status as Everton’s most likely goal threat speaks volumes. His last two goals were a penalty and a goalkeeper’s clearance that rebounded off him and into the empty net.

Only the bottom two have scored fewer goals at home this season than the Toffees 17, while only Sheffield United have scored fewer overall. In the perfect storm for our bet, though, they have the fifth-best defense on home soil, with only the top three conceding fewer overall despite that hammering on Monday. While visitors Nottingham Forest have scored the fifth-lowest total of goals away from home this term.

The game state, part of the season we are in, and goal statistics all point to a low-scoring affair. A couple of years ago, this line would have been 2.25 without doubt, but this season’s crazy numbers have seen an automatic increase for every goal line. We can use that to our advantage here.

The reverse fixture saw a 1-0 win for Everton while when they met here last year the game ended in a 1-1 draw with both goals coming in the final 10 minutes. There is no reason to expect anything different this time around and at an exceptional price.

EPL Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at -108.

Aston Villa vs. Bournemouth

Sunday, 10:00 a.m. ET

Aston Villa were my bet of the season last weekend and cashed spectacularly, and I’m going in again. They were awesome against Arsenal and not only covered the +1.75 handicap I put up but won the game 2-0 at huge odds.

Initially, my eyes lit up when I saw them available here at -125 on the moneyline, but they have been bet in to -136. So instead, the bet is -0.75 Asian Handicap at -113.

I have heard people talking about their concern that Villa are playing in Europe on Thursday. But the games is in Northern France and a matter of a train ride away.

At this stage of the season, there are a few teams you would hand-pick to play against, ones with nothing at stake, and try to play nice, attractive, easy-on-the-eyes football. I have just described Bournemouth.

You can point to the Cherries recent strong form which has seen them lose just one of their last seven league games. However, five of those were at home and their last road game ended in a 2-1 defeat at Luton.

Andoni Iraola has only seen his side victorious once away from home this calendar year. That win coming at relegation-threatened Burnley.

A crucial point which would be easy to overlook is the landscape for European qualification for English clubs. After both Manchester City and Arsenal exited the Champions League on Wednesday night it is all but certain only the top four will qualify for next season’s competition.

Villa currently occupies fourth place in the table and will be desperate to hold onto that now that the safety net of a fifth-place finish being good enough is very unlikely to be there. That suddenly makes this a huge clash and something of a must-win fixture.

Unai Emery’s side had a little blip around Christmas after an incredible run of home form had seen them win 15 consecutive league games. They have steadied the ship and are currently on a four-game unbeaten run at home in all competitions, winning three.

In Ollie Watkins the Villains have one of the hottest striking properties around. Nineteen goals for the season puts him one behind in the race for the Golden Boot, and all from open play, not one from the penalty spot. At the other end Emiliano Martinez is showing the form that has him rated as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

Riding a crest of a wave and with their huge crowd fully behind them the home side should have too much for this Bournemouth outfit with nothing to play for. A reminder half the stake is on a Villa win and the other half is on the -1 Asian Handicap meaning to fully cash we need a victory by a margin of two or more goals. Something they have done in eight of their 11 home league wins this campaign including both of the last two.

EPL Best Bet: Aston Villa -0.75 Asian Handicap at -113.