EPL best bets for the weekend of August 12th-14th
The 2023/24 Premier League season gets underway this evening when champions Manchester City start their defense at newly promoted Burnley. Today’s match looks like a great way to start the new campaign with Burnley managed by their former captain and club legend Vincent Kompany up against his former club and his mentor Pep Guardiola. But in terms of value for bettors, this is a match to leave alone.
Bournemouth vs. West Ham
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. ET
Last season, we made a nice profit in this column, and I am delighted to be back to find the best bets from now until June. My first wager comes down on England’s south coast when Bournemouth hosts West Ham.
It’s been all change at these two clubs during the summer, but all the arrivals have been at Bournemouth. Although West Ham made their first signing of the summer yesterday with the capture of Edson Alvarez, a huge number of quality players have headed for the exit door at the London Stadium.
The big departure for The Hammers was the sale of their captain and best player Declan Rice, who moved from East London to North London to join Arsenal. Rice was a huge influence both on and off the pitch, and he is going to be a very tough act to replace. Other departures were Manuel Lanzini, Gianluca Scamacca and the excellent Lucas Paqueta, who is on the verge of joining Manchester City.
They are big players to lose, and although Harry Maguire looks set to arrive from Manchester United, along with possibly James Ward-Prowse from Southhampton, they will be a lot weaker than last season with the players that have left.
The Hammers ended the season with European success after lifting the European Conference League trophy, but that ended a terrible domestic season that saw them avoid relegation by only six points.
West Ham have had a terrible preseason. They were awful in their last warm-up match against Bayer Leverkusen and go into the new campaign with their best player gone and their manager the heavy minus-money favorite to be the next Premier League manager to be fired.
Bournemouth, unlike their opponents, have been active in the transfer window, giving new boss Andoni Iraola a huge budget to strengthen the squad, and he has certainly done that by spending almost $70 million on some quality signings.
The Cherries will be a lot stronger than last season, and this looks like a classic public play where the more fashionable side is being bet. Because it’s the opening day of the new season, I would suggest keeping the stakes small and taking Bournemouth on the draw no bet market at -105 with the bet a push if the match ends in a draw.
Pick: Bournemouth on the draw no bet market (the draw is a push) at -105 vs. West Ham
Brighton vs. Luton
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. ET
The fairytale story of Luton Town’s rise from the English non-league to the dizzy heights of the Premier League will be complete on Saturday when they make their debut in the top flight at Brighton.
The Luton story has been one that has captured the imagination of bettors stateside, but this is going to be a very, very tough season for The Hatters, and you would be mad to believe that they can open the season with a win at the Amex.
Luton will pick up points at home as their Kenilworth Road ground is compact and will be unfamiliar surroundings for the EPL big boys. On the road, I really worry for them. Last season in the Championship, Luton won just once in their last seven road matches, and that was at lowly Rotherham. A trip to Brighton is a very different proposition. Brighton has sold their best two players to Liverpool with World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and Moses Caicedo arriving at Anfield for a combined $191 million. Although they will certainly miss those two, Brighton have the best recruitment in the EPL, and they are still one for the parlays at -300.
I believe that Brighton will win this and win it well. Their record against bottom-half sides in the EPL last season was an impressive one, losing once against those sides, and I would argue that Luton is weaker than all of those teams that finished in the bottom half last season.
The bet I like here is Brighton -1.5 on the Asian handicap at -104. In seven of the 10 matches against those bottom-half teams, the Seagulls covered the spread and, unfortunately, the Luton fairy tale ends tomorrow and reality kicks in.
Pick: Brighton -1.5 on the Asian handicap at -104 vs. Luton
Manchester United vs. Wolves
Monday, 3:00 p.m. ET
When doing the research for this opening weekend, the one thing that shocked me was that Manchester City are currently on a 30-match unbeaten run in all competitions at Old Trafford. That form had certainly passed me by, and it should give United fans optimism heading into the 2023/24 season. The last time United lost at home was on the opening day of last season against Brighton. Monday night’s football gives Erik ten Hag a great opportunity to go a full calendar year without an EPL loss at home.
United have a new goalkeeper in Andre Onana, and he goes into a side that had the best home defense in the division last season with just 10 goals conceded. His predecessor David de Gea had the most clean sheers in the top flight with 17, and I am expecting nothing to change in this one against Wolves, a club in crisis.
Wolves go into the new season with their manager, Julen Lopetegui, leaving the club just days before the opening match. The club also has FPP issues to deal with, and they look like a team to fade, especially in the early part of the campaign until things behind the scenes clear up.
This match is traditionally an Under match with nine of the last 10 cashing on Under 2.5 goals, and in those matches, Wolves have failed to score in seven of them. I am slightly concerned about betting Under 2.5 goals this time around, as Wolves currently look in real trouble, and United could easily cover that on their own, especially if new striker Rasmus Hojlund is fit to make his United debut. I just can’t see Wolves scoring though, so instead of taking the -300 on United on the moneyline, the way I am going to approach Monday Night Football is to take Manchester United to win to nil which cashed in both matches last season between the two and is available at +120.
Pick: Manchester United to win to nil vs. Wolves at +120