Best bets for this weekend’s EPL matches:
Liverpool vs. Fulham
Sunday, 9:00 a.m. ET
We are coming up to what is traditionally a crazy period in the English soccer season. Midweek European fixtures lead into the weekend action followed by a weekday full round of domestic fixtures with most clubs playing eight games between now and Christmas.
It is not only survival of the fittest but a case of those with the biggest squads holding a huge advantage. A Thursday night engagement with LASK of Austria will not concern Liverpool ahead of this Sunday morning home clash with Fulham.
Jurgen Klopp could put out pretty much any side he wants in the Europa League and still see his men progress to the knockout stages. How seriously he takes the latter part of Europe’s lesser-ranked tournament will depend on whether his team is still in the hunt for the Premier League title as they are currently.
Occupying third in the English top flight the Reds are just two points off leaders Arsenal and are all but assured of a Champions League qualifying position come the end of the domestic campaign. This fixture represents a massive opportunity to keep the pressure on at the top, and rest assured it will have their laser focus.
I was very impressed with Liverpool last weekend against Manchester City, especially in the second half. They dominated the match and were the better side, containing the treble winners with relative ease.
This is from a side where the manager is still not 100% certain of his best starting 11 or how to optimize the talents of Darwin Nunez. Once Klopp gets a settled side, expect them to slip into top gear for the final third of the season. The fact they are around the head of the table now is a massive bonus to those of us holding pro-Liverpool tickets.
The home side is understandably very warm, unbackable favorites to win this one. However, where there is a will, there is a way, and I have an excellent same-game parlay to get them onside at plus money.
My selection is for Liverpool to win and for Fulham to score under 0.5 goals. That’s a Liverpool win-to-nil in old money!
The Reds have won all six of their league games on home soil so far this term with this bet cashing in four of them. Having conceded only two goals at Anfield, they boast the best home defensive record in the Premier League.
Their last three matches at home have seen them run out 2-0 winners against Everton, defeating both Nottingham Forest and Brentford 3-0. Those sides are all comparable to this struggling Fulham outfit.
The Cottagers have only won once on the road this campaign, and that was on the opening weekend. Losing 2-0 to Tottenham, 3-1 to Aston Villa and 5-1 to Manchester City since then.
In the last 11 editions of this fixture, backers of BTTS No would have cashed every time! Liverpool winning-to-nil on seven occasions, including last season when a Mo Salah penalty was enough to split the sides.
Pick: Liverpool to win and Fulham under 0.5 goals at +112.
Bournemouth vs. Aston Villa
Sunday, 9:00 a.m. Em
This is a simple selection for me: Aston Villa on the Moneyline at +100.
I think people have got a little carried away with Bournemouth after they recorded back-to-back wins. They were in the right place at the right time to take advantage of a Newcastle side that could hardly put 11 fit players out on the pitch. Then last weekend, they beat one of the worst teams the Premier League has seen in the form of Sheffield United.
I am convinced the players the Cherries got with the money they have spent aren’t good enough. They are just very fortunate there are three or four teams even worse than them at the bottom of the table.
On the other hand, Aston Villa are the real deal. Unai Emery has built and coached a sensational side.
Everyone is talking about the Villains’ home form, which has seen them win an incredible 13 successive Premier League games at Villa Park. Their away form, which has seen them already go to Chelsea and win, flies a little under the radar. Last week’s 2-1 road win at Tottenham lifted them to fourth in the table.
Villa is one of the league’s entertainers, and no side has seen the back of the net hit more than the 49 times they have across their 13 fixtures so far. They have goals all over the pitch, and only Manchester City, with 33, have scored more than Villa’s 31.
Ollie Watkins has had a sensational start to the season with seven goals and five assists in the Premier League. While only Erling Haaland (with 18) has scored more goals across all competitions than the England international’s 12.
Ultimately, Villa is being undervalued here, and I am taking advantage.
Pick: Aston Villa Moneyline +100
West Ham vs. Crystal Palace
Sunday, 9:00 a.m. ET
OK, let me address this before I go into why I am taking another Under 2.5 goals bet. It’s been a terrible season for Under bettors so far. We are seeing so many goals in added time, and sides are also not as content to settle for a draw as we usually get. Add in a host of VAR decisions awarding penalties which you would have gotten away with in seasons gone by, and it has become a minefield.
We have been in great positions approaching the final quarter of games but still coming out on the losing side after a late flurry of goals from nowhere. But still…. this one is simply too good for me to walk away from. Under 2.5 goals is value and simply must be taken.
I put these two sides up last week, and how they lost by going over 2.5 goals I still have no idea.
West Ham was playing Burnley and all going to plan. Better than that, if anything. It was 0-0 at halftime, with only three shots on target. Even after a 49th-minute penalty, we were in good shape, with that being the only goal until the 86th minute. First, an own goal, then an added-on time strike from Tomas Soucek. Done by a penalty, an own goal, and an injury-time strike! How’s your luck!
Crystal Palace were also drawing 0-0 with Luton at half-time. They were looking set to stay that way with nothing happening until, out of nowhere, a 72nd-minute strike from Teden Mengi, an effort that was almost immediately canceled out by a Michael Olise worldie two minutes later. From no goals to three goals was complete within 11 minutes. Incredible.
This is a London derby, with West Ham playing a European tie in Serbia as recently as Thursday night. We know Palace set up defensively under Roy Hodgson especially when he is missing key creators. Having only just returned to fitness Eberechi Eze has been ruled out for at least two weeks with an ankle injury.
I can see both sides canceling each other out. Without a doubt, this would have been at the top of my shortlist in any season prior to this one. This is exactly the type of match I have been cashing tickets on Under 2.5 goals for years. I cannot ignore it even in the current climate, especially at the value price of -110.
Pick: Under 2.5 goals at -110