EPL Best Bets
We have a few heated rivalries to choose from for this week’s EPL best bets.
Brighton vs. Crystal Palace
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. ET
Despite the distance between these two sides, this game comes with a fierce rivalry. Dubbed by the media as the A23 or M23 derby after the stretch of road that separates the two clubs.
However, it is believed the dislike of each other stretches back to the 1970s and was fuelled by both competition between the teams to gain promotion and directly between the managers, Terry Venables and Alan Mullery, who played together at Tottenham. Brighton even changed their nickname from the Dolphins to the Seagulls in direct opposition to the Crystal Palace nickname, the Eagles.
Enough history and back to the present day where I can vouch for the hostility between the two sides, having recently been to one of these fixtures. That is largely the reason behind my pick here which is for over 5.5 cards to be shown at -105.
These two sides come into this match with contrasting fortunes. Palace produced a scintillating performance to win a five-goal thriller with their inspirational pairing of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise scoring all three goals between them.
Brighton threw in their worst display of the season in getting hammered 4-0 at relegation-threatened Luton. Roberto De Zerbi will demand a response from his players and couldn’t wish for a better game to see it in that against their rivals.
Both sets of fans will be fired up for opposite reasons but will create a white-hot atmosphere in the ground. Roy Hodgson is a boyhood Palace fan, so he will also demand maximum pride and passion from his team in what will be his last game in charge of the club he supports against the Seagulls.
The referee for this match is Simon Hooper, who has shown 65 yellow cards and three red in his 13 Premier League games this season at an average of just under 5.5 per appearance. There have been five yellow cards shown in both of Brighton’s last two home league games. Palace’s game in midweek also saw five yellow cards.
Add in the local derby factor, and we should see a very feisty clash. As was the case in the reverse fixture played as recently as December, seven cards were shown. Six cards of any color and we cash.
EPL Best Bet: Brighton vs. Crystal Palace – Over 5.5 cards at -105.
Burnley vs. Fulham
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. ET
OK, hear me out – Burnley may be seven points from safety and have lost nine of their 11 home league games so far, but I think they can get something out of this fixture. They played well in patches at Manchester City in midweek and got a late consolation goal to leave with only a two-goal defeat.
Fulham, though, are a massive step down in class from Pep’s treble winners. As poor as the home side’s record is, the visitors aren’t much better. They have been beaten seven times from 10 away trips with a return of six points. Diabolical. Only rock-bottom Sheffield United have a worse road record.
I feel this is it for the Clarets. If they lose this, they are gone, and an immediate return to the Championship is guaranteed.
If Vincent Kompany could pick one team in the league to have a do-or-die home fixture against, I am convinced he would pick Fulham. The Cottagers are done for the season. Out of the cups, safe from the drop but with no hope of breaking into the top seven.
Marco Silva’s side looked like they were going through the motions in the 0-0 draw with Everton. There is no desire to go that extra mile and turn a draw into a win.
The home fans will be turning up to Turf Moor thinking they have an outstanding chance of three vital points. Although I am tempted to play the moneyline at +195, I am choosing to play it a little safe given that terrible home record and the fact the visitors can turn up and simply to frustrate and play for a draw.
Tie no bet is still a great price at +112, and I can’t work out how the Cottagers are the favorite to win this one despite losing their last five on the road, the last three coming to-nil with their troubles upfront continuing.
The last time Fulham won here was in April 1951! They have visited this corner of East Lancashire 33 times since then, picking up seven draws and leaving empty-handed on 26 occasions!
Given current and historical trends, Burnley are massively overpriced, and tie no bet looks like an outstanding play. Take it from me, this won’t be the last time you will see Fulham in this column, they are well and truly on my radar to fade.
EPL Best Bet: Burnley vs. Fulham – Burnley Tie no Bet at +112
Arsenal vs. Liverpool
Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET
Last but certainly not least, it is the biggest game in the English Premier League this weekend. Third vs First in what is a must-win game for Arsenal if they want to remain in the title race.
That is one of the main reasons why I am playing the bet I am and returning to the cards market. Over 5.5 cards at +120 is the play at what will be a fired-up Emirates Stadium.
Mikel Arteta knows he must make sure his side win their home matches and take points off their closest rivals. Especially as he still must take them to visit the Etihad, where their title chances ended last term.
I thought the Gunners were fortunate to take all three points at Nottingham Forest in midweek. The hosts ended the game strong, while Arsenal seemed to fear the worst once they conceded a late goal to halve their two-goal lead. If the game went on for another 15 minutes, I think they would have conceded again.
Liverpool will take a draw on the road and maintain their five-point advantage over the hosts with a win being a bonus. Jürgen Klopp’s men were excellent in dispatching Chelsea 4-1 at Anfield in midweek – it could easily have been 10-1 with Darwin Nunez missing a penalty and hitting the frame of the goal on four separate occasions.
Anthony Taylor is the referee here, and he has shown the most cards in the Premier League this season with 83 yellows and two reds. His average of 5.32 per game is just short of the line we need to beat here. But with this being his most high-profile appointment of the season, you can expect an extra 1-1.25 cards on top of that here.
Arsenal have collected the fewest cards in the league this season, with just 31 players booked in total alongside two red cards. But when you consider there have been several occasions like in their last home game (which they won 5-0) where their intensity drops, and their opponents effectively give up.
Also, don’t be too put off if you look at the previous meetings between these two, which shows a history of low card counts. Until the last couple of meetings, there wasn’t much at stake, and the clubs weren’t rivals. Now that they are both challenging, expect fireworks.
There were five cards between the two rotated teams in the FA Cup tie in January. With seven shown in the reverse fixture in December. Last season saw four yellows to each team when they clashed at Anfield.
We have seen an upward curve as there becomes more on these fixtures and this is one of the biggest in recent memory. The price for over 5.5 cards looks outstanding to me and based on historical data without factoring in the current climate.
EPL Best Bet: Arsenal vs Liverpool – Over 5.5 Cards at +120