EPL Week Three – Four Potential Wagers
Week Two in the English Premier League certainly didn’t disappoint! It kicked off with Manchester United’s four goal outburst, pushing them to a perfect 2-0 this season with a +8 goal differential. The week ended in similar thrilling fashion with a surprising road draw for Everton visiting mighty Manchester City.
Elsewhere, the Wembley fears for Tottenham fans came to early fruition with a home loss to Chelsea, just a week after the holders were humiliated on their home pitch. Both will be back in action this week with tricky matchups. City travels to Bournemouth, who despite being in search of their first result of the season, has been good at home over the past year. The Cherries have shown little so far in 2017, but are far from a free three points on the road. Meanwhile, Chelsea will be seeking a result off Everton, who are fresh off a season opening win and a surprising point (though also a disappointing one, as it looked like they were going to take the full three) at the Etihad.
This week keeps the pedal to the metal with more than a handful of marquee matchups. In addition to the Sunday morning Chelsea vs. Everton tilt, Week Three also offers up Manchester United looking to stay perfect against 2015-2016 darlings Leicester City, and the game of the week, Liverpool, fresh off their advancement in the UEFA Champions League, inviting Arsenal to Anfield in the Sunday afternoon NCS Sports game.
Four Potential Wagers for Week Three:
Manchester United -1.5 (-110) vs. Leicester City +1.5 (-110) – TOTAL 3
- Manchester United-325
- Leicester City +900
- Draw +425
The Reds enter as overwhelming favorites, and why not? Through two weeks they have been the class of the Premier League and have without conceding. The marriage between Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku has been a beautiful one, and add in two more goals from Martial and everything is looking beautiful for a return to glory for Manchester United.
United has fared well against the Foxes of late, winning all three matchups last season, including a 4-1 romp at Old Trafford and a 3-0 win at King Power. There’s a reason why they are laying a goal and a half and are still at nearly even money. Leicester rebounded well from a crushing opening 4-3 loss at Arsenal in a game they led 3-1 by winning 2-0 last week against newly-promoted Brighton. Leicester still has some talent with Jamie Vardy and Mahrez, but have never recovered from the loss of N’golo Conte. A year and a half after the miracle run on 2015-2016, it seems clear the status quo has returned; United near the top of the table, and Leicester just another squad.
However, if betting the -1.5 with United, you might have to sweat it out. Both of their two wins this season got ugly late after 65-70 minutes of relatively close football. United buried Swansea with a devastating three-goal in a four-minutes flurry late in the game and similarly struck late and often against West Ham. It could very likely require some patience for the damn to break against the Foxes as well. I still like the value of Man. U. laying a goal and a half at -110, but there is also some value in the first half exact score line of 1-0 Manchester United at +230.
If you are feeling more dangerous and are willing to potentially give an otherwise winning wager back to a push, you can get the Reds -2 at +165.
Bournemouth +1.5 (-105) vs. Manchester City -1.5 (-120) – TOTAL: 3
- Bournemouth +850
- Manchester City -315
- Draw +425
Bournemouth might have caught a bad break with City’s disappointing draw at home against Everton. There is now very little chance Pep Guardiola’s squad overlooks Jermain Defoe and the Cherries this Saturday. The big question here is whether or not to swallow the goal with City. I am a little reluctant to lay the -1.5 on the road, despite the fact Manchester City has won their last four games against Bournemouth in all competitions.
The better bet might be for City to get on top early and to remain on top. They have led at both the half and full time in against Bournemouth. They have also scored at least two goals in all four wins as well. Manchester City is unbeaten in their last ten Premier League games, so a -315 wager, while not sexy, feels relatively safe.
It has been a disappointing start to the season for the Cherries, whom many thought could make a nice showing to the top half of the table. Week Three doesn’t get any easier with the Vegas favorites to win the entire league in town. The wager for first half/full time leads for Manchester City pays out at -125 and might be the best play and value on the board this week.
Chelsea -1 (-140) vs. Everton +1 (+110) – TOTAL: 2.5
- Chelsea -240
- Everton +650
- Draw +340
The marquee game of the week may be the immediately following contest between Arsenal and Liverpool, but this game has a ton of added zip after the impressive effort from the Toffees at the Etihad on Monday. Everton got the feel-good opening week win 1-0, with Wayne Rooney’s homecoming a triumphant one; scoring the only goal and being named Man of the Match. Sure, the game was at home against Stoke, but a win is a win, and any result at Man City is an impressive accomplishment.
Chelsea’s early season title defense looked to be in rocky shape after a stunning opening week home loss to Burnley, a 3-2 affair marred by a pair of red cards. However, last week, to get a 2-1 result at Wembley against favored Tottenham. Cesc Fabregas is back after completing his suspension, but Gary Cahill remains suspended for the Blues.
Everton has one of the toughest starts to the season of any EPL squad. They’ve survived the first leg of a brutal stretch with a draw at City, but a repeat performance at Stamford Bridge will be a tall task. Is Everton a threat to crack the Top Six?? This game will tell us a TON. After this week, things don’t get much easier with a visit from Tottenham and a trip to Manchester United looming. A point in a second consecutive week on the road would be beyond Everton’s wildest dreams entering the season.
I like this Everton squad a great deal, but another road test against a Top Four team is a lot to ask. Expect the Blues to get the win, though I am not wild about laying -1 to back them. I prefer the UNDER 2.5 wager, as this game has a 1-0 feel to it…
Liverpool -1/2 (+110) vs. Arsenal +1/2 (-135) – TOTAL 3
- Liverpool +110
- Arsenal +230
- Draw +210
Liverpool was absolutely beautiful today at home against Hoffenheim, advancing into the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League and the strength of a 4-2 win and earning a spot as perhaps the most dangerous team in Pot Three of tomorrow’s draw. However, this will be their third tough game in eight days coming off last weekend’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield. They remain at home again this weekend but have a far tougher visitor awaiting them.
Arsenal fought their way back from a 3-1 hole in an opening weekend thriller over Jamie Vardy and Leicester and followed it up with a disappointing loss at Stoke, 1-0. Arsenal was a tough team to figure last season, with the mercurial play landing them outside of Champions League position for the first time in decades. If last week was any indication, we could be in for a similar ride in 2018.
Despite last week’s failure to score at Stoke, this is still a team that seems more likely to play a 3-2 game than a 1-0. Liverpool is no stranger to concession either, allowing seven goals in their last five matches despite posting a 4-1-0 record. They win, but rarely by a clean sheet.
The value in this wager is in the OVER 3. Don’t be surprised to see both teams tally in the first half. I like the long value in a 1-1 halftime score at +600.
If you are rocking regular cable/television, you can catch Bournemouth vs. Manchester City at 7:30 am EST on NBC Sports and Manchester United vs. Leicester City at 12:30 pm on NBC. Sunday’s pair of marquee matchups, Chelsea vs. Everton and Liverpool vs. Arsenal are on NBC Sports at 8:30 am and 11:00 am respectively.