Southampton vs. Manchester City Betting Prediction

It was yet another disappointing and damaging defeat for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City as they drew 1-1 with relegation candidates West Bromwich Albion.

City went up 1-0 through Ilkay Gundogan before Ruben Dias’ own goal put the visitors level before the break.

City was unable to find a winner as West Brom held on for a valuable point however that didn’t stop them from sacking manager Slaven Bilic and hiring survival specialist Sam Allardyce on an 18-month contract.

It’s just two wins in their last six games for Manchester City who wallow in ninth place as the gap between them and the league leaders Liverpool now stands at eight points.

Out of the top four sides in the league City have faced, they’ve failed to win; drawing against Liverpool and losing against both Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City, both losses were more than a two-goal margin.

There have been enough games this season to make an accurate judgment on Manchester City and it’s not a positive one for Pep Guardiola.

The hierarchy at City might regret giving Pep his two-year contract extension because right now, he is not validating the trust they have in him.

This could realistically be Pep’s last season should he not win either the Premier League or UEFA Champions League and that possibility will cast serious doubts on Guardiola’s managerial legacy.

Another negative defeat could be on the horizon for City as they face an in-form Southampton who has my vote as performers of the season if that was an actual award.

A Turnaround for Southhampton

It wasn’t too long ago that Southampton was on the back of a record 9-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester City (yes, I’ll stop referencing this) and Ralph Hassenhuttl looked certain to be sacked.

Since then, he led Southampton to an 11th placed finish, their highest league finish since the 2016/17 season, and has masterminded them to third place this season after 13 games.

After starting the season with two losses, including a 5-2 home loss to Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton have lost one of their last 11 games, winning seven.

Even without top scorer Danny Ings for a number of weeks due to injury, the Saints continued earning results as they rightly sit in the Champions League places in December.

I don’t know whether my subsequent prediction for the game is either my educated guess or just blind faith in Manchester City, but I think they get back to winning ways against Southampton with Sergio Aguero on the scoresheet, should he start.

Manchester City lost the last meeting between both sides 1-0 after Project Restart.

Odds on a Southampton home win open at +600. Odds on a Man City win open at -225. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +350.

Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool Betting Prediction

Liverpool is riding a great victory they earned in midweek as they defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 thanks to a stoppage-time header from Roberto Firmino.

The Reds went ahead in the first half when Mohamed Salah’s shot deflected past Hugo Lloris, but it wasn’t long before Tottenham responded with Heung-Min Son netting his 11th goal of the season.

The game looked like it was heading towards a stalemate before Roberto Firmino connected with Andy Robertson’s corner to put Liverpool 2-1 up in the 90th minute.

Judging by Firmino’s 90-yard run to the Kop, that was an important three points for Liverpool that put them three points clear at the top of the table.

Liverpool is swiftly back into action on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Crystal Palace where a win could give them a bit of a lead at the top of the table with Tottenham Hotspur facing a tough test against Leicester City on Sunday.

Liverpool’s opponents on Saturday drew 1-1 with West Ham United during midweek as well as Tottenham Hotspur last week.

Palace is never the most consistent side in terms of results, but they will constantly cause problems for the opposition.

Former Liverpool man Christian Benteke, who has looked like an absolute shell of himself in the last few seasons has undergone somewhat of a resurgence in the last few weeks.

After going scoreless in his first 10 league games of the season, Benteke opened his account with a brace in the 5-1 win over West Brom.

The Belgian international continued his goal-scoring with the opener in Palace’s 1-1 draw with West Ham before getting sent off.

Palace sit 12th in the table after 13 games, having won five, lost five and drawn three. Surprisingly, Palace is just six points off the UEFA Champions League places with the Premier League table tight.

Despite the game being played at Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace remain the last side to defeat Liverpool at home back in April 2017, but Liverpool’s luck at Selhurst Park is even better than their luck at Anfield, last losing a league game at Palace’s stomping ground in 2014.

Liverpool is riding a six-match league winning streak against Palace, winning 4-0 in their last game and 2-1 in their last meeting at Selhurst Park.

Despite the improved form of Benteke and the continued excellence of Wilfried Zaha, who should get a move to one of the Premier League’s top six next season if I may say, I think Liverpool will have too much for the Eagles in what I think will be a 1-0 victory for the visitors.

Odds on a Palace home win open at +550. Odds on a Liverpool away win open at -200. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +333.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur Betting Prediction

It’s a top of the table clash at Anfield on Wednesday night as Premier League champions Liverpool host league leaders Tottenham Hotspur in what’s set to be an enthralling clash.

Goal difference is the only thing that separates the two sides at the top of the table as they’ll be looking to make an early statement in the title race.

Liverpool were only able to claim a point in their last outing away to Fulham, a game Liverpool would count themselves lucky for getting a draw as if it wasn’t for Fulham’s several missed chances, it would have been defeat at Craven Cottage for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

Liverpool are on thin legs heading into the game against Tottenham Hotspur with perennial injury doubt Joel Matip uncertain to play and Naby Keita having no rhythm in his game according to Jurgen Klopp.

“Naby has no rhythm, that’s the truth, but because of different things since we started the season again and that obviously doesn’t help performance-wise,” said Klopp of his injury-plagued midfielder.

“Then you play a game and we have only two days between the games and 

then you have to make a decision: is he ready?

“But whatever you do in the rehab process, you cannot replace the proper football training – and we don’t have a lot of football training because of the number of games we have. That makes it difficult.

“That was the case at Midtjylland; everybody who saw Naby Keita playing in his absolute best moments knows that was obviously not his best moment – normal and explainable with the lack of rhythm, but still obvious.”

It’s an advantage for Jose Mourinho and Tottenham who will feel confident that they can grab a result against this depleted Liverpool side.

Every week, Tottenham prove every doubter that they are here to stay at the top of the Premier League and a clash against the champions provide yet another opportunity to show this is where they belong and Jurgen Klopp praised the work of his fellow manager in Mourinho and said he has transformed Tottenham Hotspur into a “results machine”.

“I am not surprised because that is the world we are living in,” said the Liverpool manager. You are very successful until yesterday probably and if you don’t prove it today then people go for you. That’s how it is.

“I don’t think he was surprised but he showed come back – if it was a comeback I don’t know – skills. Very impressive. The way they play is really good. He turned them into a result machine.

“They got results and good performances and if they are not on their top form they still win and they defend collectively.”

I think it’ll be a tight contest between both sides in what I predict will be a 2-2 draw which would keep Tottenham Hotspur top of the table.

Odds on a Liverpool home win open at -125. Odds on a Tottenham away win open at +333. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +280.

Fasika’s Prediction: Liverpool 2, Tottenham 2
Best Bet: OVER 2.5 goals (-159)

Manchester City v West Brom Betting Prediction

Manchester City can make it three wins out of their last four games with a win against West Brom, who they host on Tuesday night.

City fought to an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Manchester United in the Manchester derby and will be looking to inject the exciting football we know they’re capable of on show against a West Brom side who sit 19th in the Premier League with just one win in 12 attempts this season.

Man City sit ninth in the table in December in what has been a strange Premier League season. You have Arsenal who sit in 15th and two perennial bottom half teams in Southampton and West Ham United who sit fourth and sixth, respectively.

For City especially, we’ve been looking to see just when they turn it on yet, we are a month away from 2021, and all we’ve seen are spluttering performances from Pep Guardiola’s side.

We’ve reached the point in the season where midweek games come into play in December until February and Pep Guardiola once again vocalized the difficulty in England with the tough schedule.

“In the Premier League so far the teams in Europe play in different conditions to the others and now everyone plays the same amount of games until February. We are lucky to play in Europe but now is the time to play games.

“In my experience, every season we play the Champions League to the latter stages so I am used to playing more part of the season with less recovery than the others. 

“We accept because it means you are playing in the bigger stages. Right now, with how it happened all around the world the recovery doesn’t matter as much.”

Manchester City’s opponents West Brom unfortunately look set for an instant return to the Sky Bet Championship with just one win in their last 12 games, having scored just nine goals all season with Burnley (6) and Sheffield United (5) the only sides to score less goals in the Premier League.

West Brom’s only win of the season came against bottom side Sheffield United back in November and will need to work incredibly hard to get any sort of result against Manchester City.

City have had an improved defensive record of late, keeping three consecutive clean sheets; three games Aymeric Laporte did not start.

Laporte has been lauded as City’s best defender and one of the best in the Premier League but the acquisition of record signing Ruben Dias and John Stones’ return to form has left Laporte riding the substitutes bench for the time being with Guardiola saying Laporte must wait for his opportunity.

“It depends on the performance. John is performing well and that’s why he is playing but there are a lot of games. Everyone has to be ready. Be ready and don’t complain much – you may have a chance around the corner.”

I reckon Manchester City win comfortably 3-0 against West Brom.

Odds on a City win open at -1000. Odds on an unprobeable West Brom open at +2000. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +1000/

Wolves v Chelsea Betting Prediction

After their nine-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League came to an end on Saturday, Chelsea faces another tricky opponent in Wolves on Tuesday evening.

Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Everton ensured the West London club fell to fifth in the league after spending practically spending the whole season in the top four.

Wolves have had a topsy-turvy season that has been marred by inconsistency. They’ve lost their last two games to Liverpool and Aston Villa, respectively, failing to score in either game.

The fractured skull suffered by top scorer Raul Jimenez in their win against Arsenal has noticeably weakened the team, leaving them without a recognized goal scorer in the ranks.

Wolves still possess talents such as Adama Traore, Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence, but none of them are known for their goal-scoring exploits.

Frank Lampard spoke on his own experiences of having a teammate suffer a traumatic injury as his former teammate at Chelsea Petr Cech suffered a depressed fractured skull in 2006.

The Chelsea manager said: ‘It actually galvanized us. We lost a great goalkeeper for a period of time. When you have that critical of an injury, and I saw the images of Jimenez turning up at the training ground last week and seeing all his team-mates again, I’m sure it would have galvanised some strength within the group.

‘Team-mates, friends within that, you worry about players with injuries.

Photos emerged last week of Jimenez back in the training facility greeting all his teammates and coaches for the first time since the injury and like Lampard said seeing Jimenez well may just be the spark this dejected Wolves side needed.

The away trip to Wolves is just the beginning of a difficult and packed schedule for Frank Lampard’s side who play four games in 13 days.

A big miss for Chelsea will be without Hakim Ziyech who’s been missing through injury and has made an important contribution since his arrival at the club.

Lampard was asked whether his Chelsea side will find it difficult to create without Ziyech and he said his team must find ways to step up without the Moroccan international.

“It felt like Everton played like Tottenham did and if people are watching us, they will try to stop us from doing what we do well. We need to find other ways and make sure to have ways around teams. 

“At our top-level, we’d have found a way around it. We can’t make an excuse for not having wingers. It’s unfortunate but we have others capable of playing in those areas. Hopefully, they are back soon anyway.”

I think Wolves put in an inspired performance and hold Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at the Molineux Stadium.

Odds on a Wolves home win open at +425. Odds on a Chelsea win open at -150. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +280.

EPL Title Race Betting Predictions Week 12

With twelve weeks of Premier League football under our belts, we analyze the trends of the ever-changing EPL title odds. 

Liverpool should count themselves lucky leaving West London with a point as they fought to a 1-1 draw with a resurgent Fulham side.

Liverpool once again went behind in the first half as Bobby Decordova-Reid netted his fourth league goal of the season with a powerful strike that proved too much for Liverpool keeper’ Alisson to handle.

Fulham had several chances to double their lead but was unable to convert their chances to put the game out of sight.

It did look like Fulham were on their way to three points over the champions, but Liverpool was handed a lifeline as they were awarded a penalty 10 minutes from time; a penalty Mohamed Salah converted for his 10th of the season.

Liverpool could have gone top of the league with a win but instead remain second and level on points with league leaders Tottenham Hotspur.

Liverpool returns to second favorites to win the 2020/21 EPL Title at odds of +200.

Tough Times for Arsenal

Time is quickly running out for Mikel Arteta who may not be in a job this time next week as Arsenal suffered a 1-0 defeat to Burnley: their fourth consecutive home loss this season.

It’s the first time that’s happened since 1959 and morale is seriously low at the Emirates. Before the game, Burnley were residing in the relegation zone and had just one win to their name but a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang own goal aided Burnley in their claim for a desperately needed three points.

It was Nicolas Pepe two weeks ago who let down Arsenal with his red card against Leeds United, yesterday it was Granit Xhaka who was sent off, a sending off Mikel Arteta said was “even worse” than Pepe’s.

Arsenal faces Southampton, Everton and Chelsea in their next three games as the situation at Arsenal could get worse if possible.

Arsenal now possesses the eighth-best odds to win the 2020/21 Premier League Title at +20000 and if we were ever to start a relegation race weekly piece, Arsenal would be frontrunners.

Manchester City fought to a majorly disappointing 0-0 draw with Manchester United in a forgettable Manchester derby.

Some people have said it was the worst Manchester derby of all time as both sides were void of creativity, passion and any real urge to win the game.

Both managers seemed to be content with a draw and it suits two sides who haven’t had the greatest of campaigns this season.

It is a third clean sheet in a row for Pep Guardiola and City who finally have some sort of defensive solidity after £300 million of spending (not a dig).

City Still Favorites

Despite the lethargic performance and one that wouldn’t have you raving about Manchester City, they returned as the oddsmaker’s favorites to win the 2020/21 EPL Title at +163.

It’s five games unbeaten for Manchester United who drew 0-0 with city rivals Manchester City.

After crashing out of the UEFA Champions League just days before, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer simply could not afford another defeat and looked to set his team up to be difficult to play through and manage the game rather than take control.

United are just three points off the top four and could go ahead of a fifth-placed Chelsea side should they win their game in hand.

Manchester United’s odds to win the title now sits at +1800, only the fifth-best in the Premier League.

Chelsea’s nine-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League has finally come to an end as they fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Everton.

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first-half penalty was enough to secure all three points for an Everton side desperate for points.

Chelsea’s upcoming schedule is a difficult one and will once again test their potential title credentials as they face the likes of Wolves, Arsenal, and Manchester City in their next five fixtures over the winter period.

Chelsea possesses the fourth-best odds to win the 2020/21 EPL Title this season at +650.

Tottenham Looking Strong 

We end this article with the club that currently reigns supreme in the Premier League for the third consecutive week and that is Tottenham Hotspur.

It was two points dropped from Tottenham this weekend as they drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace.

Harry Kane scored his ninth goal of the Premier League season in the first half and the club was 10 minutes away from going two points clear at the top of the table before Jeffrey Schlupp’s late equalizer assured they stay level on points with Liverpool.

The result sets up their clash with Liverpool on Wednesday in even better stead in what will prove to be a fabulous game of football to watch.

For now, Spurs’ title odds sit at +600, the third-ranked in the Premier League alongside Chelsea.

Fulham v Liverpool Betting Prediction

Liverpool’s 4-0 win against Wolves last week was their biggest win of the league season so far and they follow that up with a Sunday trip to a Fulham side who sit 17th in the Premier League.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last seven games but will be without forward Diogo Jota who suffered a knock in their UEFA Champions League game against Midtjylland on Wednesday.

It’s a big blow for the Reds whose injury issues had begun to ease slightly with the return of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Jota looks set to miss out on Liverpool’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur next week, a fixture that has title implications.

It’s difficult to not have one eye on the Tottenham game if you are a Liverpool player but Jurgen Klopp said he hopes his players stay focus on the Fulham fixture and not have a wandering eye on next week’s top of the table clash.

“I hope none of our players will think about [the subsequent match against] Tottenham when we are in Fulham, to be honest,” he stated.

“The situation is like it is at the top of the table, everywhere in the table pretty much, there is not a lot of distance in between. We know that and I don’t have to tell the boys constantly.

“Fulham are a really good football-playing side and the performances they showed were not all rewarded with results. The fight for staying in the league is a tight one as well, so each point helps, and they will go for everything.

If we let them play, they will play and the more we let them play, the more we have to defend and the more you have to defend, the more you have to run. All of these kind of things, we have to be really spot on in this game.”

Fulham spent just one season in the Sky Bet Championship before returning to the Premier League after a year out. That season they were in the Premier League, Liverpool did the double over them, defeating them 2-0 and 2-1 in closely fought fixtures to the credit of Fulham.

Their return hasn’t been so welcoming this year as they sit 17th in the table with just two wins in 11 games this season. Only two sides in the Premier League have conceded more goals than Fulham (21).

They lost 2-0 to Manchester City in their last fixture but scored an impressive 2-1 away victory over Leicester City prior to the Man City game.

Fulham are not one to be glossed over but I think Liverpool take all three points in a 1-0 win.

Odds on a Fulham home win open at an under-whelming +800. Odds on a Liverpool win open at -333. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +450.

2020 EPL Title Race Predictions Week 11

With eleven weeks of Premier League football under our belts, we analyze the trends of the ever-changing EPL title odds. 

Defending Premier League champions Liverpool returned to winning ways this weekend as they romped home with a 4-0 win over Wolves.

In what was Liverpool’s biggest league win of the season, they put forth an impressive performance with Mohamed Salah, Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip and a Nelson Semedo own goal all on the score sheet.

Another positive alongside the result was the return of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita from injury as they were substituted on during the game.

With the win, Liverpool stayed level on points with Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the table.

Liverpool return as odds-on favorites to win the 2020/21 EPL Title at odds of +175.

Tough Times for Arsenal

This could be Arsenal’s last appearance in this weekly piece as they suffered yet another defeat, this time at the hands of North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-0. It was another noticeable dejected performance from Arsenal who didn’t even look close to scoring a goal let alone winning the game.

They’ve dropped to 15th in the table in December which means it’s no longer just poor form after a few games, we’re almost midway through the season and Arsenal have been consistently bad since October.

The whispers in the media have already begun on the future of Mikel Arteta and if he really is the future of Arsenal.

Arsenal now possess the seventh-best odds to win the 2020/21 Premier League Title at +20000.

Manchester City has earned consecutive league victories for the first time this season as they eased past Fulham 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne were on the scoresheet for City who rose to seventh in the table and can go fourth if they win their game in hand against Manchester United in the Manchester derby this weekend.

Luck is starting to present itself on Man City’s side after a difficult few months with results and injuries.

Sergio Aguero made his long-awaited return from an injury setback to score in their 3-0 win over Marseille in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday and will be raring to start in the Manchester derby; a fixture the Argentine has scored nine goals in.

City are the second favorites to win the 2020/21 EPL Title at odds of +200. 

It’s four consecutive wins in a row for Manchester United, the joint longest winning streak this season after a 3-1 win away to West Ham United.

It was another comeback for United who went 1-0 in the first half after Tomas Soucek’s first half opener.

With Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford coming on at half-time, United were revitalised and scored three goals in 13 minutes with goal scorers Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford all finding the net.

Manchester United’s odds to win the title now sits at +2000, only the fifth-best in the Premier League.

It’s four wins in five games for Chelsea who dispatched Leeds 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Olivier Giroud continued his purple patch with the equalizer after former Chelsea man Patrick Bamford put the visitors ahead after just four minutes.

Kurt Zouma scored his fourth goal of the season to put Chelsea ahead in the second half before Christian Pulisic scored his first league goal of the season in stoppage team to put the game beyond Leeds.

Chelsea possess the third-best odds to win the 2020/21 EPL Title this season at +500.

We end this article with the club who currently reign supreme in the Premier League for the second consecutive week and that is Tottenham Hotspur.

What better weekend could it have been for Spurs fans to not just go back to the top of the league but to do it after defeating their bitter rivals Arsenal 2-0 in the North London derby.

It was a spectacular goal from Heung Min-Son to put Spurs ahead before Harry Kane made it 2-0 before half-time and became the leading scorer in North London derby history with 11 goals.

It was yet another assured performance from Jose Mourinho and his side as they continue to defy the doubters about their position in the Premier League.

For now, Spurs’ title odds sit at +550, the joint third highest in the Premier League alongside Chelsea.

Manchester City v Marseille Betting Prediction

After scoring consecutive league wins for the first time this season, City needs just one point against Marseille on Wednesday night to claim top spot in Group C in the UEFA Champions League.

City qualified for the knockout stages of the competition when they defeated Olympiacos 1-0 last week and can now end the group stage as group leaders at home to Marseille.

After their 2-0 loss to Tottenham in November, City demolished Burnley 5-0 and followed that up with a 2-0 win over Fulham to give City consecutive league wins for the first time this season as they head into the Manchester derby on the weekend.

Lots of Work Left for City

It’s been a mightily impressive group stage for City who has yet to lose in Europe this season and have conceded just one goal, the least out of any side in the Champions League.

While City is through to the next stage, claiming top spot is important as it guarantees they will face group runners-up and will play the second leg at home which is seen as an advantage in the Champions League.

However, that’s not always the case as the likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-German finished second in their group this season, City could be in danger of drawing one of those two sides.

Because of this, City can’t take their foot off the gas against Marseille in a game where City head coach Pep Guardiola said he will not rotate his squad.

“I don’t rest players. I don’t say this player doesn’t play because I’m thinking of the other games.

“I want to win tomorrow, it’s not about the match or one more day or one less day. After Thursday, Friday we start to think against [Manchester] United.

“Everyone has played a lot of minutes, like I said we will play to win the game. I don’t rotate the team, I put all the players in the best condition and decide the best team for this game. There is not one team for one competition. The last few days except two or three players everyone was involved.”

City must be on high alert as they face a Marseille side in top form. The French side is bottom of their Champions League table with four losses in five games and has scored just two goals in the entire European campaign.

They sit fourth in Ligue 1 and are four points below league leaders Paris Saint-Germain with two games in hand. They’ve won their last five in a row in the league and have lost just once this season as they look to continue their European adventure this season but in the Europa League.

I reckon Man City wins 2-0 with Riyad Mahrez on the scoresheet.

Odds on a City win open at -350. Odds on a Marseille away win open at +900. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +475.

Midtjylland v Liverpool Betting Prediction

Having secured both passage into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League and top spot in Group D, Liverpool travels to Midtjylland in an advantageous position to rest players ahead of the busy winter period in the Premier League.

Liverpool’s injury issues this season have been well documented and any opportunity to rest some starters will be given a warm welcome from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool is scheduled to play six games in the next 22 days, a tough ask for any side and Jurgen Klopp admitted naming a young line-up on Wednesday evening is possible.

“We will see. You are right, it’s the first time we don’t have to get a result in the last match of the group stage, the first time we are first in the table already.

“We have to consider the general situation, that’s clear, but we have to consider as well it’s Champions League, we are Liverpool, and we want to win the game. All these kinds of things will lead in the end to a line-up.”

Upside for Liverpool

A positive for Liverpool has been the return of some players from injury with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita making their respective returns in the 4-0 win over Wolves on Sunday.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who hasn’t featured this season due to injury made his return to training this week, another addition which will bolster Klopp’s side this winter.

Even without Virgil Van Dijk playing a second in the Champions League this season, Liverpool has kept four clean sheets in five games and have conceded just two goals, only Manchester City (1) have conceded less.

Liverpool’s young players have massively stepped up when they were needed which contributes to the impressive defensive record Liverpool have amassed after losing Van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Klopp paid praise to his youngsters for taking their opportunity and performing valiantly in both the Premier League and Champions League.

“We don’t have to say it any differently, we had some problems injury-wise, that’s clear. We lost top, top, top, top-class players to injuries. But, of course, one door closes, and another opens up.

“What Rhys Williams did so far in the Champions League is exceptional. What Nat Phillips did when he played in the Premier League was absolutely exceptional. Neco played now two really good games in a row, especially the last one was really good. Curtis plays like he played already 10 years for us.”

Despite Midtjylland sitting top of the Danish Superliga, they haven’t carried across the same form in Europe as they sit bottom of Group D yet to win a game.

Even with Liverpool’s expected rotation, I believe they defeat the Danish side 3-0 with Diogo Jota to net after being dropped against former club Wolves on the weekend.

Odds on a Midtjylland home win open at +300. Odds on a Liverpool win open at -120. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +280.

Chelsea v Krasnodar Betting Prediction

With Champions League qualification and top spot secured, Chelsea has the ability to rotate their squad in what is essentially a dead-rubber match against Russian side Krasnodar.

Chelsea earned their most impressive victory of the group stage in their last outing in their 4-0 route away to Sevilla, a game that is otherwise known as ‘The Olivier Giroud Game’ as the Frenchman netted all four goals as he became the oldest player (34 years and 63 days old) to score a hat-trick in UEFA Champions League history.

Going into their match with Krasnodar, it’s been an impressive campaign for Chelsea and Frank Lampard whose side have scored 13 goals and conceded just one goal in the group stage; the lowest tally conceded out of any side in the competition.

Their Premier League form has been equally admirable as they’ve earned four wins out of their last five games as well as going on a nine-match unbeaten streak.

That vein of form has propelled Liverpool manager and reigning Premier League champion Jurgen Klopp to crown Chelsea as early title favorites, a label Frank Lampard himself doesn’t think too much of.

“I don’t think we think much of it. Liverpool and Manchester City have built a great squad, there are others in contention.

“I think where we are out, we are in good form, but we have players who have come in and City and Liverpool have had a lot of success for long periods. We are trying to reach that.”

Lampard is expected to make wholesale changes on Tuesday, and he’s confirmed both Billy Gilmour and Kepa Arrizabalaga are set to start against Krasnodar.

Gilmour has been out with injury since March while Kepa, the Blues’ most expensive signing has been displaced from his starting spot by Édouard Mendy.

Lampard spoke glowingly about Kepa’s attitude in training and towards Mendy as well as revealing he has no issues with reintroducing the Spaniard back in the side.

“It is about attitude and how you play, his situation now is different with Mendy’s form. Kepa is training brilliantly well and acting brilliantly well. I have no qualms about putting him back in.

“He has been very supportive. I have seen that. I watch from afar and he has been supporting him and training well. That’s what I look at. Goalkeepers have to push each other as a group.”

Krasnodar won their last league game 5-0 but have lost four of their last six as they sit 9th in the Russian Premier League. They did net their first win of the competition last week as they narrowly defeated Rennes 1-0 at home.

Despite Lampard’s expected changes, I still feel Chelsea will get the job done in a 2-0 win to end the group stage on a high note.

Odds on a Chelsea win open at -400. Odds on a Krasnodar win at Stamford Bridge open at +1000. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +500.

Liverpool v Wolves Betting Prediction

Liverpool host Wolves at Anfield in what the long-awaited return of fans is back to stadiums.

Clubs whose cities are not in the Tier 3 restrictions of COVID-19 are allowed up to 2,000 fans to return to stadiums.

After a busy period of Premier League and UEFA Champions League games, Liverpool had a rest of five days after their 1-0 victory against Ajax on Tuesday.

A positive note for Liverpool are the potential returns of both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita.

Jurgen Klopp was coy on whether the pair would be in matchday squad against Wolves in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“I don’t know yet, we will see. Trent and Naby will do the first steps in team training today. Whatever we can do with that depends how it looks and stuff like this. We had some niggles after the game against Ajax, we have to see how they respond. So far, they didn’t do a lot apart from treatment and stuff like this.

“We have to see how that develops. I don’t know in the moment. Apart from Naby and Trent, nobody is coming back. There’s a chance Naby and Trent can be in the squad, I would say. If they can play? I don’t know.

“If they’re in the squad they can play but if they can start or play 90 minutes? I don’t know. There’s a chance that they are in the squad, yes.”

With the sheer amount of injury issues Liverpool have had, I would be surprised if either Alexander-Arnold or Keita played at all especially since Liverpool are not in a bad position in the Premier League and are not desperate for instant results in this period.

With Alisson still out with a hamstring injury, Caoimhin Kelleher looks set to follow up his Champions League debut with a Premier League debut against Wolves.

The 22-year-old put in a man of the match performance against Ajax in the 1-0 win and Klopp retains faith in the keeper and his ability to deal with the pressure of starting for Liverpool.

“He looked good but he’s a very calm person and he will not be flying all week, he’s a hard worker and there’s no doubt he’ll deal with the fuss around him really well,” the boss told reporters.

It was a big call to throw him in for that game but thank god it worked out, it’s not always the case and it doesn’t make the players worse, it’s just the wrong timing of the manager. For him it was good and now we’ll see how we carry on.”

Liverpool win this one for me in a 2-0 victory but must be wary of the likes of Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence and Adama Traore.

Odds on a Liverpool win open at -182. Odds on a Wolves away win open at +500. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +320.

Manchester City v Fulham Betting Prediction

It’s been a positive couple of weeks for Manchester City after a topsy-turvy season so far.

A 1-0 win over Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League confirmed City’s passage into the knockout stages of the competition. They followed that up with a 5-0 win of Burnley which scored City their biggest win of the season in which Riyad Mahrez netted his first Man City hat-trick as well as Ferran Torres scoring his long awaited first Premier League goal.

With City’s injury problems well and truly under the carpet (well, apart from Aguero), we may start to see some consistency from Pep Guardiola’s side.

A player for City who has stepped up in the midst of injuries has been academy graduate Phil Foden.

The 20-year-old has been ever-present in City’s season so far, appearing in 13 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals.

If the England international features against Fulham on Saturday, it’ll be his 50th appearance for the club and Guardiola had kind words to say about Foden and what he expects from him in the future.

“We are more than delighted to have him for the academy, the message he can give. If you have the skills and especially passion. I love his passion, the only thing in his mind is to be a better player for himself, his club, his national country.

“He is a dream come true for managers. Normally when you become older, he loses it, but the first thing he is looking for in training is the ball to play with his mates. The first achievement is 50 games, he will play much much more in the future.

“Hopefully he can have the passion to improve but knowing him it will happen.”

While City are overwhelming to grab the victory today, Fulham are coming a mightily impressive win away to Leicester City.

The West London club are out of the relegation zone in 17th place and have some momentum in their tanks after last week’s win which was just their second victory in the league.

Not only could it be a special landmark for Phil Foden but also his manager as Saturday’s game will be Guardiola’s 700th in management and the Spaniard spared some words on his achievement.

“700 games. I will do 700 more then retire. I never expected it. It’s so good to have 700 games with a few defeats in these games, for all the players and staff we had in Barca B, first team, Bayern and here. It’s a great number, with all the people we made incredible things together and hopefully we can do more in the future.”

I think City ease to a comfortable 3-0 win.

Odds on a City win open at -1000. Odds on a second consecutive away win for Fulham open at +1800. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +1000.

Chelsea vs. Rennes Betting Prediction UEFA Champions League

Chelsea looks to have found their groove in the last couple of weeks as they take on Rennes in matchday three of the UEFA Champions League. After two matches in the competition, Chelsea top Group E with four points, ahead of Europa League holders Sevilla on goal difference.

We’ve seen improved showings from Chelsea recently after the summer of spending that occurred in West London.

A 4-0 victory away to Krasnodar scored Chelsea their first win in the competition this season which was followed by Chelsea’s most impressive win of the season in a 3-0 victory away to Burnley.

It was an exciting performance from the Blues who were treated to an impressive performance and first Premier League goal from Hakim Ziyech as well as goals from Timo Werner and Kurt Zouma.

They take on a Rennes side who sit third in Ligue 1 after an impressive start to the season where they’ve lost just once.

They’ve failed to make a similar impact in the Champions League, in what is their first time competing in the group stages of the competition as they sit bottom of Group E with one draw and one loss from their first two group games.

How Chelsea Has Kept the Sheets Clean

After conceding nine goals in their first five league games, Chelsea has earned two clean sheets in a row and three in all competitions. They’ve also yet to concede a goal in the Champions League.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard was asked about how his group is faring after an improvement in the defense.

“I think in the group we’re happy, Seville was a tough game at home, and I think both teams were happy with the result, and then we went and got a good result in Russia.

“So, there’s still a lot of work to do to make sure we don’t get complacent at this point because we know that if Rennes come and get a result at our place it changes the face of the table.

“So, we must stay on top of ourselves, and the three recent clean sheets have been great.

“It was obviously something we were looking at and wanting to improve from last season.

“We analysed the reasons why we weren’t as good as we wanted to be, so we’ve seen some progression in that, but that has to remain a work in progress, we can’t come off that.

“The concentration and focus in the team has been great, and it needs to stay that way.”

Chelsea Odds vs. Rennes

Chelsea can go one step closer to knockout stage qualification with a win and a 3-0 win is what I think they’ll get courtesy of goals from Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Sportsbooks odds on a home Chelsea win open at -350. Odds on Rennes getting their first group stage win in the Champions League open at +900. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +475.

Tuesday’s Champions League Best Bets: Look for Goals to Come in Atalanta/Liverpool

Matchday 3 of Champions League play begins today with an eight-game slate, six of those matches coming at 3:00 PM ET on Tuesday.

If you’re looking for some daytime action to quench your thirst before settling in for hours of Election Day coverage, we have a trio of bets you can place on your Champions League ballot and a bonus third-party selection that features a parlay that would pay +589 should it hit. 

For my best Champions League bets, read on from here:

Atalanta vs. Liverpool

Outside of Real Madrid-Inter Milan, this could be the most entertaining match of the day as free-scoring Italian side Atalanta plays host to defending Premier League Champion Liverpool. 

This will be the first-ever matchup between these two European clubs and they currently reside in the top two spots in Group D, so the winner of this match will be right on the doorstep of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Liverpool comes into today’s match with a four-match winning streak to take them back to the top of the Premier League table after a shocking 7-2 thrashing at the hands of Leeds United earlier this year.  However, despite the recent winning stretch, Liverpool enters this match with a multitude of injuries to deal with, in particular the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara, and Joel Matip.  Fabinho also continues to recover from a hamstring injury, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also expected to be absent from the Liverpool side due to injury.

These holes in the Liverpool defense should only create several opportunities for an Atalanta side that have scored 17 goals in six games of league play after leading all of Europe in goal scoring during the 2019/20 campaign. 

Liverpool’s notoriously stingy defense has not shown up yet this season, as The Reds have surrendered 15 goals in Premier League play this season, a total that took 24 matches to reach last season en route to their first league title in 30 years.  However, Atalanta also surrenders goals at a high rate, already conceding 13 of their own in league play thus far, thus the scoring could come in bunches in today’s match as well.

While Liverpool is the only side yet to concede a goal in Champions League play, I believe that run ends today when they face the best opponent they’ve seen yet in Atalanta.  The result of this match is up in the air, but the scoring should still come throughout the contest.  I am backing the Over 3.5 goals here at -117.  

Prediction: Atalanta 2, Liverpool 2
Best Bet:
OVER 3.5 Goals (-117)

Manchester City vs. Olympiakos

Manchester City returns home this afternoon to play host to Greek side Olympiakos in just the second-ever meeting between these two clubs.

Manchester City will enter today’s match with a banged-up squad and not a whole lot of ambition to go all out in this match as a date with Liverpool looms on Sunday. Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho, and Benjamin Mendy are all out today with injury, while Gabriel Jesus is questionable to play today.

This will require some creativity from Pep Guardiola if they are to manufacture much of an attack today.

Meanwhile, Olympiakos will be without three key players of their own as Mady Camara, Ousseynou Ba, and Hillal Soudani all tested positive for COVID-19 leading into this match, so a side that already figured to have its hands full at full strength will face an even bigger challenge now.

This has all of the makings of a match in which Pep will try to have his side get an early lead and suffocate their opponent to death as they coast into a massive weekend match with Liverpool.  Each of the previous four City matches has stayed under the 3.5 goals number and I expect this to be no different.

Prediction: Manchester City 2, Olympiakos 0
Best Bet:
UNDER 3.5 Goals (-167)

FC Midtjylland vs. Ajax

In what is essentially a virtuoso knockout match on its own, Danish side Midtjylland plays host to Dutch side Ajax that is currently ravaged by a COVID-19 outbreak hitting their squad.

Each club comes into their third Champions League match in desperate need of a win, as the two teams have combined for just 1 point.

Ajax faces an uphill climb entering the match as 11 players will not travel with the club to Denmark due to positive COVID-19 tests, including key players Andre Onana, Davy Klaassen, and Ryan Gravenberch, as well as team captain Dušan Tadić.

Fortunately for Ajax, it may not matter a whole lot as Midtjylland has been thoroughly outclassed in their first two matches against Atalanta and Liverpool, and have yet to notch a goal in group play.

The Dutch side is still unbeaten through their first seven matches in league play and sit atop of the Erediv table.  Despite their squad challenges entering this match, they offer great value on the moneyline today when they would otherwise be heavier favorites.

I am backing the Sons of the Gods here to win outright at -136.

Prediction: Midtjylland 1, Ajax 2
Best Bet:
Ajax ML (-136)

Bonus: RB Salzburg vs. Bayern Munich

In the bonus bet of the day, we’re going to back Bayern Munich to win on the money line at -305, but we will parlay it with the above three picks.

FC Salzburg has a respectable club, and they could very well factor into the mix of finishing in second place to Bayern Munich in this group, but Bayern Munich is just too much for the Austrian side to overcome, and I expect Bayern to cruise to an easy victory here.

Prediction: RB Salzburg 1, Bayern Munich 4
Parlay the Following:
Atalanta/Liverpool O3.5, City/Olympiakos U3.5, Ajax ML, Bayern ML (+589)

Manchester City vs. Olympiacos Betting Prediction for Matchday Three

Manchester City could go one step closer to securing their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with a win over Greek Super League champions Olympiacos.

City have won their first two group stage games, opening with a 3-1 win over Porto followed by a 3-0 away win against Marseille. City have never not gotten out of the group stages under Pep Guardiola and in his pre-match press conference, the Spaniard explained just how difficult it is to get out of the group stages of the Champions League compared to 10 years ago.

“The teams are better, there is more money everywhere,” Guardiola said. “A lot of clubs are buying players and important managers.

“It is really tough. It doesn’t matter where you go, you know you have to face quality. Yeah, it’s difficult in the group stages of the Champions League, people don’t believe it,” he said.

“Every game is hard. And with the pandemic, the situation is more uncertain.

“Today when you play away or at home, you have to do a good game to win. It’s a tricky competition. That’s why I am delighted with what we have done so far. This is the target.

“People say ‘oh it’s easy’ but everything can happen. Porto is a team that always has to win. Olympiakos the same. They have to win every single game. That mentality is difficult to play against.

“Focus on the next game and tomorrow is a huge opportunity for us to make an incredible step.”

How Will Manchester City Keep Going Without Aguero

Manchester City will continue to be without Sergio Aguero who suffered a hamstring injury against West Ham in late October with Pep Guardiola telling the media he doesn’t know when Aguero will be back with the Argentine suffering a multitude of injuries over the last few months.

“Right now, I don’t know [exactly when he will return],” Guardiola said. “He’s getting better, but I don’t know.

“We don’t want him to have a setback but he’s getting better.

“I don’t know about Liverpool, but I think after the international break he will be ready.”

On the availability of Jesus, Guardiola said: “It’s too early to know. He did one training session with the team. We’re happy he is back.”

Manchester City Odds v Olympiacos for Matchday Three

It’s a big week for Manchester City who after their game against Olympiacos, take on Liverpool in their biggest game of the season. City haven’t been themselves this season and already find themselves five points behind Liverpool with just seven games played this season (City have a game in hand).

A win against Olympiacos could set City up perfectly for their heavyweight match-up against the champions and I’m predicting a 2-0 win on Tuesday evening for the Group C leaders.

Sportsbooks odds on a City win open at -550. Odds on an Olympiacos win open at +1400. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +600.

Atalanta vs. Liverpool Betting Prediction for Matchday Three

Liverpool takes on free-scoring Italian side Atalanta on matchday three of the UEFA Champions League.

It’s been a successful start to the competition for Liverpool who’ve won their first two games without conceding a goal.

Their defensive prowess, especially without Virgil Van Dijk will be tested to the fullest against one of the best-attacking sides in Europe.

Atalanta scored 98 goals last season, 22 more than champions Juventus and the most out of any side in the top five European leagues. They had both the biggest home win (7-1 v Udinese) and biggest away win (7-0 v Torino) last season in which they finished third for the second consecutive season.

They sit fourth in the league this season after four wins and two losses in their first six games and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp paid praise to Atalanta’s rise over the last few years as he prepares to take them on for the first time as Liverpool manager.

What Does Klopp Think About a High Scoring Atalanta Side

“Very good. Very good; top, top players; top recruitment; very, very well organized; play their system with 100 percent conviction, they know exactly what everybody has to do. They use the skills of the individuals in an incredibly smart way, so you can exactly see how they use the strikers, how they use the strikers in different ways.

They have all our respect. I know how good they are. I actually enjoyed the analysis, I enjoyed watching them because it’s really interesting. How always in life, if you see something interesting you should try to learn a little bit of it. That’s what we always try but, in this case, for sure it’s possible for us.”

Despite injury issues curtailing the first few weeks of their 2020/21 Premier League season, Liverpool has demonstrated the determination and warrior spirit that led them to their first Premier League title last season as they sit atop of the Premier League today.

Their latest win at home to West Ham United 2-1 equaled a 40-year record of 63 home games unbeaten in the league in what is one of many records Jurgen Klopp has matched/beaten during his tenure as Liverpool manager.

Liverpool Odds to Clip Atalanta

When asked about the threat of Atalanta going forward and whether this will make Liverpool change their game plan, Klopp said he respects Atalanta and it will be down to all 11 players to deny the Atalanta players the goal-scoring opportunities they usually create in abundance.

“You have to make sure the players who are usually finishing off the situations don’t get the ball that often because that’s something you can do together. The block is one player, the save is one player, all the rest is for 11 players. That’s why we work on that pretty often, to be honest. That’s the match plan. It would not be different in any situation. We respect that. They are a threat.”

This game will indeed have plenty of goals and I have Liverpool winning 4-2 in a thrilling match-up.

Sportsbooks odds on a Liverpool win open at +105. Odds on an Atalanta win open at +210. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +310.

EPL Title Race Betting Predictions

With six weeks of Premier League football under our belts, we analyze the trends of the ever-changing EPL title odds.

Defending Premier League champions Liverpool got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory at Anfield against Sheffield United.

Despite going a goal behind with Sander Berge converting a penalty which was yet another controversial VAR decision, the Reds hit back four minutes before half-time with Roberto Firmino scoring his first goal of the season after Aaron Ramsdale parried Sadio Mane’s shot into the path of the Brazilian.

It was Liverpool’s new Portuguese signing who got all three points for the champions with Diogo Jota heading from a Sadio Mane cross.

It’s Jota second league goal for Liverpool and it came at a crucial when three points were massively needed for the confidence of the home side heading into a second consecutive week of UEFA Champions League football.

For the second week in a row Liverpool are second favorites to win the Premier League at +180.

Arsenal Odds and Manchester City Odds in the EPL Title Race as Liverpool Stays on Top

It’s a second consecutive defeat for Arsenal who slipped to yet another 1-0 defeat, this time at home to Leicester City. It’s a third defeat in four for Arsenal who’ve dropped to 11th in the table.

Jamie Vardy came off the bench for Leicester and scored the winner which was his 11th goal in 12 games against Arsenal.

Arsenal possess the sixth-best odds to win the 2020/21 Premier League Title at +4000.

Manchester City dropped points for the third time this season as they drew 1-1 with West Ham at the London Stadium. West Ham’s Michail Antonio scored a stunning overhead kick in the first half before Phil Foden came off the bench and netted his second of the season shortly after the second half began.

It’s another frustrating result for Manchester City who saw Sergio Aguero come off at half-time with a hamstring injury in what looks like another spell on the sidelines for the Argentine just six weeks into the season.

City sit 11th in the table and have scored just eight goals in five games, lower than the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion, West Ham United and Aston Villa.

Despite their result, City remain favorites to win the EPL title for the second week in a row at +120.

Manchester United Odds After A Back-and-Forth Week

After Manchester United’s 4-1 win against Newcastle United last week where we witnessed some great attacking play from the visitors, Man United followed that up with a lethargic performance against Chelsea in a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

It was a game that massively failed to live up to expectations and one devoid of any creativity an excitement. It is, however, United’s first clean sheet of the 2020/21 Premier League season and guaranteed a point against a difficult opponent in Chelsea.

Manchester United’s odds to win the title now sits at +2500, only the seventh best in the Premier League.

Chelsea’s struggles continued after a less than impressive performance in a 0-0 draw against bitter rivals Manchester United.

Despite Chelsea starting Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic, the away side failed to create anything of note and had just one shot on target throughout the game.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard set out his team satisfied for the draw it seemed to many and Chelsea have just one win in their last four league games with three draws.

Chelsea possess the fourth-best odds to win the 2020/21 EPL Title this season at +1600.

Krasnodar vs. Chelsea Betting Prediction

Chelsea play Russian side Krasnodar on Wednesday evening in their second UEFA Champions’ League group stage game this season. Chelsea drew 0-0 with reigning Europa League winners Sevilla in their opening group stage game this season in what was an uninspiring performance from Frank Lampard’s side.

Chelsea are under pressure to get the win in Russia, majorly down to their form in the Premier League so far this season. The London side have only won two league games this season and have just one win in their last four league games.

They’ve shown no qualms about scoring goals, scoring three goals or more in four of their league games but it’s the recurring issue of conceding goals that is the glaring problem for Chelsea this season. They’ve conceded nine goals this season in just six games but the defensive reinforcements they bought in the summer I believe will improve their defence given time needed to gel with each other as a defensive unit.

That pressure I talk about is justified in my opinion, this is Lampard’s second year in charge, yet he’s been unable to fix their defensive issues which is reaching a year and a half in turmoil.

Is Lampard Perceived Differently?

Lampard himself said in his pre-match press conference that he feels he’s treated differently being the only English manager of the ‘Big Six’ clubs.

“I think possibly, yes; I think when I got this job a lot of people were questioning me getting the job.

“A lot of people told me ‘are you sure you want to take it’ because of maybe opinion. And I think when sometimes people can be very quick to form opinions straight away, for whatever reason, and being a young English manager with one year at Derby some of that I understood.

“But at the same time, I think sometimes we just have to judge people on face value, like we do judge any manager; it doesn’t matter where you’re from, I think all managers should be judged the same.

“I don’t feel the responsibility for the English managers’ union, but I was surprised myself when I was told that stat last week, the great Bobby Robson to be the only other English manager to have done it,” said Lampard.

“There was quite a long time when I used to hear about how English managers couldn’t get jobs in the Premier League, and there was a merry-go-round and this sort of thing.

“But I actually think it’s slightly different now, I think sometimes now we’re seeing English managers showing their qualities within the game, throughout the Premier League, throughout the Championship, throughout the leagues.

Chelsea Odds for Match Day: Day Two

Despite finishing third in the Russian Premier League last season, Krasnodar have been pretty ordinary this season, sitting 12th in the league, with five wins, three draws and four losses after 12 games.

They did however earn a point in their opening Champions League fixture away to Rennes in a 1-1 draw.

Despite Chelsea’s troubles, I back them to get a 3-1 win away from home.

Sportsbooks odds on a Chelsea win open at -300. Odds on a Krasnodar home win open at +700. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +450.

Marseille vs. Manchester City Betting Prediction

Manchester City started off their 2020/21 UEFA Champions League campaign in successful fashion with a 3-1 win against Portuguese champions Porto at the Etihad Stadium last week.

Goals from Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan and new signing Ferran Torres was enough to collect all three points to make a strong start to a competition the club have had aspirations of winning signing their takeover in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour.

However, City’s inconsistency stemming from last season has revealed itself once again with the club yet to win two league games in a row. City’s last game was a 1-1 draw with West Ham United in yet another result where they dropped points. After five games, City sit 13th in the Premier League, scoring just eight goals in five games as they lag behind the likes of Leeds United and Aston Villa respectively, who’ve made strong starts to this year’s league campaign.

Manchester City’s opponents on Tuesday are former UCL champions Marseille in what will be the first ever competitive meeting between the two sides.

Marseille sit fourth in Ligue 1 after eight games, losing just one game this season as well as defeating defending champions Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in a fiery contest at Parc De Princes last month.

Is This Marseille’s Chance to Get Back to Relevancy?

Despite having a rich European history, Marseille last competed in the UEFA Champions League in the 2013/14 season where they were eliminated in the group stage.

The team lost their first group stage game last week, conceding a 90th minute winner to Olympiacos to lose 1-0.

Marseille possess the quality to qualify for the Champions League sporting the likes of Dimitri Payet, Florian Thauvin and Morgan Sanson in their side, but consistency has been a major issue for them in recent seasons.

Marseille are managed by Andre Villas-Boas, former manager of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur and Pep Guardiola praised the Portuguese manager on the job he’s doing in Marseille.

“I followed him at Porto where he did an incredible job. We have not been in touch much since, but he knows perfectly the Premier League, a young but experienced manager that has had success and is doing a good job in Marseille.”

“A manager like Andre makes an incredible job with Porto winning the Europa League and league there. After being in many many countries and doing well he speaks for himself. Sometimes the managers depend on the players that we have, and I think he is doing a good job at Marseille. I’m looking forward to say hi tomorrow and after focus on the game.”

With the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte back from injury, I’m confident City will get the win in Marseille by two goals to one.

Sportsbooks odds on a City open at -250. Odds on Marseille winning their first Champions League game in seven years open at +650. Odds on a draw between the two teams open at +375.

Pick: Marseille 1, Manchester City 2

Liverpool vs. Midtjylland Betting Prediction

Liverpool host their first UEFA Champions League game at Anfield this season as they take on Danish champions Midtjylland on Tuesday evening.

Liverpool won a tightly fought contest away to Ajax 1-0 last week in their opening group stage game of the competition last week while Midtjylland in what is their first ever participation in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League were thrashed 4-0 by free-scoring Italian side Atalanta.

Liverpool are back on winning terms in the Premier League after a two-game winless run as they defeated Sheffield United 2-1 via goals from Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota.

It’s two Champions League gameweek’s in a row for all teams in the competition and an opportunity for sides to make statements in Europe’s elite competition.

Midtjylland are a side making their debut in the competition and will be keen not to just make up the numbers, but they are up against it as they travel to one of Europe’s most famous grounds to take on the reigning Premier League champions.

The Danish champions have made a strong start to their league campaign despite losing their first game of the season. They’ve gone on to win four of their last five games as they sit third in the Danish Superliga, level on points with SønderjyskE and Vejle.

Liverpool and Klopp Not Overlooking Anybody

One man who isn’t taking the champions lightly is Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp who insisted that they are a “proper challenger”.

“They are really good,” Klopp said. “The 4-0 against Atalanta was not a 4-0 – that was the result, but it didn’t look like that kind of game.

“They have a clear plan. We have a clear plan as well, which is adaptable. We have to make a lot of good decisions in the game and show that we are ready for a proper fight.”

It’s been rapid growth for the Danish champions who were only founded 21 years ago and Jurgen Klopp told the press that his side do not see Midtjylland as a small side despite their brief history.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you Danish guys need to work on your confidence. We don’t see you as a small club, we see you as a proper challenger in this group.

“Nobody is part of the group because they are nice cities or whatever, they are there because they are a good football team.

“They earned the right to be in the Champions League in the season before and Midtjylland, after an impressive comeback against Brondby, are now [joint] top of the table so it means they are good again.

“They won’t wave the white flag. They will be here and give everything they can.

“There are no small teams in the Champions League. How small or big you are is shown on the pitch, not in any press conferences before.”

Football is an unpredictable game, but I think it’s fair to say Liverpool win this comfortably, 4-0 in my opinion.

Sportsbooks odds on a Liverpool win open at -600. Odds on a Midtjylland shock win open at +1200. Odds on a draw between the two clubs open at +700.

Prediction: Liverpool 4, Midtjylland 0

EPL Title Race Betting Predictions for Week 5

With five weeks of Premier League football under our belts, we analyze the trends of the ever-changing EPL title odds.

Defending Premier League champions Liverpool were robbed of a defeat after VAR ruled that Sadio Mane was offside in the lead up to Jordan Henderson’s disallowed goal as they drew 2-2 with Everton.

It was one of the more exciting Merseyside derbies in recent years with Everton twice coming from behind to level the score. Liverpool lost Virgil Van Dijk just 10 minutes in after a reckless challenge from Everton keeper’ Jordan Pickford. Van Dijk was confirmed to have torn his ACL and is likely to miss out on the rest of the season in a devastating turn of events for Liverpool.

Despite deserving of a win, Liverpool slipped to second favourites to win the Premier League at +225.

Arsenal slipped to a second defeat in three games after coming up short in their 1-0 defeat against Manchester City. Raheem Sterling netted his second league goal of the season in the first half which proved to be the winner.

It was a cagey affair in what is actually an improvement for Arsenal in league meetings against City. It’s the beginning of a tough little run for Arsenal who face Leicester, Manchester United, the unbeaten Aston Villa, Leeds and Tottenham Hotspur in their next six games.

Arsenal possess the seventh-best odds to win the 2020/21 Premier League Title at +3300.

Manchester City Odds to Win the EPL

Manchester City earned a much-needed 1-0 win against Arsenal in their first win at the Etihad Stadium this season. Raheem Sterling scored the only goal of the game as he nears closer to 100 Premier League goals for his career.

Yesterday saw the return of City’s record goal scorer Sergio Aguero who made his first appearance of the season. City rose to 10th with the win.

City’s odds to win the title now sits at -110, after passing Liverpool as the favourites to win the Premier League.

Manchester United returned to winning ways with a 4-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.

It looked as if the game was headed for a draw with the scoreline 1-1 at 85 minutes but a Bruno Fernandes finish after a great passing sequence gave United the lead with minutes to go.

Just four minutes later, Aaron Wan-Bissaka scored his first Premier League goal for Manchester United with a screamer and that was followed by Marcus Rashford’s second goal of the season to make it a convincing 4-1 scoreline.

Manchester United’s odds to win the title now sits at +2800, only the sixth best in the Premier League.

EPL Odds for the Inconsistent Chelsea Club

Chelsea’s inconsistency reared his ugly head again after blowing multiple leads to draw 3-3 with Southampton at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea were 2-0 up before 30 minutes had been played thanks to Timo Werner’s first Premier League goals for the club. Danny Ings halved the deficit before half time before Che Adams levelled the scoreline in the second half.

It didn’t take long before Chelsea hit back as just two minutes later, Kai Havertz scored his first league goal for the club to make it 3-2 to Chelsea.

Southampton never gave up after Jannik Vestergaard headed in Theo Walcott’s shot to take it past Kepa Arrizabalaga and earn a well-deserved point.

Chelsea possess the fifth-best odds to win the 2020/21 EPL Title this season at +2500.

Ajax vs. Liverpool Betting Prediction for Matchday One

Liverpool begin their UEFA Champions League campaign against Ajax in what is the first competitive game between the two sides since 1966.

The two clubs have only played against each other twice in a second-round tie in the 1966/67 European Cup, the first leg was won by Ajax 5-1 and the second leg ended in a 2-2 draw.

Liverpool are winless in their last three games in all competitions, with the last two in the league. They suffered an embarrassing 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa before drawing 2-2 against Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday.

Ajax have made yet another strong start to the Eredivisie as current champions from the 2018/19 season as the league was suspended last season. They’ve won four out of their five league games and that’s with losing the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Donny van der Beek and Sergino Dest in the summer.

Ajax v Liverpool is a special game in Europe. Both clubs storied history in this competition is well-known and it will be two historic games hosted in both the Johan Cruyff Arena and Anfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his excitement of facing Ajax and his previous meetings against them as Borussia Dortmund manager.

“[Our] proper analysis didn’t start yet, not with me. After this I have the analysis meeting so then I will know much more about it, but in general yes [it feels like a big European game],” the boss told Liverpoolfc.com.

“If you think, and if you thought in the past, about European football Liverpool was 100 per cent involved and Ajax as well, so that’s how it is. One of the highlights of my time at Dortmund was for sure the two games against Ajax, just for a personal reason. You think: ‘OK, you want to play in this stadium against a young, very exciting team.’

“Ajax changed their philosophy slightly [and] brought in some experienced players. [Daley] Blind is there, [Dusan] Tadic is there, [Quincy] Promes, [Davy] Klaassen they got back from Bremen – so a few players that played earlier in their career at Ajax, then mix it up with a lot of really young and exciting talents. That’s how it is.”

What the Loss of Virgin Van Dijk Means for Liverpool Betting

Liverpool are hugely in need of a win, especially after the loss of Virgil Van Dijk for perhaps the rest of the season and I think they grab the win 3-1 away from home.

Ajax are dangerous opposition for anybody that comes against them and they showed that in spades in their 2018/19 UEFA Champions League campaign when they knocked out both Juventus and Real Madrid.

Sportsbooks odds on a Liverpool away win open at -143. Odds on an Ajax home win open at +375. Odds on a draw between the two sides on matchday one open at +320.

Chelsea vs. Sevilla Betting Prediction for Matchday One

Chelsea v. Sevilla, Stamford Bridge, October 20, 2020, 3:00PM EDT

Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League campaign is underway tonight as they host current Europa League holders Sevilla. Chelsea’s Champions’ League group consists of Sevilla, Krasnador and Rennes.

The West London club aren’t exactly entering the match with the utmost confidence after squandering multiple leads on the weekend in their 3-3 draw against Southampton. Despite leading 2-0 and 3-2 at times, Jannik Vestergaard headed past Chelsea keeper’ Kepa Arrizabalaga in stoppage time to earn a point for the away side.

Chelsea have now conceded nine goals in five league games in what looks like a continuation of defensive deficiencies within the Chelsea side. Lampard has spoken about his side’s issue at the back in his pre-match press conference.

“I keep talking about the need for work and how things can take time. We’re playing with new players and it’s understandable to have moments where I talk about game management,” he said.

“It has to be worked on with time. It’s a lesson to be learnt. I’m aware of the stats and the other stat is we’ve conceded second least shots.

“It’s something we’re aware of with our recruitment and on the pitch with the players to make sure we set up well.”

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta echoed his manager’s comments on their defense and has called on his side to improve and insisted that goalkeeper Kepa whose most recent mistake led to Southampton’s second goal is not a quitter and he will get past his difficult spell.

“When you have solidity defensively it gives confidence to the whole team. When you are weak defensively you feel you have to score three or four goals each game,” he explained.

“I always see football as a collective. We have to improve. We have to take decisions to defend together. It doesn’t matter our position. You cannot play beautiful football every day but when you do not that you have to get the results. We have to improve that.”

“We have difficult times. In my position as captain and I know Kepa a long time. I always try to help him. We have to have the character and personality to face it, work hard.

“I have no doubt he will keep working hard and give everything to revert the situation. The whole squad is fighting like a collective. When you are a goalkeeper it is a different situation, but I have no doubt he will keep working hard and giving his best.”

Can Chelsea Win the Champions League?

Their opponents Sevilla have had a mixed start to the season, winning their first two games of the season, then drawing 1-1 with Barcelona before losing 1-0 to Granada away from home.

Head coach Julen Lopetegui praised Chelsea and thinks they are one of the sides who can win the Champions League this season.

“We are up against one of the teams that could win the title, in Chelsea, but we want to focus on performing well tomorrow – that’s all we can do.


“I think it’s going to be a tough ask. Every match is difficult, but especially in the Champions League against a team like Chelsea. ‘Chelsea have bought some good players, invested a lot of money, it’s a great squad and coach that knows the club inside-out.”

I think Chelsea end up getting the win 2-1 with Werner scoring in his second game in a row.

Sportsbooks odds on Chelsea getting the win open at -110. Odds on Sevilla winning open at +290. Odds on a draw between the two sides open at +260.

Chelsea vs. Barnsley Betting Preview and Prediction

By: Fasika Zelealem

After a bright start to the season with a 3-1 away win at Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea suffered their first loss of the season at home against Liverpool in a 2-0 defeat.

A Sadio Mane brace helped by yet another Kepa Arrizabalaga blunder was enough to beat Chelsea who missed a penalty through Jorginho when the score was 2-0.

Those Chelsea fans who were down about the defeat, don’t worry, that team is nowhere near your final form. The likes of Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, and now Edouard Mendy have yet to play for the game whereas Christian Pulisic has yet to return from injury to star in his sophomore season for Chelsea.

Chelsea now begins their EFL Cup campaign at home to Sky Bet Championship side Barnsley. The Blues were knocked out of the competition last year courtesy of a 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the fourth round. It’s a trophy Chelsea have won five times with the last time being in 2015 while they made the final in 2019, losing 4-3 on penalties to Manchester City following a 0-0 draw after extra-time.

Chelsea is huge favorites for today’s game and rightly so, but we shouldn’t act like this game, and following draws don’t hold huge significance just because the value of the trophy has somewhat declined due to Manchester City’s dominance of it.

No More Excuses for Chelsea

Chelsea is a big club, and big clubs win trophies. Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard had the excuse last year of the departure of star player Eden Hazard, the transfer ban, and the almost forced selection of young players. After a year and £200 million of spending, Frank Lampard has no excuse.

He’s been backed by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and has been able to target problem areas in the squad such as the goalkeeper, defense, and forward positions.

Yes, they need time to gel, yes, these players aren’t robots and yes, it’s unrealistic to think they can instantly challenge sides like Liverpool and Manchester City whose core has been together for years now.

But it is not unrealistic to expect a trophy. Look at Mikel Arteta last season, he was Arsenal’s third manager of the year and he managed to outsmart Frank Lampard to win the FA Cup in his first-ever managerial job.

Chelsea vs. Barnsley Betting Prediction

On to their opponents for tonight, we’ve seen two sides of Barnsley. We’ve seen the 20th placed side in the Championship who has lost both their league games without scoring a goal.

And, we’ve also seen the Barnsley side who’s won both their first round and second round ties in the EFL Cup against fellow Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough without conceding a goal.

Chelsea remains huge favorites, coming in at -800 to go through to the next round. While Barnsley is massive underdogs with odds of +1800 to cause a huge upset. I believe Chelsea will rout Barnsley 4-0 with the Liverpool game in the back of their heads but for those bettors who have faith in the EFL Cup version of Barnsley, I implore you to go nuts.

Big 12 Championship Odds Preview

By: Travis Pulver 

Big 12 Championship Odds Revisited: Has Anything Really Changed for The Big 12? 

With all the chaos and confusion surrounding the college football season for a while, it seemed like it may not happen for a while. It may not look like your typical season, but there will be football. It will be different. But different can be good, right? 

However, are things really going to be all that different for the Big 12? 

Since they only have ten teams in the conference, they already play everyone in the conference. The only difference is the non-conference slate—which has been reduced to one game. Teams will typically have three giving them plenty of time to work the kinks out before the conference slate starts. But this year, there will only be one.  

So, when the conference slate starts, teams could very well still be trying to figure things out. Because of that, there could be a few early upsets that end up impacting the final standings. 

Should that possibility impact how you bet, though? 

Big 12 Championship Odds Revisited: Conference Still Oklahoma’s To Lose

When preseason odds were first released months ago, Oklahoma was considered the favorite to win the Big 12—and nothing has changed. DraftKings still has the Sooners listed as the favorite (-125) followed closely by Texas (+175). 

Odds for the rest of the conference are as follows: 

  • Oklahoma State (+650) 
  • Iowa State (+1000) 
  • TCU (+1600) 
  • West Virginia (+2500) 
  • Baylor (+3300) 
  • Kansas State (+4000) 
  • Texas Tech (+6600) 
  • Kansas (+10000) 

Oklahoma has been the class of the conference, having won the championship for five years in a row. But if they were ever going to get knocked off, this could be the year. They lost a lot of key players off last year’s good-but-not-great defense that will need to be replaced. 

While the passing game rules in the Big 12, you still need a run game. But with Kennedy Brooks out and Trey Sermon now calling Ohio State home, there is no telling what the Sooners run game will look like.  If the running game struggles, it may be harder for their new quarterback, Spencer Rattler, to acclimate to the college game. 

Once the Sooners play a game, we will know what to expect from them going forward, but there are plenty of questions about the team for now. But there are even more about Baylor. 

Should You Follow the Matt Rhule Rule Like the Oddsmakers?

It seems as if oddsmakers are down on the Bears because Matt Rhule left. But the Bears are still a very good team. While losing Denzel Mimms to the NFL hurts, the Bears have a good offense coming back, led by quarterback Charlie Brewer. However, they may be in trouble on defense, with only two starters coming back. But with a defensive-minded head coach in Dave Aranda, they could surprise people with a quick rebuild. 

As usual, expectations are high for Texas. With the talent coming back on offense, that is not hard to understand. However, Texas could have used the additional non-conference games this season with new coordinators on both sides of the ball. 

Should either side struggle with their new playbooks, the Longhorns could find themselves on the outside looking in for the playoffs early in the season. They have two relatively easy games in September, but then face TCU, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Oklahoma State in October. 

Texas could be out of the running heading into November. 

Iowa State is not going to be an easy win with much of last year’s defense coming back and a talented trio on offense at quarterback (Brock Purdy), Breece Hall (running back), and wide receiver (Tariq Milton). But the offense has to be rebuilt with only one starter coming back—which could mean trouble early in the year. 

Oklahoma State will get a lot of attention early on with Heisman hopeful Chuba Hubbard leading the way coming out of the backfield. As a team, they have 19 starters coming back, which could lead to high expectations or a faster start than anyone else in the conference. 

As for the rest of the conference, TCU will likely be a better team than it was last year. But it may be asking too much to think they could compete for the conference title. The same could be said for Kansas State. 

West Virginia will still be rebuilding this season, and Texas Tech has a lot of work to do, which leaves Kansas. Les Miles has his work cut out for him there. 

So—who’s going to win? 

That’s a good question, which is also why college football is so great. There is a world of potential ready for each team to tap into. Whoever does the better job will come out ahead in the end. But who that will be right now is hard to say.

MLS Is Back Tournament Odds – Semifinal Matches

By: Matt Watkins 

MLS is Back Tournament Odds—Semifinal Matches

Just when you think you have this tournament and its opponents figured out, there’s a left turn and we get a set of final four clubs that, while maybe not a huge surprise (save for one), pretty much no one expected as the last ones standing for the title.  

With three matches remaining, this is as wide open a field as you can get and the betting lines reflect the parity between the squads.  

MLS is Back Tournament Odds—Semifinal Match No. 1

(Note: All times listed are EST) 

Philadelphia Union vs. Portland Timbers – WednesdayAugust 5, 8:00 p.m. 

Line: Philadelphia +170Portland +150 

The match against Sporting KC was exactly why some people said Philadelphia was a team to keep an eye on during this tournament. The 15 minute stretch in the first half where it scored all of its goals was poetry to watch (well, unless you live in Western Missouri). They held up under adversity after conceding a stoppage time goal at the end of the first frame and withstood a deluge in the first 10 minutes of the second stanza from Sporting.  

The key to the match was Brendan Aaronson. If you’ve watched any of the tournament, you’ve heard the commentators, regardless of network, rave about his ability, how the Union needs to move players like Aaronson and Mark McKenzie on to European clubs in order to validate the investment that ownership has made on the development side. Honestly though, having watched my fair share of Philly matches, both last year and in this tournament, I just hadn’t seen it.  

In the quarterfinal match, we saw it. Maybe Jim Curtain got in his ear and said “you’re not the name YET that can get every call from falling down, play your game and earn it.” Maybe he decided he needed to make a bigger impact on his own. Maybe it was the KC defense that allowed him to connect so well with Sergio Santos. Whatever it was, his play made the difference for Philadelphia and propelled the team into the semis.  

MLS is Back Tournament Odds—How Did Portland Get Here

Portland looked equally as strong in its semifinal match against NYCFC. Unlike Philadelphia who built its lead early, the Timbers held steady before a defensive lapse (even an eight year old knows not to try to clear the ball in front of his own net, so why the Cityzens thought it would work is beyond comprehension) allowed them to tie the match before half.  

Second half subs helped to put the contest away. One of the biggest takeaways from the match is the reminder of how tactically sound you need to be against a team as complete as Portland. Two of the three goals came completely against the run of play with the giveaway in the box and a counterattack.  

One point of concern for the Timbers is the turnaround time. Philadelphia played the first of the quarterfinal matches on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Portland played the last on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. The Timbers have a much older overall lineup than the Union. How does having 48 hours less recovery time affect players like Sebastian Blanco, Diego Valeri, and Diego Chara, all of whom are on the wrong side of 32?  

Chara and Valeri are club legends who have ties to the 2013 MLS Cup championship team, but does age play a toll, especially the in heat and humidity of Orlando much greater than what they experience at home? 

Competition History: Portland has owned the series history, going 6-1-3 against the Union. Valeri has had some of his best moments coming off the bench against Philadelphia with a goal and an assist in each of his last two matches against the club. 

MLS is Back Tournament Betting Prediction: Match No. 1: Philadelphia 2, Portland 1. Philadelphia hit its stride against KC. Even with Kacper Przyzbelko still not on his game, the way that Aaronson and Santos connected and Jose Martinez played coming up to keep the diamond in the midfield, the offense should be able to get its shots off. The goals the Timbers scored against NYCFC likely don’t go in against Philly.

The Union is much more likely to hold steady on the back line and not give things away, nor is a more athletic keeper like Andre Blake likely to surrender a goal on, what I will absolutely grant was an absolute howler, a shot from 25 yards out. Neither team winning would be a surprise, but we’re going with the younger, fresher, and arguably hungrier Union squad to advance.  

Confidence level: 6/10.  

MLS is Back Tournament Odds: Semifinal Match No. 2

Orlando City vs. Minnesota FC – Thursday, July 317:30 p.m. 

LineOrlando City +150Minnesota +175 

Ok, we get it now. Orlando is a legit threat in MLS. Could it be argued that LAFC didn’t take the Lions seriously enough or counted the match as over on the last minute corner that allowed the Lions to draw even? Yes. Did Bob Bradley mismanage his subs in the quarterfinals? Probably. But Orlando City still needed to uphold its end of the deal and it did.  

The defense was outstanding against LAFC and the offense got its chances before winning in penalties. The Lions have been the most impressive team in this tournament, both overall, as well as from an exceeding expectation standpoint. Mauricio Pereyra has been one of the top players in the tournament and has allowed Nani to play more a facilitating role with his creative brilliance.  

Orlando City still needs to finish better though as it has created chances better than any team, but has still mustered just one goal each in its last three matches. It’s been enough to see the team through to the semis, but the Lions will need to convert some of those opportunities in the semis if they want to advance.  

MLS is Back Tournament Odds—How Did Minnesota Get Here?

Minnesota, meanwhile, has been pretty much exactly as advertised. The Loons can win in multiple ways, as we’ve seen in their two knockout stage matches. They can play a tight defensive battle and grind out a draw to force PK (as they did against Columbus) or they can methodically carve your defense and find ways to get the ball in the back of the net (as they did against San Jose).  

All that said, the biggest concern is who is not there for Minnesota. Can the run continue without Ike Opara (out for the tournament), Kevin Molino (hurt against Real Salt Lake), and Romain Metanire (banged up against Columbus)? The logical answer is no, but this tournament has defied logic to this point.  

Match/Competition History: MNU holds a 2-0-1 series advantage against Orlando City with both teams being relatively new to MLS. There is one common link and that is the head coach of Minnesota, Adrian Heath. He guided Orlando City to a pair of USL titles before it moved up to MLS and then was sacked 18 months into its stay at the highest tier. He has led the Loons since 2017 and helped oversee their ascendance.   

MLS is Back Tournament Prediction: Semifinal Match No. 2Orlando City 2, Minnesota FC 1. This is where Minnesota’s injuries just become too much to overcome. Even at full power, the Loons are probably still a step away from hoisting any trophy.  

Orlando City will lock down on defense and what few shots do get through will be handled, mostly comfortably, in net by Pedro Gallese. Most importantly, Orlando City has played tough matches throughout and is battle tested when it comes to late-game situations.  

Confidence level: 6/10. 

MLS Is Back Tournament Odds and Quarterfinal Matches Betting Picks

By: Matt Watkins 

MLS is Back Tournament Odds and Quarterfinal Matches Betting Picks and Predictions

The MLS is Back Tournament certainly hasn’t lacked for drama. With teams that weren’t expected to pull a point advancing past the group stage, we expected a bit of return to normalcy in the knockout stage.

While most of the better teams advanced, it wasn’t without some severe challenges from the upstarts. Time to look at the quarterfinals. 

MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinal Betting Predictions

(Note: All times listed are EST) 

Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting KC – Thursday, July 30, 8:00 p.m. 

Line: Philadelphia +280, Sporting KC -106 

Two of the teams that were lumped into the darkhorse category entering the tournament meet in the quarterfinals, with neither looking very good in getting there. The Union were first up and used a strong defensive effort as well as a resurgent Andre Blake in net in order to eke out a 1-0 win against New England. Philly has conceded just two goals in four matches in the MLS bubble, in large part to the play of Blake who has the most saves in the tournament.  

Meanwhile, KC was nearly the victim of the biggest upset as despite a decisive shot and possession advantage against Vancouver, Sporting was held off the board and had to survive penalty kicks in order to advance. KC has shown flashes in the tournament, but for the most part, hasn’t played up to potential.  

At their best, they can be dominant, as evidenced by the two wins to start play in 2020 before the season paused. At their worst, they still have the talent to compete, but as the competition gets tougher, they’ll need more of early 2020 and less of what we’ve seen so far in July.  

Competition History: They two teams are 6-6-5 against each other in 17 total clashes. The Union holds a 22-20 goal advantage in those contests. They have played one time previously in a knockout event with KC advancing 7-6 on penalty kicks in the 2015 U.S. Open Cup finals. 

Philadelphia Union vs. Sporting KC Betting Prediction: Philadelphia 2, Sporting KC 1.  

We haven’t picked too many upsets in this tournament but given the uneven play of Sporting through its first four matches, it’s difficult to go into any of its matches with much confidence. KC will get off its shots, registering 37 against Vancouver, but only eight of those went on goal.  

Mark McKenzie, Jack Elliot, and the rest of the Union defense will need to make sure there aren’t any lapses on the back line, but the way the Union has counterattacked this tournament, Sporting’s aggressiveness may actually be the key to a Philadelphia victory. 

Confidence level: 5/10.  

Orlando City vs. LAFC MLS is Back Tournament Betting Prediction 

Orlando City vs. LAFC – Friday, July 317:30 p.m. 

LineOrlando City +220, LAFC -110 

The “home” team of the MLS is Back Tournament keeps chugging along. It wasn’t the prettiest win against Montreal, but the Lions were never seriously threatened in the match and held control all the way. The turnaround for Orlando City is really remarkable given that it’s nearly the same roster from last year.  

Manager Oscar Pareja attention to detail has the team playing to potential and believing in itself. When the tournament run ends for Orlando, rest assured the squad that leaves the field will have given its opponent all it can handle.  

If you remember from our group stage preview, about LAFC we said “they don’t just beat you, they take away your will to live.” After a stumble against Houston with a draw in its opening match, the Black and Gold had chugged along with methodical efficiency. Diego Rossi has been brilliant as the focal point of the offense in the absence of Carlos Vela. Nothing should change here.  

Match/Competition History: LAFC holds a 1-0-1 advantage against Orlando City and has a 6-3 edge in goals.  

Orlando City vs. LAFC Betting Prediction: LAFC 3, Orlando City 1.  

The Lions may make this one closer, but at the end of the day, LAFC is just too talented, too strong, and too hungry after last year’s early postseason exit. It needs to prove it is a, if not THE dominant force in MLS before it gets a reputation of regular season success preceding postseason failure. 

Confidence level: 8/10. 

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Minnesota FC MLS is Back Tournament Betting Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Minnesota FC – SaturdayAugust 1, 8:00 p.m. 

LineNot set as of 8:00 a.m. on July 29 

Midway through the group stage, Minnesota showed why it had started 2020 in such strong fashion and carried it into the Round of 16. FC scored the first goal of the tournament against Columbus early in the contest, fought through a ferocious second half attack by the Crew, and eventually emerged in penalties. When playing well, it’s hard to deny Minnesota, a fact that we learned all too harshly by picking against the squad in the first knockout match.  

Meanwhile, San Jose battled against Real Salt Lake through the first half before an early second half PK led to a 5-2 victory. The Quakes are another team in this tournament who, when things go well, the offense fires as its capable, can do some damage. They can be inconsistent, though, which in a knockout stage generally doesn’t bode well for deep runs.  

Match/Competition History: San Jose leads 4-3-0. It’s been a tale of two seasons (each) however. In 2017, 2018, the Earthquakes went 4-0-0 against Minnesota. Since the beginning of 2019, FC is 3-0-0 against San Jose, including a win on March 8 this year, outscoring SJ 11-3 in the process.  

Minnesota FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes Betting Prediction: Minnesota 4, San Jose 2. Minnesota’s ability to vary its attack will be too much for the Earthquakes in the end. The score may be a bit inflated over what the final line will actually be, but I’ll be among those thoroughly shocked if San Jose advances through this one. 

Confidence level: 8.5/10. 

Portland Timbers vs. NYCFC MLS is Back Tournament Betting Prediction

Portland Timbers vs. NYCFC – SaturdayAugust 1, 10:30 p.m. 

LineNot set as of 8:00 a.m. on July 29 

Well hi, NYCFC, nice of you to finally show up to the tournament! After losing its first two group matches and then scraping by with a victory against Miami, NYCFC had to wait through several days of competition and get a perfect set of results. It did and made it into the knockout stage as the final team.  

Playing free and easy, they pretty well dismantled pre-tournament favorite Toronto, who didn’t seem prepared for what NYCFC had to offer. The result, Toronto is wondering what if and NYCFC marches on.  

Meanwhile, in the last match of the Round of 16, much like Toronto did with NYCFC, Portland also took its opponent too lightly. Fortunately for the remaining entrant from the Pacific Northwest, FC Cincinnati is nowhere near the level of NYCFC and the Timbers were able to escape in penalties. A better effort will be needed in the quarters.  

Match/Competition History: Portland leads the series 4-1-0 and holds a 7-2 advantage in scoring. The Timbers have blanked NYCFC in all four wins.  

Portland Timbers vs. NYCFC Betting Prediction: NYCFC 2, Portland 1.  

Make no mistake, Portland will watch the tape and not be surprised, but if the boys from the Bronx can play as they did against Toronto and in last year’s regular season, this could very well be the match that gets it on track and shoots it into the finals. That said, this is an incredibly difficult match to forecast and could very well go either way. 

Confidence level: 3/10.  

EPL Odds and 2020 Season Wrap Up

By: Fasika Zelealem 

2020 EPL Top Four Odds: Who Made the Cut?

The 2019/20 Premier League season has come to a close and it probably goes down as the craziest season in English football history, and not for good reasons. 

The final day of the season consisted of a relegation battle and a top four battle and we will look at who made the cut for the Champions League and who sadly didn’t. 

Chelsea fans… CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve officially made the UEFA Champions League next season. A hectic couple of minutes before half-time consisted of two Chelsea goals thanks to Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud who gave The Blues a two-goal cushion over Wolves going into half-time. 

Chelsea finished fourth in the table, level on points with Manchester United and four points ahead of fifth-placed Leicester City. 

It’s the perfect end to the season and perfect result heading into their FA Cup final against Arsenal on the 1st of August.  

The Last Second UEFA Champions League Qualifiers

Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech will be playing in the Champions League next season and with the likely signing of Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen on the cards, Chelsea is a dark horse to do some dangerous things next season. 

Manchester United fans… CONGRATULATIONS! You too have also qualified for the UEFA Champions League next season. A crucial 2-0 away win against top four rivals Leicester City on the final day confirmed United’s qualification and meant they finished third in Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer’s first full season in charge. 

A 14th penalty for United during the game which Bruno Fernandes converted meant no other team in Premier League history has been awarded more penalties than United have had this season. A last-second strike from Jesse Lingard doubled the scoreline and provided a perfect ending to United’s league campaign, finishing on a 14-match unbeaten streak. 

United’s season isn’t finished, as they play LASK in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie in the Europa League. United have a 5-0 advantage from the first leg and are no doubt the favorites to win the Europa League with odds of -200. 

Leicester City and the Falter at the Finish

Leicester City fans… COMMISERATIONS! After spending 30 matchdays in the top four, Leicester City has found a way to bottle their Champions League aspirations as a 2-0 home loss to Manchester United on the final day of the season condemned them to finish fifth, four points behind both Chelsea and Manchester United. 

A horrendous second half of the season where they won just four games in their last 17 games means they qualify for the Europa League instead of making a return to the Champions League, a competition they reached the quarterfinals in 2017.  

On a positive side for Leicester City, Jamie Vardy became the first-ever Leicester City player to win the Premier League Golden Boot with 23 goals, 

This is a second bottle job on manager Brendan Rodgers’ resume, of course, the first being the infamous 2013/14 season as manager of Liverpool. Rodgers will be on thin ice next season after a capitulation in the second half of the season.  

It’s been a wild and wonderful Premier League season and we can only hope for more craziness next season. 

MLS Odds: MLS Is Back Tournament – Saturday-Sunday Knockout Matches

By: Matt Watkins 

MLS Odds: MLS Is Back Tournament – Saturday-Sunday Knockout Matches

Right, that group stage turned on its ear fast. From a Josef Martinez-less Atlanta United going scoreless in three games to a complete breakdown on the defensive end by the LA Galaxy to NYCFC just not finding any rhythm, the MLS is Back Tournament certainly kept us on our toes. Honestly, you combine all of the above with surprise performances by consistent bottom-dwellers, and much of what we expected in the MLS is Back Tournament never materialized.  

What that leaves us with, however, may be even more intriguing. As we enter the knockout stage, some of the traditional favorites are already gone, which, while we may have less name brand recognition, gives exciting matchups among teams that don’t often see the spotlight. Take the first game of the knockout stage… 

(Note: All times listed are EST) 

MLS is Back Tournament Betting Predictions: Saturday Knockout Stage

MLS Knockout Stage Odds: Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact – Saturday, July 25, 8:00 p.m. 

Line: Orlando City -106, Montreal +250 

Hands up who saw this coming? Even the guy who always says he predicted what no one else expected can’t volunteer he saw both of these squads coming out of the group stage. Part of the reason no one expected Orlando City and Montreal advancing is they both returned nearly the exact same rosters as the ones that finished ninth and 11th in the Eastern Conference in 2019.  

But with coaching changes come new voices and new attitudes and both teams displayed them in the group stage. Orlando City went 2-0-1 and won the group thanks to goal differential against Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Montreal played a couple tough losses before coming together in its final group stage game, beating DC before and advancing as a wild card.  

MLS is Back Knockout Stage Betting Prediction: Orlando City 2, Montreal 0. Orlando City has looked to be the better team in the tournament overall and has the better talent level. Add in that they have three men running into the box on almost every attack and it’s a lot to ask a somewhat undisciplined back line to handle. They almost beat Philly with it, they will be Montreal with it.  

Confidence level: 8/10.  

Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution – Saturday, July 25, 10:30 p.m. 

Line: Philadelphia +150, New England +150 

Two teams that most people expected to be here, but maybe not necessarily how. Coming into the tournament, Philadelphia was supposed to rely on its offense and get enough from the back line and in goal to be able to advance. The Philly offense has yet to come around, though they did look a much more cohesive unit at times against Orlando City. Meanwhile, New England has conceded just one goal in the tournament, even though they, too, were supposed to score.  

This tournament was supposed to serve as the coming out party for the Union who some picked to win the whole thing and fulfill the promise of recent years. Despite tying for the second most points in the group stage, it hasn’t looked dominant and this match against the Revs could be the biggest test Philly faces. One big help for the Union will be the return of Jose Martinez from suspension. 

MLS is Back Knockout Stage Betting Prediction: Philadelphia 2, New England 1. This may be the toughest match to pick in the knockout stage. Both teams have a good attack that hasn’t shown up. Philadelphia had some back line lapses against Orlando City that it cannot afford against New England and has had to rely on Andre Blake a little too much.  

If New England scores early, it could turn the game on its ear. In the end, though, we’re going with recent experience that the Union has in both the 2018 US Open Cup and the 2019 MLS playoffs. Philadelphia has also fairly well owned the Revolution, going 7-1-2 in the last 10 matches between the squads with a +16 goal differential.  

Confidence level: 5/10. 

MLS is Back Tournament Betting Predictions: Sunday Knockout Stage

Toronto FC vs. NYCFC – Sunday, July 26, 8:30 p.m. 

Line: Not set as of 5:30 a.m. EST 

Again, two teams that people expected to be here, but one that did not arrive in knockout as planned. Toronto picked up every bit the same part it played in last year’s MLS Cup, winning group C, posting matches of two and four goals before taking its foot off the gas in the final group game when it already knew heading into the contest it was through.  

Meanwhile, no one predicted the downfall of NYCFC who mustered just two goals in the group stage after showing a dominating offense last season and returning a majority of its weapons. They have looked out of sync and quite frankly snippy with each other on the pitch. That sort of internal crankiness is generally not good for long playoff runs.  

MLS is Back Knockout Stage Betting Prediction for Sunday: Toronto 3, NYCFC 0. Ok, maybe NYCFC will get on the board with one, but even if they take an early lead, this is a match between two teams that are in opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to their level of play. Toronto is doing exactly what it is supposed to and NYCFC hasn’t been able to get out of its own way. The result should bear that out. 

Confidence level: 9/10. 

Sporting KC vs. Vancouver – Sunday, July 26, 11:00 p.m. 

Line: Not set as of 5:30 a.m. EST 

Vancouver showed us why wins, or a single win, not draws get you past group stages. Entering the final match of Group B, the Whitecaps had played, pretty much exactly as you’d expect in the tournament: 0-2-0, scoring three times and conceding seven. But then a victory against Chicago and they’re in position to advance, which they did as the last team through.  

I know there are those who may say you shouldn’t be able to win just one match and go through, but they also did make it on the goals for tiebreaker, so the Caps first two matches did have something to do with it. Still…yeah. 

Meanwhile, Sporting KC started off with a loss against Minnesota FC in what was one of the best early matches of the tournament before scoring multiple times each against Colorado and Real Salt Lake to advance as the Group D winner. They’re exactly who we thought they’d be at the beginning of this tournament, a potentially potent offense with an efficient defense.  

MLS is Back Knockout Stage Betting Prediction for Sunday: Sporting KC 3, Vancouver 0. Unlike our previous 3-0 prediction, it doesn’t feel like we may be shortchanging Vancouver to say it might not score here. It also doesn’t seem out of the question for KC to post more than three goals against a Whitecaps team that conceded seven goals in its first two matches before Chicago inexplicably fell apart when it needed just a single point to advance. 

Confidence level: 9.5/10… I’d say my confidence would be 10/10, but stranger things have happened in sports. I mean, 15 seeds beat two-seeds every couple of years in the NCAA Tournament. End of the day, though, whatever the line comes out to be on this match, go with KC. The only holdback is the ROI if you have to lay $300+ to win back $100, but it’s as close to an investment as opposed to a wager that you may get in this round.

EPL Odds and Favorites to Finish in the EPL Top Four for Week 38

By: Fasika Zelealem 

2020 EPL Top Four Odds Preview Week 38

We have reached Week 38 of the 2019/20 Premier League season and in what has been an exhilarating season, we have a bit more excitement in store on the final day as two teams will confirm their place in the UEFA Champions League next season, while one will miss out. 

Chelsea has dropped to fourth going into the final day after a thrilling 5-3 defeat to Liverpool. Despite being 4-1 down in the second half, the introduction of Christian Pulisic was felt immediately after his mazy run past three Liverpool players enabled him to put the ball on a plate for fellow substitute Tammy Abraham who slotted in to make it 4-2. 

Pulisic then got himself onto the scoresheet for his ninth league goal of the season after a fine strike from inside the box.  

However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal in the 84th minute sealed the three points for Liverpool ahead of their trophy celebrations and meant Chelsea’s qualification for the Champions League was to go to the final day of the season. 

They sit fourth in the table, one point ahead of Leicester City and level on points with Manchester United. 

The Blues face a tough test in their last game of the season at home against Wolves. 

Chelsea’s odds to finish in the top four open at -700. 

Manchester United Odds to Finish in the EPL Top Four

Manchester United’s unbeaten streak has increased to 13 games but only after a disappointing 1-1 draw with West Ham United on Wednesday night. 

Following their 2-2 draw with Southampton, United got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Palace to keep the pressure on both Leicester City and Chelsea. 

While United’s draw against West Ham bumped them up to third in the table going into the final day, it leaves them with a nerve-wracking task as they go head-to-head with Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

United are a point ahead of Leicester and a draw will be sufficient enough to qualify for the Champions League, whereas a win would secure third. 

However, if Leicester were to win and Chelsea were to beat Wolves, United would fail in their task for Champions League football and instead drop to the Europa League for the second year running. 

Manchester United’s odds to finish in the top four open at -500. 

Leicester City Odds to Finish in the EPL Top Four

Leicester City find themselves out of the top four for the first time in months. Their recent results has finally come back to haunt them. Despite a 2-0 win over Sheffield United after their embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Bournemouth four days prior, Leicester City once again capitulated to their opponent, losing 3-0 to Tottenham Hotspur. 

A Harry Kane brace alongside a James Justin own goal condemned Leicester to an 11th league loss and a place down the Premier League table. 

Leicester sits on 62 points, one point behind both Chelsea and Manchester United; the latter whom they face on the final day of the season at King Power Stadium. 

Leicester can draw against United and rely on Wolves to beat Chelsea which will see them qualify for the Champions League. 

Leicester City’s odds to finish in the top four open at +163.

Arsenal v Manchester City Odds Preview for July 18th 18/07/20, 19:45 PM Kick-Off 2019/20 FA Cup, Semi-Final

By: Fasika Zelealem 

Manchester City Odds Against Arsenal for July 18th

Current FA Cup holders Manchester City take on Arsenal in the semi-final of the competition. The winner of the tie takes on either Chelsea or Manchester United in the final at Wembley.

City dispatched Watford 6-0 in the final last year to win their sixth FA Cup title and their first since 2011, making them the first and only English club to complete a domestic treble, having won the EFL Cup and the Premier League earlier that season.

On their way to the semi-finals, they’ve beaten Port Vale, Fulham, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United, setting up a tie with the most successful club in FA Cup history, Arsenal.

The North London club has won a record 13 FA Cups with the last one coming in 2017, after defeating London rivals Chelsea 2-1. This is Arsenal’s first semi-final since winning the cup and have a tough task to get past the current holders.

City is coming off two mightily impressive 5-0 victories against Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion leading up to the match, while Arsenal is coming off the best victory of their season, defeating Premier League champions Liverpool 2-1.

Goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson sealed the deal for the home side who capitalized on uncharacteristic mistakes made by Alisson and Virgil Van Dijk to claim all three points and become just the third side to defeat Liverpool in the league this season.

Manchester City Odds Against an Attacking Arsenal

Arsenal’s route to the semi-finals involved wins over newly-promoted Leeds United, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Sheffield United.

With Arsenal out of the Europa League, the FA Cup is the only chance to collect silverware, however, the sportsbooks has them as the least favorite to win the trophy with their odds opening at +1200.

Despite Arsenal’s record of 96 wins, 57 losses and 45 draws against Manchester City, recent results tell a completely different story.

City has six straight league wins against Arsenal, scoring three goals in five of the six games, including the last three games. Arsenal’s last league win against City came back in December 2015 where they did the double over City.

Sportsbooks odds on City getting to their second consecutive FA Cup final opens at -333. Odds on Arsenal defeating the current holders for a spot in the final open at +800. Odds on the score being level at full time opens at +475.

Who is This Game More Important For?

Despite Pep Guardiola’s insistence that finishing second in the Premier League is more important than winning the FA Cup, I stand by my opinion that this game and the FA Cup, in general, is much more important for Manchester City than Arsenal. 

One note; with the money City have spent, they better get to every final and give themselves an opportunity to win every trophy they can, because that’s what they paid for. 

Second note; Arsenal have had three managers in one season and are truly at the beginning of their rebirth, although a trophy will be nice, it won’t mean much in comparison to what they plan to aspire in years to come under Mikel Arteta. 

Third note; I don’t really have a third note apart from City will miss Sergio Aguero, their leading scorer in history and they’ve scored 10 goals in their last two games, that’s it.