And so it arrives, the English Premier League, and with it, comes headlines. Juicy headlines.
It’s became a tradition in the Premier League where clubs play levels over their expectations, particularly in the first 5-10 matchdays. The most recent example was Leicester City’s magical run to the EPL championship in the 2015-16 season. And what’s even crazier about the Foxes that campaign was that they were able to maintain solid play throughout the entire 38 matchdays.
You also have the fact that EPL clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool have been facing power clubs during the summer. With Tottenham in particular, they’re only two and a half months out of their participation in the UEFA Champions League final. Since then, however, they’ve faced international strengths such as Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in competitions such as the Audi Cup and International Champions Cup.
And just like that, with no breaks, the Spurs are now thrown into Premier League play starting out with Aston Villa in Matchday 1 on Saturday. Luckily for them, the game is in London at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
With the media, you better believe they’ll push the narrative of “shock waves”. We still have a massive amount of contract negotiations and transfers that are still in the works, and then you have Liverpool facing off against Norwich City — a club who has been promoted to the EPL and will be looking to pull an upset over the Reds on their historic entrance into the league. For Crystal Palace, we still have no idea where Wilfried Zaha is, so that’s going to effect the odds drastically for their game against Everton. With headlines like those, you better believe that the press is licking their chops.
But for most betters, they’ll be expecting those “shock waves” to come at a minimum.
Here in the United States in particular, most are used to systems such as the NFL, NBA or MLB, even domestic soccer leagues. These systems allow teams to play their games and then there’s a long stretch of the offseason where a team can significantly improve or decline through acquisitions and losses. With European football, England included, there isn’t a large amount of time to prepare your clubs before league matches start up again. Essentially, the vast majority of the clubs look exactly the same as they did last season. Therefore, with there not being any major and dramatic changes, how can there be major and dramatic results? That’s what the gambler is thinking, and rightfully I might add.
Put it this way: It feels like last season never ended. Clubs literally just ended league play only a few weeks ago, and now we’re right back at it.
Manchester United is still Manchester United, Chelsea is still Chelsea. Crystal Palace is still Crystal Palace, however, the Eagles are going to have a more cautious look about them in the 2019-20 campaign without their attacker Zaha.
And honestly, that’s the best way to look at it when it comes to English Premier League betting. When it comes to media hype, ignore it. Always looks at it from the gambler’s view. The media is always going to create hype for ratings, as they should, it’s good business. When it comes to betting, however, you’ve got to think with authentic logic — thoroughly with your head and your gut. Never think with emotion. When you do that, upsets never happen when you’re consistently handicapping on a successful level.
Let’s go over this weekend’s 10 matches for English Premier League Matchday 1, including my analysis, predictions, the odds and where you can catch the games on television. If you haven’t already, you can also check out my season preview and prediction to win the 2019-20 championship.
ANALYSIS: The first match to kick off the 2019-20 season is the game between Liverpool and Norwich City, airing in mid-afternoon here in the United States. For the Canaries, they’ve been upgraded to the Premier League after winning last season’s Championship. Well, welcome to EPL, Yellows: Their first game in the league since 2014 will be played at Anfield, the home of the Reds. It’s a hell of a way to kick of your new era in the English Premier League.
The main reason for Norwich City’s return to the EPL is manager Daniel Farke, receiving a ton of praise for reviving the attack of the team. He’s also made the Citizens excellent with employing accurate and crisp short passes, as well as possession-advantage.
Not only is Farke a genius on the pitch either, he’s also got talent to work with. After winning the Championship’s Player of the Year award, Teemu Pukki now comes to the Premier League where he could be a viable threat. The Finnish striker would put up an elite 29 goals last season in the Championship, leading the league. And not just that, but Norwich City Football Club also has Tim Krul as their goalie, someone who is familiar with the EPL and their box due to his time at Newcastle United.
For Liverpool, they have Mohamed Salah on their side, a player who is consistently the favorite to take home the Golden Boot every season. Oh yeah, and they currently hold the crown for the UEFA Champions League. However, concerns out of the press and their fans have highlighted their problem at the backline with Nathaniel Clyne’s ACL injury.
Over at Bovada, they give Liverpool the heavy edge at -600 odds. With the state of Norwich City, they might be worth a wager at 1-unit (+1400). You could also consider the Draw market as well, there’s some value there. Even though I like the Canaries, however, it’s hard for me to personally see Liverpool come out and lose a season opener — not with how dominant they are, and also, how eager they are to take away the Premier League from Manchester City. In order to do that, every win is crucial. Solid play from Yellows though against a power.
BETTING PREDICTION: Liverpool 3, Norwich City 1
ANALYSIS: Like Liverpool, Manchester City is a heavy favorite placed at -400 odds. And not just because they’re Man City, but also because West Ham United has some work to do.
Manuel Pellegrini has the challenge of filling gaps at each the backline, the defensive midfielder position, as well at forward. Not just that, but the club is also having a hard time maintaining funding to keep them at the Premier League-level. As a result, they’ve got to be very choosy about where they spend their money, and can only bring in very limited talent.
They would make a solid purchase, however, bringing in striker Sebastien Haller out of Eintracht Frankfurt. He’ll be a great (and much-needed) addition to the squad in the form of scoring, and he’ll certainly be able to add to the Irons’ goal total. Still, West Ham United would struggle to beat some Championship teams with their current struggles, and with how dominant the Citizens are against underdog clubs, you can expect the Hammers to get hammered in this one.
City would take a hit in the offseason in the form of losing Leroy Sane, but they would make up for it picking up midfielder Rodri from power club Atletico Madrid. The Spaniard is a gifted player on the defensive end who could very well complement the team’s talented attackers.
The Sky Blues would also take another step to improve their defense, activating a buy-back clause to bring back their left-back Angelino who has been playing for PSV Eindhoven. Him and Benjamin Mendy are expected to compete for playing time.
Unlike Norwich City for Liverpool, West Ham United for Manchester City should be an easy blowout victory. Liverpool should win their game by two goals, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just by one with the potential of Norwich City. Regardless, it’ll be a competitive game. In this match, we can’t say that. Manchester City wins big, and makes the OVER/UNDER 3 bet interesting for an OVER wager, especially considering the kind of damage they can do. Definitely interesting, but I’ll personally play it safe.
BETTING PREDICTION: Manchester City 3, West Ham United 0
ANALYSIS: Everton is only placed as a +150 favorite to take out Crystal Palace and their +210 odds. Yeah, I understand the game takes place at Selhurst Park, but I think that the gambling community might be underrating the Toffees just a bit.
They may have lost out on the Eagles’ Wilfried Zaha (who is still pushing for a transfer by the way), but he would have just been another part to a strong 2019 summer window.
They would pick up midfielder Fabian Delph from Manchester City and will be bringing back another midfielder in Andre Gomes from Barcelona (loan) after signing him to a five-year deal. Before he went to Spain, he was a key player for Everton. And of course, they still have Richarlison who picks up the majority of the headlines for the club for his superb attacking.
If Jordan Pickford can meet his full potential in goal, the Toffees should thrive.
To Crystal Palace’s credit, I do have them making it a competitive game on their home ground, but give me Everton by a goal to get their season off on the right note.
BETTING PREDICTION: Everton 2, Crystal Palace 1
ANALYSIS: This match represents two clubs who both had deep runs in the 2019 FA Cup. Watford would go a bit further than Brighton & Hove Albion did (the Seagulls would lose in the semifinals), but the Hornets would get theirs in the final when they would suffer a 6-0 blowout to Manchester City.
Not only would Watford make it all the way to the FA Cup final either, but they would also be a thorn in the sides of betters everywhere being one of the best EPL teams against-the-spread. They would also finish in the 10th position on the league table, far exceeding expectations that were set by sportsbooks. As a result, the Hornets would cause lost money in Las Vegas and across the gambling landscape.
Last season, Watford would pull a 2-1 upset win over Tottenham Hotspur, and they would start out the season with a 4-0-0 record after that victory. And not only would they get the win, but they would also rally from a 1-0 deficit at halftime with goals from each Craig Cathcart and Troy Deeney.
It does appear that bookmakers are being more cautious when it comes to Watford, however, With this match, in particular, they have the Hornets placed as a -110 favorite, but at home and against Brighton & Hove Albion, why shouldn’t they be? It’ll be interesting to pay attention to Watford’s future odds as the season progresses. Here in Matchday 1 though, the Hornets deliver on their favorite figure with a 1-0-0 start.
BETTING PREDICTION: Watford 2, Brighton & Hove Albion 1
ANALYSIS: AFC Bournemouth should count their blessings because their lucky enough to even be in the English Premier League at this point. This is especially true when you consider their clean-sheet losses last season to each Fulham and Cardiff City.
However, in their Matchday 1 contest against Sheffield United, the Cherries are plated as a distant -110 favorite to take the victory. That’s bound to happen when you’re playing a Premier League newcomer on your home ground.
Me personally, on the other hand, I’m not giving Bournemouth that luxury. I understand Boscombe is at home, but the Blades are going to be one of the newcomers in the league who won’t be a ‘bye week’ on the schedule. These boys can play, and as a matter of fact, they’re the best out of the new EPL teams.
What makes Sheffield United so tough is their man in the net, and that would be goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Currently, on loan from Manchester United, don’t be surprised to see his solid keeping in the net full-time for Sheffield United Football Club in the near future. If that happens, the Blades are going to be scary competition across the Premier League. Last season in the Championship, Henderson was an absolute force, tallying a total of 21 clean sheets.
Sheffield also has a daunting backline. With Jack O’Connell, he’s had a great ‘come up’ campaign en route to leading his club from League One to the Premier League. After two fantastic seasons with Brentford, John Egan will now be joining in 2019-20 to add to O’Connell’s productivity. As far as the attacking is concerned, you can look to team captain Billy Sharp to handle those duties.
The reason why the Blades’ backline is so scary is because of manager Chris Wilder and his philosophy. He likes to use back-liners as weapons to go along with a high-paced offense. Wilder has center-backs control the ball, while he has the wings push up the field at a high rate. It’s a tactic that sometimes opens the door for the other team to counter-attack, but that’s what Henderson is for in the goal.
Ultimately at the end of the day, I’ll go ahead and give AFC Bournemouth the victory with it being at Dean Court, but I don’t think it’ll be a cakewalk like most pundits think. Give me the Cherries in an absolute brawl.
BETTING PREDICTION: AFC Bournemouth 2, Sheffield United 1
ANALYSIS: These are two squads that are just happy to be in the English Premier League.
For Burnley, they would manage to stay in the EPL after playing superb soccer in the spring. Not only would they pull a 2-2 draw with Chelsea, but this would come after a victory over Cardiff City in clean-sheet fashion. It would also be a win to send the Bluebirds back to Championship football.
The reason for the incredibly close odds in this match is due to both team’s styles, we’re not exactly sure how the two will mesh together, which causes a tough prediction to make. With that being said, the Clarets are the slight favorite at +160.
With that being said, the Draw market at +210 is also looking like a quite popular bet, so you may want to take advantage of those numbers before they go lower, and they will.
How I know that is because it’s an extraordinarily tempting bet for me to make as well. I expect some sloppy soccer in this fixture, for example, one club could be up 1-0 and then a sloppy turnover turns into a 1-1 tie, and then we end in a draw. I legitimately could see this match ending like that, and as a result, I’ll go ahead and place a wager on Draw.
BETTING PREDICTION: Burnley 1, Southampton 1
ANALYSIS: You can expect this match to get plenty of love from the gambling community, and that’s because it’s the sole 12:30 PM ET kick off for the English Premier League. It also comes after the excitement of a whole slate of early morning action.
Spurs fans have been hyped for the new EPL campaign ever since Harry Kane would hit that unbelievable last-minute goal from the halfway line in the International Champions Cup against Juventus. As a result, Tottenham Hotspur comes into this match as a crazy heavy -333 favorite against Aston Villa, especially considering that the Villains are being welcomed back to the Premier League. Well, welcome, Aston Villa. You’re squaring off against the power Spurs in your welcome back, and not to mention Tottenham will be highly motivated coming into this season.
Kane isn’t the only one impressing the Spurs fan base, however. Over the summer, the Lilywhites would go out and acquire midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, who would make a great debut for the club after transferring out of Lyon. The only big loss that the Spurs suffered would be in the form of Kieran Trippier on defense, he would head to Atletico Madrid.
As for Aston Villa, manager Dean Smith has his club in excellent form entering the 2019-20 English Premier League campaign. In his maiden season under contract, Smith would lead the team from a 14th place finish to 5th on the Championship table. When a playoff would happen against Derby County, that’s when the Villa would earn their promotion into the Premier League after taking a 2-1 win.
Smith allows his midfield attackers ultimate freedom, which has allowed the club to achieve a higher possession rate, as well as scoring opportunities and actual goals.
On top of that, center-back James Chester would originally struggle after joining the team, this due to not having any reinforcement in the net. Ever since the Villains have offered him talent, Chester has been super effective.
Unfortunately for Aston Villa, they have a huge issue at the striker position, which means the goals may come at a minimum against a power club in Tottenham Hotspur. With that being said, you have to take the Spurs for the victory, and after all, the match is on their home ground. Issue a possible blowout alert for the Villains.
BETTING PREDICTION: Tottenham Hotspur 3, Aston Villa 0
ANALYSIS: On early Sunday morning, we’ll have two EPL matches for our enjoyment, with one of them being the battle between favorite Leicester City (+126) against Wolverhampton (+254) at King Power Stadium.
Wolverhampton would take a seventh-place finish in the Premier League table last season, and not just that, but they would take out power clubs en route to doing it. This would include knocking both Manchester City and Liverpool out of the FA Cup — they would eventually go on to lose in the semifinals to Watford.
And they haven’t gotten content with their success either. The Wolves would go in the transfer window and compile a total of five signings. After being out on loan to Benfica and have a successful season, Wolverhampton would lock up Raul Jimenez with a four-year deal. Another player out on loan and had a great campaign, Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht) would sign a permanent contact with Wolverhampton as well. After the strong transfer window, it’s looking like the Wolves are ready to improve on their seventh-place finish.
On the side of Leicester City, they’re facing some questions at the line after it’s looking like Harry Maguire is on his way to Manchester United. It was just a few years ago when the Foxes would shock the soccer world and end up as the Premier League champions, but with the current state of the club, that’s appearing quite distant in the rearview mirror.
However, manager Brendan Rodgers is certainly on the looks for an attacking midfielder, especially with this being his maiden full season with Leicester. They would recently bring in Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United, a play at either the midfield or forward position. The Foxes would also acquire depth for their backline landing defender James Justin. He won’t replace Maguire by any means, but he would be effective for Luton Town last season.
There’s two bets that I’m really liking with this match:
With that being said though, going back to the Foxes’ lack of focus, it may be a good thing that Maguire is finally on the tail end of his process of exiting the club. Leicester City may be able to get their focus back quicker than we think. So to mix the formula together: With Wolverhampton being a solid underdog and with Leicester’s focus possibly or not possibly being there (and being home at that), go ahead and give me a draw. This match is quite even in my eyes with all of the circumstances.
BETTING PREDICTION: Leicester City 1, Wolverhampton 1
ANALYSIS: Newcastle United have had dismal exhibition showings throughout the summer, with their most recent being a 2-1 loss last week to Preston North F.C.
Now you understand why Arsenal is such a heavy favorite at -121, despite the fixture being hosted at St. James Park. Me personally, I’m not sold on the Gunners as much as everybody else is.
Arsenal is apart of the race for Crystal Palace’s Zaha, but we’re still not sure what’s going to happen with that. Palace says he’s staying, while Zaha still wants out. Despite that hunt though, the Gunners haven’t been spending any other money to compete with their power rivals this season. And not just that, but they’ve also taken losses in the form of midfielder Aaron Ramsey — Ramsey is now teamed-up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus in the Italia Serie A.
The Gunners would pull a deal with defender William Saliba in the form of a long-term contract, but he’s not much more effective of what’s already on their reserve line.
I’ll still take Arsenal for the win, but it won’t be in dominating fashion. The more intriguing bet to me is the OVER at 2.5. Newcastle United is excellent with their attacks, so I would hop all over that wager.
BETTING PREDICTION: Arsenal 2, Newcastle United 1
THE BREAKDOWN: And the moment has arrived… The heavyweight battle between Manchester United and Chelsea. Coming into the only mid-Sunday match as the favorites are the Red Devils listed at +121, while the Blues are listed at +257. A Draw is listed as more likely to happen than Chelsea winning at +231.
The OVER/UNDER for this match isn’t anything special at 2.5, it’s quite common for a Matchday 1 contest. With that being said, you have to be intrigued at Chelsea’s +257 figure of upsetting Man United at Old Trafford.
However, that wager comes along with a lot of uncertainty now that Eden Hazard has left the Blues for Real Madrid, and would do so in a record-breaking transfer fee. Not just that, but they would replace their manager Maurizio Sarri with Frank Lampard, a former midfielder for Chelsea.
With Sarri, nobody in the club was happy with the way he was dealing with things, and on top of that, he was feeling the stress of not having an elite striker to work with. It was an all-around bad situation for the Blues.
Chelsea wouldn’t have a bad summer though. I like the hiring of Frank Lampard as their new manager, he’s a legend for the Blues playing for them from 2001-2014 and compiling a total of 147 goals. On top of that, he would also do solid work for the England national team. It’s a perfect hire for “The Pride of London” as management. With players, they would add midfielder Mateo Kovacic and they would also bring in American attacking midfielder Christian Pulisic. There’s a lot of hype for Pulisic, especially here in the United States, so be sure to keep an eye on him. I’m expecting Chelsea to have a nice season this year, despite the turmoil of Sarri and Hazard.
The Blues have also decided to get younger as well, dabbling into their youth program to fill empty positions. Some of the players that they’re bringing in are midfielder Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and teenager forward Callum Hudson-Odoi. Expect hose three, in particular, to play significant minutes in Premier League matches.
For Manchester United, they’re locked and loaded for the 2019-20 campaign, and this despite all of the drama surrounding Paul Pogba. The Red Devils would add more strength in the form of signing Harry Maguire, and it’s great timing as well considering that Eric Bailly would suffer a knee injury in an exhibition against Tottenham Hotspur.
United would have a great summer, and like Chelsea, they’re also embracing the youth movement — young players who can immediately contribute at the Premier League and world-class levels. They would bring in right-back Aaron Wan Bissaka (21 years old) out of Crystal Palace, and his future is very promising. He would win the Eagles’ Player of the Year award for the 2018-19 campaign. Another 21-year-old, they would also bring in Daniel James from Swansea City, a speedy player with a high IQ for soccer.
It’s nearly impossible to predict a matchup between heavyweights, especially in Matchday 1. But with the match being at Old Trafford, you have to ride with Manchester United to take the win. But boy oh boy, this game will be an absolute brawl. United by one.
BETTING PREDICTION: Manchester United 2, Chelsea 1
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