Premier League Highlights 3 Soccer Best Bets
There are three Premier soccer games our expert is looking at this week and he has picks for which team he thinks will win.
Give soccer fans—those put-upon, yet loyal, folks who live on an emotional roller coaster with their teams—points for some of the most creative snark in the sporting universe.
One of our games this week features a last-place team with fans who lost patience with their new coach before the new paint was dry on his office. Another features a cup contest between two of the most bitter rivals in Europe. It’s literally the haves vs. the have-nots in the Spanish capital and the snark flows like sangria at a Madrid café.
Snark aside, here are this week’s three best bets, chosen because of their value vis-à-vis form and the numbers.
Brentford’s Buzz Grows Louder
Starting with the form of both teams, this game screams, hollers and bellows value. Brentford is unbeaten in its last five games, unbeaten in its last eight Premier League games and winners of three of its last four league games. Brentford hasn’t lost a league game since Aston Villa blasted the Bees, 4-0, in October.
Since the Premier League resumed after the World Cup hiatus, the Bees are unbeaten at home, claiming Liverpool’s and Bournemouth’s scalps to go with Manchester City’s pelt. Last month, they silenced Leeds’ offense, keeping them scoreless in an 0-0 draw.
The buzz with the Bees swarms around star striker Ivan Toney. He’s third in the Premier League with 13 goals—along with tallying in four of his last five league games. But Toney is currently the focus of an FA investigation into allegations that he placed more than 200 bets on games—a violation of FA Rule E8, which prohibits Premier League players (among others) from betting on football games.
Whatever happens—if anything happens—to Toney won’t happen in time to save Southampton. Cranky Saints fans rolled out the snark, telling new manager Nathan Jones, “You don’t know what you’re doing.” Jones responded by proving he knows more than his critics allege, guiding Southampton to two cup victories and a clutch win at Everton.
All well and good, but the Saints remain anchored at the bottom of the Premier League, tied with Everton at 15 points, but spotting their fellow relegation bait occupants five goals in goal differential. Southampton is 1-4 in its last five games, but the Saints are actually better on the road, where three of their four victories came this season.
This won’t be one of them. Brentford and its 1.9-average point-per-home-game is officially one of those teams nobody wants to play, least of all a 20th-place team desperately trying to claw out of the relegation zone. Jones may know what he’s doing, but so do we when it comes to this game.
Prediction: Brentford -113 over Southhampton at BetRivers
Watch: Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, FuboTV
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Nottingham Forest is Rustling
While everyone was paying attention to Everton’s meltdown and Arsenal’s resurgence (and the two play this weekend), Nottingham Forest was quietly moving up the ladder, taking 11 points from its last five Premier League games.
The Foresters are unbeaten at the City Grounds in their last six Premier League home games and won eight of nine at home in all competitions. Their home form is as solid as anyone’s in the league, with one loss in their last five league matches. And Nottingham Forest can be forgiven for losing 3-0 to Manchester United.
This took Nottingham Forest past Sunday’s foe—Leeds United—and up to 13th. Leeds sits one place and three points behind. And as good as Nottingham Forest’s Premier League form is, that’s how bad Leeds has looked. It won just two of its last 16 Premier League games.
Leeds enjoys a 10-goal edge in goals scored (26-16) and a 12-goal edge in goal differential (-7 vs. -19). And Nottingham Forest owns the second-worst goal differential and third-worst offense in the league.
If this game was at Leeds, you could throw most of this out. But Leeds wins only 11% of its away games and its goals-scored drops by nearly a full goal. That plays into Nottingham Forest racking up clean sheets in 40% of its home matches.
Taking a draw at +240 isn’t a bad wager, considering seven of the last 20 games between these two wound up tied. But we’re going with the Foresters to hold serve and quietly keep their slow ascent up the ladder.
Prediction: Nottingham Forest +160 at Caesars
Watch: Sunday, 9 a.m., ET FuboTV
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Has Anyone Seen Liverpool’s Offense?
Remember when Liverpool was a goal-scoring juggernaut? When you could pencil in the Reds for two, three, often four goals a game, then sit back and marvel at how clinical Liverpool was and how it made offense look easy.
We remember. And we’ve noticed it doesn’t look easy anymore for Liverpool.
It’s one thing to trail Erling Haaland (25 goals) and Manchester City (53), table-toppers Arsenal (45) and Harry Kane-led Tottenham (40) in goals scored. But it’s another to trail Brighton—BRIGHTON! (37). But that’s where the Reds and their 34 goals find themselves, along with ninth in the table. Liverpool stares up at not only Brighton, but Brentford and Fulham.
Yes, injuries to Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Luis Diaz haven’t helped. But the typical finishing ruthlessness in the final third simply isn’t there this year. Liverpool has one goal in its last three Premier League games and Jurgen Klopp’s side didn’t exactly inspire the faithful with their 1-0 FA Cup 3rd-round victory over Wolves last month.
As for Wolves, they’re not inspiring confidence in anything, including their own survival. They find themselves in 17th place only due to a better goal differential than 18th-place Bournemouth, who checks in with a league-worst minus-23. The two are tied with 17 points. Wolverhampton isn’t much better; its minus-18 is tied for third with rock-bottom Southampton.
But fear not Wolves. You do have a hammerlock on one stat: the worst offense in the Premier League. They’ve scored a pitiful 12 goals this year. That’s a 0.6 goals-per-game average. That includes only two tallies in their last four games in all competitions.
Barring a wakeup call from Liverpool, goals will be a premium here, which is why we like the Under-2.5 goals.
Prediction: Liverpool-Wolverhampton Under 2.5 goals -130 at BetMGM
Watch: Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, FuboTV
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