Premier League champions open their season at St. James Park when they take on the Magpies. Will the Citizens kick-start their title defence campaign in the win column or will the hosts upset the odds? Find out as we preview this highly anticipated clash and serve up our choice soccer picks.
Man City Humbled in Community Shield
Sunday’s Community Shield clash saw defending champions Manchester City well and truly humbled by Arsenal in a 3-0 defeat. In fairness, Manuel Pelligrini fielded a watered-down starting XI with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Fernandinho and Pablo Zabaleta sitting out after only just reporting to training following a World Cup-break. Then again, regulars did feature, namely Yaya Touré, Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri, along with new arrivals Caballero and Fernando. Their presence cuts the claim that they were “below strength” rather fine. An inadequate excuse for a rather tepid effort by the defending champions, bringing in rather precarious platform upon which building a successful title defence campaign could teeter even before it gets off the ground properly.
Man City Enter as The Favourites
Man City enter as the -163 favourites in their clash with Newcastle United on match day 1 betting boards across sportsbooks, despite being on the road. On one hand, it makes perfect sense. They are the defending champions, having won the title in an exciting race to the finish behind a 27-5-6 mark and 86 points, two points clear of Liverpool. The quality and depth of the bench undeniable, containing enviable soccer baubles any coach would be delighted to have at his disposal. Indeed, they scored the most goals last season at 102 (one more than a Luis-Suarez-inspired Liverpool) and conceded just 37, marking the league’s second best defence. (Chelsea had the best record with 27 goals allowed.) Home form registered impressively with a 17-1-1 mark while road form was a modest 10-4-5.
Newcastle United the Home Underdogs
Magpies have the dubious honour of hosting the defending Premier League champions – the equivalent of drawing the short straw as far as scheduling goes. Newcastle United are looking to build on a tenth place finish behind a 15-4-19 record, which included an 8-3-8 mark at home and a 7-1-11 record on the road, but before they are even out of the gates they would appear to be on the back foot. Bookies send them into their season opener as the ridiculous underdogs at +400 to win outright.
Soccer Betting Analysis
Any encouragement quietly optimistic Newcastle fans might have needed ahead of the weekend surely was provided in Man City’s loss to Arsenal. The Citizens came out flat, wholly off-form and lacking match toughness. If they descend on St. James Park sporting similar form, a home win isn’t as improbable as the +400 soccer odds would suggest it is.
The hope for Man City backers is that by Sunday the Citizens will find form in order to deliver on their favourable -163 soccer odds. Pelligrini’s post-match comments provided no assurance that the Citizens et al will be fit enough and that is most concerning. Apparently, it’ll be difficult to determine which first team regulars will be ready to start by the weekend given the late arrivals. Another burning subject soccer bettors must consider is starting goalkeeper. That is which goalkeeper Man City names as its starter in the Newcastle United clash. Joe Hart is under stiff competition from Caballero (acquired from Malaga) so the position is yet uncertain. Caballero featured in the Community Shield affair but he can’t possibly be blamed for all (if any) three goals conceded, while Joe Hart is known to blow hot and cold from time to time.
Soccer Betting Verdict
The popular soccer pick is Man City to win outright at -163. For our money, however, we’re banking on the upset and taking Newcastle United to win at home at the delightfully generous price tag of +400. Of course, we’re not suggesting it’s going to be easy or that this is a lock soccer pick. All we are saying is simply that with Arsenal kindly providing a handy blueprint for Alan Pardew to consider in the upcoming date, it’s not entirely improbable. The Magpies were good last season. It’s the beginning of the new season, first match day on the books and with many uncertainties still to be worked out, anything can happen.
Soccer Free Picks: Newcastle United to win outright at +400