Chelsea vs. Stoke City Best Betting Approach to Cash In With Saturday's Soccer Picks

Kevin Stott

Friday, April 3, 2015 7:59 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 3, 2015 7:59 PM UTC

English Premier League leaders Chelsea will look to keep its 6-point lead over 2nd-place Manchester City intact when it hosts 10th-place Stoke City Saturday in this Week 31 match. With the Blues looking a bit sluggish of late and the Potters being blanked in 6 of L7 in this series, is the Under 2½ goals the pick?

Odds Overview
Chelsea vs. Stoke City, Saturday 17:30 (NBC, NBC Sports Live Extra (USA); Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra, NOW TV (UK); 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): English Premier League leaders Chelsea (20-7-2, 61 GF-25 GA) and manager José Mourinho welcome 10th-place Stoke City (12-6-12, 34 GF-37 GA) to Stamford Bridge and west London on Saturday night for this Week 31 fixture as the 2014/2015 season begins to wind down with just 8 games left after this weekend’s slate. Soccer odds makers have expectedly made hosts Chelsea big -350 favorites in the Three-Way (Winner) marketplace for this game, with visitors Stoke City priced at a King Kong-ish +1100 and the Draw at +450 (Ladbrokes). The Total Goals in this game is set at 2½ Over -125 (Under +100, bet365), while the Both Teams To Score odds see the ‘Yes’ at +150 and the ‘No’ at -200 (Skybet)—odds which are no doubt a reflection of the 6 Clean sheets the Blues have registered against the Potters over the L7 meetings.
Some Props bets for this baby: Correct Score: Chelsea 2-0 is at a sweet +450 (William Hill); First Goalscorer: Diego Costa +300, Eden Hazard +500 (bet365); and, a fun one offered up by a couple of British bookmakers (BetVictor, Paddy Power), Man Of The Match (MoTM): Branislav Ivanovic (+1600, BetVictor), John Terry (+1600), Peter Crouch (+1800), and, my favorite, Any Goalkeeper (+1600). And unlike hard, refined, Final Scores using mathematics and Numbers and Things, the winner of this MoTM Prop is determined in a subjective manner, so keep that in mind if you plan on making any wagers on this extremely unique niche wager market.


Stoke City FC
Stoke City (5-4-6 Away, 16 GF-18 GA) and Mark Hughes—who earlier this week the club announced it signed on as Manager until 2019—seems to have been born somewhere between 9th and 12th place in the English Premier League, and it looks like that’s cool with the Potters again this season. And being in that range—Stoke City (42 points) sits in 10th place entering Week 31 action—is nice in a way because it frees a soccer club of any undue stress of having to worry about finishing in the Top 6 and qualifying for a UEFA Tournament (Champions League 1st-4th, Europa League 5th, 6th), or, of potentially being Relegated (18th, 19th, 20th). As it stands, and with 9 matches to go in the season, the Potters are 11 points away from 6th-place Southampton (53 points) and a Europa League spot, and 18 points above 18th-place Burnley (25 points) who sits as the last team out in the dreaded Relegation Zone where I hear Marmosets have Machine Guns and the tap water is a murky grey with bits of sediment. Here, against league leaders Chelsea at Home (where they never lose under The Special One), the Potters will be fighting their blessed little hearts out to try to get a goal against one of the Premier League’s top defenses (25 Goals allowed), as well as one of the planet’s best GKs in Thibaut Courtois. Stoke City has a pretty decent GK of its own in Asmir Begovic, but with the game at Stamford Bridge and those aforementioned 6 Clean Sheets against the Potters in the L7 league meetings between these two sides, it’s hard to make a case for the big underdog. On the offensive attack, Stoke City will look to Senegalese striker Mame Diouf (8 goals, Anytime Goalscorer +550, bet365), Jonathan Walters (7 goals, +600), veteran 33-year-old beanpole striker Peter Crouch (7 goals, +550), Victor Moses (3 goals, +900, Stan James), Charlie Adam (2 goals, +1100) and Ryan Shawcross (2 goals, +2000), among others for scoring. The Potters will be without talented MF Bojan Krkic (4 goals) who ruptured a Cruciate Ligament in his Knee in a 4-1 win over Rochdale in the FA Cup and is Out Indefinitely.

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Chelsea FC
Chelsea (11-3-0 Home, 27 GF-6 GA) has seemingly been on Royal Blue Cruise Control atop the league table this season, and the Blues (67 points) still hold a 6-point lead over 2nd-place Manchester City (18-7-5, 61 points) and still have a game in hand on the Citizens. But honestly, Chelsea has been playing pretty average to slightly below average football of late—1-3-0 L4 at Home; Just 1 goal in 3 of L4 games after W10 straight at Stamford Bridge—and its ousting from the UEFA Champions League tournament surely left Chelsea fans feeling a bit down. With the aforementioned young Belgian GK Courtois and Petr Cech, the Blues have possibly the best Goalkeeping combination ever, and for some reason, Chelsea just doesn’t let Stoke City of late, beating the Potters by scores of 2-0, 3-0, 3-2, 4-0, 1-0 and 1-0 in the L6 meetings in the Premier League. Toss in the fact that the Blues are the only team in all four of England’s division yet to lose a Home match this season and you can see why linemakers pinned a +1100 on the visitors. Can Stoke City be the one that snaps the streak and slays the dragon at Home? I don’t see why not. But with this being the first game back after the International Break makes it a different story (mentally) because the Blues have had the time to rest, heal and plan for this contest. So, the Potters probably won’t get to catch Chelsea by surprise because of scheduling in this one.

Expect Mourinho to employ a predictable Starting 11 for Chelsea in this one, with leading scorer Diego Costa (19 goals, Anytime Goalscorer -110, bet365) on top at the Striker spot in the team’s familiar 4-2-3-1 tactical formation; the electric Eden Hazard (11 goals, 6 assists, +110), Oscar (6 goals, 7 assists, +210) and Willian (+260) in the Attacking Midfield; and, playmaker Cesc Fàbregas (2 goals, 16 assists, +300) and Nemanja Matic (+550) in their usual spots in the Defensive or Central Midfield. In front of Courtois in the Blues backline, look for Branislav Ivanovic (+450), captain John Terry (+450), Gary Cahill (+800) and maybe César Azpilicueta (+2200, Betway), and this is exactly the type of game in which a Defender or Central Midfielder like Fàbregas, Matic or Ivanovic could get the first and or game-winning goal for Chelsea. That’s just how they roll sometimes. Well, a lot of the time.


Best Betting Approaches and Trends
Chelsea is 32-15-20 (104 GF- 91 GA) lifetime in Premier League play against Stoke City, but the Blues are 18-9-6 (62 GF-39 GA) vs. the Potters here at Home in West London at The Bridge. And, Mourinho and the league leaders are 10-2-1 over the L13 vs. Stoke City and have W5 straight against the Potters, outscoring them 14-2 in the process with both Stoke goals coming in the same game. Heading into this fixture, Stoke City ranks 9th in the Premier League in the Current EPL Form table (L6: LWWWLL; L6 Away: WLWDWL), while Chelsea ranks 4th (L6: WWDWDW; L6 Home: WWDWDD). When these two teams met earlier this season in Week 17 at Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, Chelsea won 2-0.

With 16 Clean Sheets in its L22 Home matches at Stamford Bridge and 5 straight here at SW6 against Stoke City, Chelsea not really clicking offensively and both squads coming in off of the International Break, taking the Under 2½ with your soccer pick seems fairly wise here, but only for a moderate amount as Stoke City could very well get a goal through Diouf, Walters or Crouch or the host Blues could ‘explode’ for 3 goals. You never know. That’s why this is gambling, brougham. Defense should be the name of the game here on Saturday in west London, and, again, look for a Chelsea defenseman of some sort to get a key goal in this encounter.

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Chelsea 2 Stoke City 0
EPL PICKS: Under 2½ +100 (bet365); Prop Bet—Correct Score: Chelsea 2-0, +450 (William Hill)

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