The EPL season begins this Saturday, so let’s take a quick look at all 10 EPL Week 1 games, make some logical picks from our findings & then assemble them into a humble, little 5-Team Parlay.
Welcome to England’s top flight of football, Watford, Bournemouth and Norwich City, now how do you three fit into the big betting picture? Automatically assuming recently promoted sides are go-against teams has often proven to be a big mistake, so maybe seeing how the Hornets (Watford), the Canaries (Norwich City) and the Cherries (Bournemouth) play for a couple of weeks and then make some judgments is the best idea? Unlikely, as we have gambling to do, but one thing’s for sure, we all won with these three new club’s nicknames and backstories. It’s hard to get better than Hornets, Canaries and Cherries. And Dr. Seuss would definitely approve. Anyway, we have a new season and 38 weeks of soccer to come, so let’s take a quick look at Week 1 fixtures and see if there are any simple angles in any of these 10 games.
Saturday, August 8—Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra, NBCUniversal (US); 7:45 a.m. ET/4:45 a.m. PT): Old Trafford in Manchester, England is the appropriate historic site of the first match of the new English Premier League season between host Manchester United (20-10-8, 62 GF-37 GA, 4th last season) and visiting Tottenham Hotspur (19-7-12, 58 GF-52 GA, 5th place). Spurs have actually won 2 of the L3 meetings here at United, but Tottenham was shutout by the Red Devils (4-4-2 L10 vs Spurs) and stellar GK David De Gea last season, 3-0. The L4 meetings here at Old Trafford have all gone Over the Total (3, 5, 3, 3) and with Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and new Red Devils signees Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) and 21-year-old Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven) possibly playing together for the first time, the Home crowd will be expecting goals, and they should get a couple from that group of names. Tottenham (150/1 to win EPL, Ladbrokes) will look to talented striker Harry Kane for scoring and he or Christian Eriksen or maybe Erik Lamela will be able to get one past De Gea for Spurs but this environment favors Manchester United (+550, Ladbrokes) too much with Manager Louis Van Gaal starting Year Two in Cherry Red Mancunia and title visions running through their desperate little heads.
EPL Picks: Manchester United -170, Over 2½ -120 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Saturday, August 8—Bournemouth vs. Aston Villa (NBC Sports Live Extra (US); 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): Goldsands Stadium at Dean’s Court (Vitality Stadium) in Bournemouth, Dorset is the site of this first-ever EPL game for the Cherries of Bournemouth and both club’s rosters are considerably different than last season. These teams have only met once, last season, with the Villains winning in FA Cup play (Round 4) and while Bournemouth and 20+ goal striker Callum Johnson are riding the crest of the wave which helped them win promotion to the Premier League, Aston Villa is relatively lucky to have survived the Relegation Battle last EPL season and stayed up, thanks in great part to Manager Tim Sherwood who came in to replace Paul Lambert.
Saturday, August 8—Everton vs. Watford (NBC Sports Live Extra (US); 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): Everton (250/1, bet365) welcomes promoted side Watford to Goodison Park and the Toffees have totally owned this series in EPL play, having gone 15 straight without defeat and racking up 12 straight Wins against the Hornets. The last meeting here was in the 2006/07 season with Everton topping Watford, 2-1, and the Toffees are 8-0-0 (21 GF-6 GA) lifetime at Home versus the Hornets with the last win for Watford (10,000/1, Ladbrokes) happening way back in 2006/07 when we were all still young. With Everton reasonably priced -150 favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and Watford (+425; Draw +280; Total 2½u -120) new to the league again and playing in Merseyside, it seems the Toffees and striker Romelu Lukaku (+150 Anytime Goalscorer, Sky Bet) are worth a straight bet here in this particular spot on the Everton schedule.
EPL Picks: Everton -150 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Saturday, August 8—Leicester City vs. Sunderland (NBC Sports Live Extra (US); 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): Leicester City (5000/1, William Hill) welcomes Sunderland (5000/1, Sky Bet) to King Power Stadium in Leicester in a game that may scream out for some goals (Leicester City -110, Sunderland +330, Draw +240; Total: 2½u -140, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). The Foxes spent 140 days in last place in the EPL last season, but W7 of their L9 to stay up after they won just 4 of their first 29 matches. Sunderland has not scored here in Leicester since 2000 (0-2, 0-1, 0-0) and the Black Cats are just 8-6-15 (32 GF-54 GA) lifetime in EPL play here at King Power Stadium. With both games last season ending in 0-0 scoreless Draws and a 2½ (Under -140, SuperBook) on the board, backing the Under in what should be a tight and possibly boring affair in East Midlands is the big lean although the Blue Army and captain Wes Morgan may be able to find a way to win here in the Home and 2015/16 season opener.
EPL Picks: Under 2½ -140, Leicester City -110 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Saturday, August 8—Norwich City vs. Crystal Palace (NBC Sports Live Extra (US); 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): Norwich City was a great team to bet on last season in the Championship where the Canaries ran off some impressive unbeaten streaks and finished in 3rd place and were promoted to the Premier League through playoffs. On Saturday, Norwich City (7500/1, William Hill) welcomes Crystal Palace (7500/1, William Hill) to Carrow Road in Norwich, a place where the Eagles have only won once (1-4-6) in EPL play. Norwich City is 10-7-3 (33 GF-26 GA) lifetime in EPL action against Palace although overall in all games these two clubs are dead even through the years (14-12-14, Crystal Palace 54 goals, Norwich 50) heading in here. Although it seems the Canaries will have the edge because of the site and the circumstances, this is honestly just too tough a match to call with all three possibilities (Norwich City win, Crystal Palace win, Draw) seeming like logical outcomes. Stay away. Odds: Norwich City +160, Crystal Palace +180, Draw +220 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Saturday, August 8—Chelsea vs. Swansea City (NBCSN, NBC UNIVERSO, NBC Sports Live Extra (US); Sky Sports 1/HD UK, Sky Go UK, SKY GO Extra (UK); 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT): Defending league champs Chelsea (26-9-3, 73 GF-32 GA) welcome last season’s 8th-place team, Swansea City (16-8-14, 46 GF-49 GA), to Stamford Bridge but the Swans and Manager Garry Monk are on the upswing (8th-place finish, record number of points in EPL last season) and have a couple of nice Summer Transfer Window signings in Eder (Braga) and Andre Ayew (Marseille). And with MFs Ki Sung-yueng , Nathan Dyer (+800 Anytime Goalscorer, 888sport), Gylfi Sigurðsson (+750), Ayew (+750) and Bafetimbi Gomis (+500) up top at the Striker spot and Lukasz Fabianski in Goal, this is a team not to be taken lightly. But history is on the Blues side here as Chelsea is an unbeaten 6-2-0 (19 GF-5 GA) in EPL play with Swans only victory against Chelsea coming in the Semifinals of the Capital One Cup (2-0) in 2013. Here at Home at Stamford Bridge in Premier League action against Swansea City (3000/1, Ladbrokes), Chelsea (+175 to win EPL, bet365) is a perfect 4-0-0, outscoring Swans 11-3 in the process, including a 4-2 win last season. But with striker Diego Costa (Hamstring) still a big question mark and the team looking average against Fiorentina in a Friendly on Wednesday at SW6, the hosts and Manager José Mourinho will possibly need guys like MF Eden Hazard, MF Cesc Fàbregas and striker Loïc Rémy to either score or create goals. Until the Blues lose at Home in EPL play under The Special One, they have to be a go-on, especially with GK Thibaut Courtois. For a more in-depth preview of this match, click here.
EPL Picks: Chelsea -300, Over 2½ -120 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Sunday, August 9—Arsenal vs. West Ham United (NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra, NBCUniversal (US); 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT): Emirates Stadium in North London, England is the site of this season opener between host Arsenal (+400 to win EPL, Paddy Power) and West Ham United (3000/1, Ladbrokes) and the Trends strongly support the Gunners in this one who have gone unbeaten in their L15 EPL games (13-2-0) vs. West Ham. In this fixture last season, Arsenal—which has won the FA Cup two straight years and who beat Chelsea 1-0 to win the Community Shield last month—won 3-0 over West Ham and lifetime in English Premier League play and the Gunners are 55-32-27 (190 GF-128 GA) against the Hammers and 31-13-13 here at Home at the Emirates (102 GF-58 GA). So this is one of those games where the Trends tell you exactly whom to take and with new kid GK Petr Cech (Chelsea) looking for a clean sheet in his first start and players like Alexis Sánchez, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud, Mesut Özil, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla, Manager Arsene Wenger has a team that can win this league. Also noteworthy, this matchup has seen 3 or more Goals 7 straight times (3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 4, 3), but, as you can see, Oddsmakers here in Las Vegas have hung a 3 (-115 Under) up for the Total (Goals) so if you can find a 2½ somewhere (and pay the higher juice on the Over), it would be a good idea to play the Over in this Sunday contest. Odds: Arsenal -400, West Ham United +1100, Draw +500; Total: 3u -115, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook).
EPL Picks: Arsenal -400 (Parlay Element), Over 2½ (If you can find)
Sunday, August 9—Newcastle United vs. Southampton (NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Premier League Extra Time (US); 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT): Upstart visitors Southampton (3500/1 to win EPL, Bet365) will face fading Newcastle United (5000/1, Sky Bet) at St. James’ Park in Newcastle upon Tyne in this Week 1 fixture where in which taking a chance on the Road team—Southampton—as the slight favorite (+160) seems to be the small gambler’s edge and the element which will be used to try to get some spin on the potential parlay payout with the plus (+160) on the Saints. Southampton did see Polish GK Artur Boruc head to Bournemouth and Nathaniel Clyne to Liverpool, but the Saints brought in GK Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham, loan), Juanmi (Málaga), Cedric Soares (Sporting Lisbon), Steven Caulker (QPR), Cuico Martina (FC Twente) and Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord) and will be a hard team for EPL clubs to beat both at Home and on the Road while Toon seems a perpetual enigma that finds a way to stay up despite having trouble scoring. In this series in EPL play, Southampton is 21-14-21 (81 GF-84 GA) against Newcastle United (+180, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), showing how close this series can be, but the Saints (+160; Draw +225; Total: 2½u -135) have evolved into a team seeking UEFA Europa League berths—the Saints beat Vitesse Arnhem 2-0 on Thursday in Europa League qualifying—while the Magpies have devolved to a team seeking to avoid that dreaded Relegation (15th place last season, 4 points above Relegation) and Newcastle United scored less goals at Home last season than it gave up (26-37). And with Southampton winning the L3 meetings and outscoring the Toon 10-1 in the process (4-0, 4-0, 2-1), even though the visitors are 4-5-19 at St. James’ (27 GF-61 GA) and have been vastly outscored, that was Then and this is Now and taking a chance on the new-look Saints is the call here with a preference on backing them on a ‘Pick’ or ‘Draw No Bet’ market (if you have access) because it’s the season opener.
EPL Picks: Southampton +160
Sunday, August 9—Stoke City vs. Liverpool (NBC Sports Live Extra, Telemundo (US); 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT): Britannia Stadium in Stoke-upon-Trent is the site of this fixture between host Stoke City (3000/1, William Hill) and visitors Liverpool (28/1, Ladbrokes). Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) is gone for the Reds but Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) is in and Manager Brendan Rodgers is still at Anfield. Here, Liverpool holdes the expected series edge over Stoke City going 52-29-23 (164 GF-104 GA), but here at Britannia Stadium, the Potters have protected the sacred home soil, going 23-18-11 (82 GF-55 GA) against mighty Liverpool. In the L2 meetings here, there have been a freakish 15 goals scored, so backing the Over seems logical. And siding with Stoke City at the healthy +240 seems worth a shot also, as the Potters painted the Reds (+120, Draw +235; Total: 2½u -125, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) pink in Week 38 last season, winning 6-1 after jumping out to a 5-0 halftime lead against a less-than-inspired and unorganized Reds club. Also making a case for taking the Potters: Liverpool was 8-3-8 on the Road last year and was outscored 28-22 along the way, including that aforementioned 6-1 pasting by the Potters here at Stoke-upon-Trent in the West Midlands. The Potters never get enough respect.
EPL Picks: Over 2½ +105, Stoke City +240
Monday, August 10—West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City (NBCSN, NBCUniversal (US); 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT): The Hawthorns in West Midlands is the site of this final EPL game on the Week 1 schedule between host West Bromwich Albion (7500/1 to win EPL, William Hill) and guests Manchester City (3/1, William Hill). Oddsmakers have made the visiting Sky Blues obvious -160 favorites with host West Bromwich steep +465 underdogs and the Draw priced at +285 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook; Total: 2½u -125). Lifetime in this series in Premier League play, Manchester City is 50-21-45 (200 GF-189 GA) against the Baggies but WBA holds the edge here at Home with a 29-14-15 mark (107 GF-66 GA) against the Citizens. City star and the EPL’s leading scorer last season, Sergio Agüero, as well as David Silva and Samir Nasri reportedly were all sent home from training on Friday with a Virus but Manager Manuel Pellegrini said he hoped all three would be ready for this game with the Baggies. Manchester City has won the L3 meetings here at The Hawthorns, scoring at least 2 goals in each and the L4 games overall in this series have all gone Over the usual 2½-goal Total (6 of L7 have gone Over) with 3, 4, 4 and 5 tallies. In this game last year, the Sky Blues rolled to a 3-1 win against the Baggies in the snow as Yaya Touré scored on a PK and Fernando and David Silva—who both scored in both meetings with West Brom last season—added scores for the Citizens. With GK Joe Hart and this being the first game of the new season and City having a 7-game win streak against the Baggies, backing the Sky Blues is the pick here even if a couple of players are under the weather.
EPL Picks: Manchester City -160
Premier League 5 Team Parlay Week 1 Picks: Manchester United -170/ Everton -150/ Arsenal -400/ Southampton +160/ Manchester City -160 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Premier League Week 1 Totals Straight Picks: Bournemouth-Aston Villa Under 2½ -125, Leicester City-Sunderland Under 2½ -140, Saturday; Stoke City-Liverpool Over 2½ +105, Sunday (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)