EPL Boxing Day Special: Odds, Previews, Prediction and Picks

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 1:20 PM GMT

With the Holidays upon us, what better time to enjoy a little bonus English Premier League action the day after Christmas? And looking at the Totals market, it looks like EPL serves good plays.

Friday, December 26, 2014
Chelsea vs. West Ham
Saturday 12:45 (Soccer Odds: Chelsea -325, West Ham United +925, Draw +425; 3u -120; NBCSN, NBC Sports Live Extra, Deportes Telemundo en Vivo, Mun2 (US), Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra, NOW TV (UK), 7:45 a.m. ET/4:45 a.m. PT): If you live in North America, you best rise earlier than early if you want to see this fixture at Stamford Bridge between first-place Chelsea (13-3-1, 42 points) and 4th-place West Ham United (9-4-4, 31 points) on Friday. With the Blues priced so high on the Three-Way Line (-325), it’s probably best to use Chelsea as a parlay soccer pick at that high price with some other Boxing Day chalks and just concentrate on the Total which has been set at 3 Under -120 here at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. And with that added ½ goal from 2½ to 3, the thought is that paying the small juice (-120) and risking a push at 3 goals makes taking the Under the play.

Chelsea (38 GF-13 GA, +25 GD) has the league’s best defense and with stud Thibaut Courtois likely the goalkeeper against the upstart Hammers (29 GF-19 GA, +10 GD), the Blues coming off a hard-fought 2-0 win at Stoke City on Monday and the newfound reality that West Ham is actually in the EPL race as well as the fact that Chelsea will be playing on only 3 days rest, logic says to take a shot on the Under and make them score 4 goals to beat you.

The Blues are 6-3-1 L10 vs. West Ham, outscoring the Hammers 19-7 in the process and the last time these two met was here in West London in January of last season where the game ended in a 0-0 Draw. Also, some more Under grist for the mill: West Ham has failed to score its L3 games at Stamford Bridge (0-0, 0-2, 0-3). Expect the visiting Hammers to make it interesting but Diego Costa (12 goals), Eden Hazard (6 goals) and club legend Didier Drogba (3 goals) to find a way to help Chelsea get the win and the 3 points at SW6.

Prediction: Chelsea 2 West Ham 0

Free EPL soccer pick: Under 3 -120

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Everton vs. Stoke City, Saturday
(Soccer Odds: Everton -130, Stoke City +375, Draw +260; 2½u -130; NBC Sports Live Extra (US), 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): Goodison Park in Liverpool, Merseyside is the site of this important game for both host and 11th-place Everton (5-6-6, 27 GF-27 GA, 0 GD) and 13th-place Stoke City (5-4-8, 18 GF-23 GA, -5 GD) in a series which has trended very heavily to the Under of late. Everton—off a 3-0 loss at Southampton over the weekend—is a milktoast 3-3-2 (16 GF-14 GA) at Home while the Potters are 2-3-4 (9 GF-12 GA) on the Road so far this 2014/2015 English Premier League season which hits the halfway mark (Week 19) in the next round of matches—boom—this Sunday and Monday. Hey, no rest for the wicked, Bubba.

In the last 10 meetings between these two clubs, the Under is 9-1 and only 17 goals (1.7 gpg) have been scored in those games, although the last time these two met here at Goodison Park it was that lone Over as Everton won 4-0 as Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard registered a clean sheet. And with both teams likely tired from the Holiday mass of matches and the aforementioned Howard in goal for Everton and Asmir Begovic for Stoke, betting that the Under trend continues—especially at 2½ and not 2—seems to be the call in this fixture.

Prediction: Everton 1 Stoke City 1

Free EPL soccer pick: Under 2½ -130

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Leicester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur
(Soccer Odds: Leicester City +275, Tottenham +100, Draw +250; 2½u -130; NBC Sports Live Extra (US), 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): Seventh-place Tottenham Hotspur (8-3-6, 22 GF-23 GA) heads to King Power Stadium in Leicester to face 20th-place Leicester City (2-4-11, 15 GF-29 GA) in a match one would think Spurs need to go in and grab all 3 points from—especially considering that Leicester City hasn’t won in its L12 matches. The big trend play here seems to be Over, with it being 8-2 the L10 meetings (9 EPL, 1 FA Cup) overall, albeit pretty much Ancient History in terms of when the games were actually played (1999-2006).

And the Foxes of Leicester City actually held their own in those 10 games (4-1-5, 20 GF-19 GA) but that was then and this is now baby and the Blue Army hasn’t won since the Clinton Administration and relegation is very likely in this club’s future. But anyway, in those 10 games, a mind-boggling 39 goals were somehow scored (3.9 gpg), so with the Total at 2½ (Over +100), the Over is the trend play—the L7 in the series have gone Over (3-2, 4-4, 2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 4-2, 4-0), averaging a more-than-robust 4.57 gpg. And it (backing the Over) in the Current Day—where rumors of future cold pizzas delivered by hyped drones haunt us all—makes sense here as Leicester City (1-4-3 Home) has scored 11 times in 8 Home games (allowed 13) and should be good for a goal while Spurs (4-2-2 Road, 11 GF-13 GA) should get 2 or 3. Three French maids.

Prediction: Leicester City 1 Tottenham 2

Free EPL soccer pick:  Spurs +100, Over 2½ +100

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West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester City
(Soccer Odds: West Bromwich Albion +550, Manchester City -200, Draw +330; 2½o -125; NBC Sports Live Extra (US), 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): The Hawthorns in West Midlands is the site of this Week 18 and Boxing Day fixture between hungry 2nd-place Manchester City (12-3-2, 36 GF-14 GA, +22 GD) and host and 15th-place West Bromwich Albion (4-5-8, 17 GF-23 GA, -6 GD), a game the Sky Blues again will have to play without star striker Sergio Agüero, who still leads the Premier League with 14 goals despite sitting out the past several weeks with a knee injury. Manchester City (6-2-1 Away, 21 GF-9 GA, 39 points) enters the day just 3 points behind league-leaders Chelsea (42 points) and are the top team in the league in form right now while the Baggies (2-3-4 Home, 12 GF-13 GA) are just 2 points above that dreaded Relegation Zone, so taking the Citizens on the Money Line (-200, SuperBook) as well as laying a goal (-1 -120, Bovada) in the prescription here and the strongest recommendation in this space. Manchester City is 8-1-1 L10 against West Brom, outscoring the Baggies 23-8 along the way and the Sky Blues are also 8-1-1 L10 after a win and City and underrated goalkeeper Joe Hart are coming off a 3-0 shutout of Crystal Palace last Saturday at Home at the Etihad Stadium so the shoes fit.

And with the 31 goals being scored in those 10 meetings—all in EPL play—the Over is 7-3 in those L10 and the Total set at 2½, taking the Over for a moderate amount seems prudent as Manchester City, despite Agüero’s absence, could very well go Over the Total themselves with veterans like club heartbeat Yaya Touré, Frank Lampard, David Silva and emergency forward-fill-in James Milner coming through and others like Fernandinho and Jesús Navas wanting to prove themselves while getting some precious playing time with senior strikers Agüero, Edin Džeko (calf, knee) and Stevan Jovetic (hamstring) all injured and out for this game along with talented defender and team captain Vincent Kompany (hamstring).

With the Chelsea game having ending before this one starts, expect the Sky Blues to be motivated and to continue to impress in December. City won this fixture last season, 3-2 and there were a total of 9 goals scored in the 2 EPL meetings last season, with the Sky Blues winning them both and scoring 3 goals in each. Carry on my wayward son.

Prediction: West Brom 1 Manchester City 3

Free EPL soccer pick:  Manchester City -200, Manchester City -1 -120 (Bovada), Over 2½ -125

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Bonus EPL parlay: Chelsea -325/Liverpool -120/Tottenham +100/Manchester City -200/Arsenal -400 (Westgate SuperBook)