EPL Soccer Picks: Manchester United vs. Tottenham Collide at Old Trafford

Nikki Adams

Friday, July 31, 2015 12:28 PM GMT

Kicking off proceedings is the highly anticipated clash between Manchester United and Tottenham, two sides with lofty ambitions. Join us as we preview this clash and serve up our soccer picks.

Manchester United Home Faves
Manchester United kick off their 2015-2016 season at the Old Trafford, hosting Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, August 8. In his second season at the helm, Louis Van Gaal will attempt to avoid last season's opening shocker when they were upset at home by Swansea City. A result that set the Red Devils on a rather rocky road across several competitions in the first month of the new season and put a damper on the bonhomie surrounding Van Gaal's appointment rather quickly.

Indeed, the 2-1 loss to Swansea City was the manager's first competitive match as the man in charge and it marked the first time the club lost its season opener at home since 1972. A distinct blemish on the Dutchman's introduction to Premier Leauge.

Despite the slow start to Van Gaal's reign at the Old Trafford, however, Manchester United did manage to rescue their campaign and rally towards a fourth place finish with a 20-10-8 mark and 70 points, which included  14-2-3 mark at home and a modest 6-8-5 record on the road. They extracted 44 points from their home dates, which marked the third best mark in the league. And they scored 41 goals at home, which marked the second highest tally at home in the league.

That said, they did finish a whopping 17 points behind Chelsea (winners) and nine points behind second-placed Manchester City. One could argue the key to the Blues' success was home form: they didn't lose a single game going 15-4-0 through 19 games for 49 points (more than half of their overall tally of 87 points). It follows, therefore, the Red Devils' home form is going to be key towards their campaign and their ability to compete with the current standard in England's top flight.

On paper, Manchester United strike a rather intriguing pose with the additions of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin, both of whom should stabilise the middle. As well,  PSV Eindhoven's Memphis Depay brings an offensive touch to the Red Devils' frontline. Another positive move by Van Gaal is the decision to return Wayne Rooney to a pure striker's role at centre. Avid Premier League fans will recall Rooney's standout season in 2011-2012 when he scored 34 goals from that position.

 

Tottenham Hotspur Road Underdogs
Tottenham Hotspur enter their season opener as the decided road underdogs, but Mauricio Ponchettino's lads shouldn't be underestimated. The Argentinean led the Spurs to a fifth place finish in his first season at the helm, just six points shy of Manchester United behind 19-7-12 mark and 64 points. And in recent seasons, the Spurs have had the measure of Man U with a 2-3-1 mark in the last six league clashes.

The Spurs will fancy their chances, surely. Last season, both home and road form was equally commensurate with a 10-3-6 mark and 9-4-6 mark, respectively. On the offensive side of the ball, they scored a total of 58 goals, four less than Manchester United in the season proper. And Harry Kane emerged as a stupendous goal scorer, leading the offensive line with 31 goals across all competitions. Indeed, he became the first player for the Spurs since the Lineker era to crack the 30-goal margin.

High expectations precede Kane into the coming season, so it remains to be seen whether he can maintain the tempo. Where the Spurs did come up short though was on defence as they allowed a staggering 53 goals, which was the worst mark of all the teams that finished inside the top ten. As a result, Ponchettino has brought in Toby Alderweireld to tighten up the backline, which should make the Spurs much tighter in the back.

 

Match Betting Verdict and Picks
Of the opening week's soccer betting card, this has to be the popcorn match to spot. Two offensive-minded sides colliding at the Old Trafford, two of the big teams in the Premier League that have a reasonable shot to compete for the coveted top-of-the-table spots. Home advantage has tipped the scale towards Manchester United at -163 soccer odds at Bet365, as well as all other major sportsbooks. However, they are only 1-3-2 against the Spurs in the last six meetings. Soccer bettors can't possibly take Man U's soccer odds for granted, even if the last meeting was a 3-0 home win at the Old Trafford in the tail end of 2014.

The Spurs have competed well against the Red Devils of late, so much so that they appear to be severely underestimated by rather unforthcoming +450 soccer odds to win outright. Even the draw is trading rather high at +280 soccer odds. Neither of those soccer odds appear warranted in our opinion, so much so that we're not ruling out a bit of a surprise.  Bet the draw as your soccer pick.

Soccer Picks: Draw +280 at Bet365

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