EPL Week 14 Odds & Free Pick for: Arsenal vs. Southampton

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 8:56 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 8:56 PM UTC

The first four months of the EPL season have been a virtual breeze for Southampton, but the Saints were humbled Sunday and history says betting against them here at Arsenal is the play.

Odds Overview
Arsenal vs. Southampton, Wednesday 19:45, (NBC Sports Live Extra, Directv, Premier League Extra Time 1 (US)/BT Sport 1 (UK), 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT): Week 14 of play in the English Premier League comes quickly after Week 13, so expect some tired legs and bodies and managers and clubs to possibly use some quirky starting XI’s. And there are some pretty good fixtures mid-week, including this Arsenal (5-5-3, 21 GF-15 GA, +6 GD,20 points) and Southampton (8-2-3, 24 GF-9 GA, +15 GD, 15 points) meeting at Emirates Stadium in North London on Wednesday in a game deceivingly important for both sides.

Soccer odds makers list Arsenal as the -125 favorites in the Three-Way (Winner) marketplace with visitors Southampton healthy +260 Underdogs and the Draw priced at +333 (bet365). The Total Goals is set—as it pretty much always is in this league—at 2½ with the juice (vigorish) the same on both the Over and Under (-111) at bet365. A couple of random props worth consideration in what should be a tight, low-scoring and possibly even boring affair: Arsenal’s talented Alexis Sánchez in an Anytime Goalscorer at +125 (bet365) prop bet; and the Total Goals Exact marketplace and the 0 goals scored (+1200, Sportingbet) as this one could very well end ujp 0-0 due to a combination of things including tired teams, the importance of the game, the weather forecast in North London on Wednesday night (Partly cloudy, Low 40°) and the reality that the Gunners scored just one goal in their last outing while the Saints were shutout in theirs.

Southampton FC
Southampton will be playing with only two days rest and some serious thoughts in its heads rest after losing on Sunday to defending Premier League champions Manchester City at Home at St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton. The Saints have had a wonderful first four months to this season and have allowed the fewest goals (9) in England’s top flight of soccer but the schedule has somewhat kind so far and the gaudy GF-GA (24-9) and GD (+15) statistics are somewhat skewed by an 8-0 win over Sunderland. So, these next two months and on will reveal much about manager Ronald Koeman’s boys and this feisty club which would love more than a top-four finish and a UEFA Champions league berth next season. But as Ringo Starr once sang, it won’t come easy.

Graziano Pellè (+240, Anytime Goalscorer, SkyBet) is Southampton’s leading scorer

with 6 goals while Victor Wanyama (+1100, bet365) and Morgan Schneiderlin (+900, bet365) have both scored 3 goals for the Saints so far this season while Jack Cork (+1400) and Shane Long (+300) have each scored twice. Offense and goal scoring may end up being a problem for the third-place Saints who also may not end up being able to play the remarkable defense they have behind goalkeeper Fraser Forster so far, as was evident in Sunday’s 3-0 home loss to Manchester City in a game that probably spoke volumes about who those two teams really are this 2014-15 English Premier League season.

Arsenal FC
Drama seems to follow Arsene Wenger and Arsenal like the ghosts that follow Ebenezer Scrooge but it always seems the Gunners have enough on their roster (despite the fans’ constant chirping) and are always in the thick of things as they are right now in both the UEFA Champions League—where Arsenal is 2 points back of Group D-leaders Borussia Dortmund—and in the Premier League where the sixth-place Gunners are just two points behind fourth-place Manchester United in quest of Champions League qualification next year. And like they do, this team will probably find a way to get there and a win here at Home at the Emirates Stadium against a club currently above them in the EPL table after earning a hard-fought 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday is a good way to start some positive momentum for the Gunners.

Luckily for Arsenal, it has a deep roster as this team has its share of fitness issues or injuries including to captain Mikel Arteta, Mesut Özil, Jack Wilshere, Yaya Sanogo, Mathieu Debuchy, Danny Welbeck—who scored the game’s lone goal in Arsenal’s 1-0 win vs. the Baggies—and goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny (pelvis) and David Ospina. On Sunday, 22-year-old Argentinian Emiliano Martínez got his second straight clean sheet coming in to play the hero for Gunners after blanking Dortmund. 2-0 in London last week.

The aforementioned Alexis Sánchez (6 goals) looks like a good guy for Arsenal to try to build around for the future with young players like the injured Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey (2 goals, +210, Anytime Goalscorer, bet365) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (+333). And with players like Sánchez, Olivier Giroud (+333), Welbeck (+140), Santi Cazorla (+260), Mathieu Flamini (+700), Ramsey (+210), Sanogo (+210), underappreciated Lukas Podolski (+175), Joel Campbell (+275), Chuba Akpom (+187) and Özil, among others, Wenger himself  and getting this Gunners team to gel may be the big problem. The talent is there.

Best Betting Approaches and Trends
This one should play tight and scoreless for sometime, with the short rest times for the players—this will be Arsenal’s third game in a 7 days—leaving players who played this weekend tighter and shorter of breath than they would normally be and with December in comes the real cold. And with Southampton’s forte being defense, and Saints GK Forster—if he starts—looking to rebound after the 3-0 barrage by the Citizens and Gunners GK Martínez—if he goes—running on a streak of two straight clean sheets, goals could be very scarce at the Emirates and this is one of those games that could end 0-0, or nil-nil if you will. So, some prop wager based on nothingness like the seldom-if-ever-mentioned Both Halves Under 1½ (Yes +150, Stan James) may be worth a gander if you have access to that type of niche wager.

As far as making our soccer pick, this one could duplicate the Gunners-Baggies match on Sunday with Arsenal ultimately somehow finding a way to get that game-winning goal and the valuable three points. And when games appear that they could be so low-scoring, making bets in that Anytime Goalscorer marketplace just don’t end up being as valuable as one thought before game-time as a match with only 1 goal in it could only have one winner while a scoreless 0-0 game means the sports books win every bet in both the Anytime and First Goalscorer markets. Something to think about for future betting and it’s probably best to lay off props bets like that in a game like this.

With the Gunners (2-3-1 Home, 11 GF-8 GA) desperate to make up some valuable ground on visiting Southampton (3-1-2 Road, 7 GF-5 GA) and the game being at Home—this fixture here last season ended Arsenal, 2-0—Sánchez or Welbeck or Giroud will probably end up being the hero with the big goal, and, with the Gunners an unbeaten 10-4-0 in their 14 meetings with Southampton here at Home and outscoring them by 25 goals in those 14 meetings (36 GF-11 GA), betting that history repeats itself once again is the only way to go in Londontown despite Southampton’s very impressive start this season.

Prediction: Arsenal 1 Southampton 0

Free EPL soccer pick: Under 2½ -111, Arsenal -125 (bet365)

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