EPL Week 22 Soccer Picks: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Sunderland

Kevin Stott

Monday, January 12, 2015 2:38 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 2:38 PM UTC

High-flying Tottenham Hotspur hosts Sunderland in this English Premier League Week 22 fixture from London which may have it’s fair share of scoring, making the Over 2½ worth a pick.

Odds Overview
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Sunderland, Saturday 15:00 (NBC Sports Live Extra, Premier League Extra, 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): Sixth-place Tottenham Hotspur (10-4-7, 30 GF-29 GA, +1 GD) welcomes 16th-place Sunderland (3-11-7, 18 GF-31 GA) to White Hart Lane in North London in the English Premier League Week 22 fixture between two clubs with different things on their minds...one worried about UEFA qualification and the other relegation.

Soccer odds have made Tottenham healthy -200 favorites over Sunderland (+500) with the Draw priced at +333 (bet365) in the Three-Way (Winner) marketplace. The Total Goals is in this game is set at 2½ Over -137 (Under +107, bet365) while the Both Teams To Score odds here have the Yes priced at -125 William Hill, No -105).

Some random props: Team To Score First has Tottenham almost overpriced at -200, Sunderland at +180 and the No Goals priced at +1100 (11/1); and, the Own Goal Yes set +700 (No -1600, William Hill). And, expect some pretty cold temperatures again this weekend in Londontown.


Sunderland AFC
Sunderland (2-5-3 Road, 8 GF-15 GA) is actually almost as good away from home as they are at the Stadium of Light, but that’s not saying much as the Black Cats are just 1-6-4 at home—a big reason this team sits just 1 point (20 points) above the dreaded relegation zone (19 points). The Black Cats biggest threats on offense come from Steven Fletcher (4 goals), Adam Johnson (4 goals), Sebastian Larsson (2 goals), Connor Wickham (2 goals), Jordi Gómez (2 goals) and Jack Rodwell (2 goals), so this team is a little more balanced than some of the other clubs in the bottom 10 in the league. On Saturday, Sunderland lost 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield and the Rokerites rank 17th in the Form Table (DWLDLL) so manager Gus Poyet can’t be thrilled with the position in the standings (16th) the points (20), or the home (1) and away (2) win totals in Week 22. Relegation has to be a real worry now in Tyne and Wear.


Tottenham Hotspur FC
Tottenham (5-2-4 Home, 16 GF-13 GA) has been re-energized by Harry Kane (8 goals) and is a roaring #2 in the EPL Form Table (WWWDWL), but Saturday’s 2-1 derby loss at Crystal Palace was a friendly reminder how important the home-field advantage is in soccer, as it is in all professional sports. You may be able to thrash league-leaders Chelsea, 5-3 at home at White Hart Lane, but beating 15th-place Crystal Palace at their crib is another story, senor. Bedsides Kane, Spurs have a couple of decent scorers so far this season is Christian Eriksen (7 goals) and Nacer Chadli (7 goals) and when this team is going good, they can hang with anyone but until they show their consistency, Spurs are always going to be sort of an enigma.

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has helped get this team in UEFA Europa League qualifying territory—the same tournament in which it’s now playing—and after the loss to the somewhat surprising weekend loss to the Eagles, expect Spurs to be on their best behavior and go aggressively after the win and the three points at home feeling they may have lost a point or three at Crystal Palace.

Tottenham has a number of guys capable of productivity besides the big three, and if manager Mauricio Pochettino can get guys like Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Andros Townsend, Paulinho, Moussa Dembele and Aaron Lennon to contribute, then this club may even be able to make a run at fourth or maybe even third place and earn that incredibly valuable UEFA Champions League spot.


Best Betting Approaches and Trends
We're taking the total for this fixture's soccer pick, Spurs hold a strong edge in this series, going 17-5-5 (50 GF-28 GA) against Sunderland and 11-1-1 here at home at White Hart Lane against the Black Cats, outscoring them 29-10 in the process. Sunderland has just 1 win in the L10 meetings in this series and it was way back in 2010. Like ancient history, bubba. Here, spurned by the Crystal Palace setback, in good form and loaded with more proven skilled scorers than Sunderland, expect Spurs to rebound on their home soil in a game in which both teams could potentially score. In their last road game, the Black Cats lost 3-2 to defending league champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium so this team has its moments and with The Relegation Zone just a scant point away, fear will probably help make visiting Sunderland play a pretty competitive game.

However, there are probably better games on the board to bet on this coming weekend in the English Premier League, and, despite the prediction, it’s too hard to advise taking the BTTS ‘Yes’ with Sunderland mustering just 8 goals on the road mid-January. This match could evolve a number of ways and it would serve Spurs well to come in with their minds on their opponents and not their opponents’ record or past track record against them. But with so many goal-scorers likely in each starting XI, 3 goals should be scored in one way or another in what’s strangely a big game for both teams, despite the date on the calendar.


Prediction: Tottenham 2 Sunderland 1

EPL Free Picks:  Over 2½ -125 (bet365)

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