Venue: Etihad Stadium
Analysis: Manchester City were dealt a shocking upset in Wales at the weekend when they lost 3-2 to newly promoted side Cardiff City. It goes without saying, the result was unexpected. Few would have predicted it with any conviction. Fortunately, City fans can find a measure of comfort in the fact that it was (most likely) a one-off, unlikely to happen again anytime soon. City committed the cardinal sin in soccer: underestimating the opponent. And, well, Cardiff City were just so thrilled to be back in top-flight action after a 25-year hiatus that they couldn’t contain the excitement. It was an electric atmosphere at Cardiff City stadium and they put on a right show for their fans.
Of course, City won’t be making the same mistake here when they host Hull City as the massive -600 favourites at Bet365. Expect Man City to bounce back convincingly at the expense of a hapless Hull City, tipped as the whopping +1600 underdog.
Verdict and Picks: A Man City win is as certain as the sun rising in the morning. Well, almost as. You get the point, right? So the only question here is how convincing will they be? Markets are leaning towards a consummate victory and we agree so a Man City win at -600 is the play here. But with little soccer betting value to be had on such pricey odds, take Man City to win both halves at -200 and the Over 2.5 at -211 at Bet365.
Cardiff City vs. Everton, Saturday August 31, 2013
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Analysis: The clash between Cardiff City (1-0-1) and Everton (0-2-0) is delicately nestled on an intriguing betting line with the home side, Cardiff City, tipped at the disadvantage – at +230 at Bet365 and at +220 at William Hill. Everton meanwhile enter this match as the favourites, albeit on the long side of even money at +120 at Bet365 and +125 at William Hill.
Newly promoted Cardiff City are after delivering one of the biggest upsets on the EPL season, beating Manchester City 3-2 before their adoring fans who have waited patiently for 25 years to enjoy top-flight action. And didn’t they enjoy it immensely! Almost worth the wait.
Yet many have it down to a fluke, a one-off. Online sportsbooks haven’t taken stock of the win really, sending Cardiff into the Everton fixture as the significant puppies. But a win over one of the league’s favourites to win the title is the sort of thing to give a team confidence. It can be the catalyst for a positive run even. Certainly, it’s a result that should send them with optimism into the Everton fixture, which incidentally is another home fixture and against a side that is yet to record its first win on the season. Everton are after back-to-back draws against Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion (middleweights at best, and that is being generous) and, as such, don’t strike a convincing pose as the favourites despite remaining undefeated on the season.
Verdict and Picks: This is a huge opportunity for Cardiff City to underscore their shock win over Man City with another win over Everton, a much weaker side than Man City is and definitely beatable on the road. As such, we are plumping down to a home win at +230 with Bet365.
West Ham vs. Stoke City, Saturday August 31,
Venue: Boleyn Ground
Analysis: The soccer odds released on this fixture offer angles for profit on both ends. West Ham United are listed as the +100 home favourites while Stoke City are tipped as the +300 underdogs. Both teams go into week 3 on mixed results and in more ways than one this match could go either way, the three points entirely up for grabs. Or, for that matter, they could cancel each other out and settle on a draw (available at +230 at Bet365 and at +240 at William Hill) and a point each.
West Ham United began the season brightly with a 2-0 win over Cardiff City at Boleyn Ground but settled on a scoreless draw at Newcastle United last weekend. Four points out of a maximum six points though is a good start on the season for the likes of West Ham United and you won’t see them complaining about their fifth place in the table.
Stoke City, on the other hand, opened the season with a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool but they put on a good show. There were plenty of positives to take away and those came to realization in the 2-1 win at home to Crystal Palace. With three points in two laps around the league Stoke is sat pretty in tenth place.
Verdict and Picks: This should be a hard fought battle between two sides that measure up well against each other. West Ham United has the slight edge here with home ground advantage but Stoke City is always a difficult side to play against. While West Ham United should win, we’re plumping down to a draw at +240 at William Hill.