Soccer Free Picks: Chelsea vs. Southampton EPL Tips

Nila Amerova

Friday, November 29, 2013 1:39 PM GMT

Chelsea take on an in-form Southampton on Sunday in week 13 of Premier League action, with the Blues keen to keep pace with pacesetters Arsenal. Here’s a primer on this highly anticipated clash complete with select soccer picks for your consideration.

Chelsea strong favourites

Chelsea will aim to maintain their place in the chasing pack when they take on an in-form Southampton in week 13. It wasn’t long (just last week) when Southampton occupied a berth above Chelsea in the table. Thanks to the Blues’ win over West Ham United in week 12 and Southampton’s defeat to Arsenal in the same week the pair flip-flopped in the table.

Chelsea, currently third, improved to 7-3-2 on the back of the 3-0 win over West Ham United, a much-needed win that put them level on points with Liverpool and saw them close the gap on Arsenal to four points. 

Midweek action however saw Jose Mourinho’s side falter against Basel in Champions League action, somewhat surprisingly really. The 1-0 defeat marked the second defeat to the stoic Swiss outfit, proving the first at Stamford Bridge was no fluke. More importantly, it very nearly put their European campaign in jeopardy. Instead, thanks largely to Schalke 04’s lacklustre draw to Steaua Bucharest on the same day in the section’s other match, Chelsea are through to the knockout stages but it remains to be seen whether they finish first or second.

The frustrating result is just another in a growing list. Just when the Blues seem to be getting things together they go and drop a surprise in sports bettors laps. How much stock we should put into their European outing remains to be seen. As far as this next matchup goes odds makers aren’t fussed at all, sending Chelsea into their date with Southampton as the firm favourites listed at -175 to win outright at Bet365.

Southampton meanwhile are getting no respect in the markets, listed at a whopping +550 to win outright at Bet365 they are the quintessential long shot bet. A market cast that stands in stark contrast to their season’s output, which sees them in fifth place on the back of a 6-4-2 mark.

Granted home form has been their golden goose but they did manage a win over Liverpool at Anfield Stadium and a draw at the Old Trafford – no mean feat either of those results. So road form, even if it’s a modest 2-2-2, can’t be dismissed out of hand entirely when they clearly can stand up to the big boys.

Chelsea are unbeaten five in a row at home and that is probably largely responsible for this lopsided market. Indeed, it’ll be a tall ask for Southampton. Still, West Brom recently forced the draw on Chelsea – very nearly frolicked away with a win had it not been for a fortuitous (contentious) penalty late in the game. One has to consider, if West Brom can ruffle Chelsea’s feathers then Southampton, playing some of the best football in their club’s recent history this season, must be able to do some damage too. Surely, if nothing else, the draw can’t be as out of reach as sportsbooks would have you believe at +320 soccer odds.

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Soccer Betting Verdict: Natural inclination dictates backing the home win and taking Chelsea at their favourable -175 soccer odds. But this season’s EPL has been nothing short of surprises. And we’re in a contrary mood, let’s say. Chelsea are coming off a packed schedule this week with a short trek to West Ham followed by a longer trek to Switzerland. The pressures of the week combined with travel and the minor disappointment against Basel could have a toll (don’t get us started on the Special One’s haircut). At the very least, it opens the possibility Southampton could be in for a point-making trip, if not turning the odds completing in their favour then the draw surely. Both those options hold a certain appeal and either would be well worth consideration for your soccer picks on the weekend.  For our money, we quite fancy the draw.

Soccer Free Picks: Draw at +320