Top sportsbooks are leaning towards Arsenal in the marketplace despite turning out last weekend’s biggest stunner – an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa at the Emirates (incidentally, a result we predicted last week). Good news for the Emirates faithful, the soccer odds are delicately nestled on the long side of even money at +120 to win outright with Bet365, which means there is value to be had, if in fact they come through on expectations.
Abysmal the fixture against Aston Villa though it was – a side that finished 11 places behind Arsenal in the table last season – and that which towards the end elicited chants of “Spend Some [#$@#] Money” from fans (directed at Arsene Wenger of course), it’s only one game. The season of the most watched league stretching before us long and wide and the Gunners, who consistently finish in the top quartet, have plenty of opportunity to reverse their fortunes. So can you blame bookies for the optimistic odds against Fulham?
Arsenal descends on Craven Cottage looking to bounce back with a win in domestic action. As mentioned above, it’s tipped favourably at +120. As well, Arsenal to win both halves in prop markets is listed best of all the sports betting options in this market at +260; and Arsenal to win by a 1 goal difference is best priced at +300 of all the options in winning-margin betting.
For an Arsenal win to actually be put into the books however the players will have to play a whole lot better than they did against Aston Villa. Olivier Giroud, the only goal scorer last week, accounted for 6 of 15 shots against Villa and, arguably, he was the only threat on the pitch. (He’s listed at +163 to score anytime and at +600 respectively to score the first or last goal.) That is unacceptable for a side of such quality and the remaining soccer baubles prancing about – Walcott (+150 to score anytime) and Wilshere (+400 to score anytime) to name a few – need to step up or the team will pay a heavy price in the table.
Fulham a good betting proposition at home
Let’s face it taking three huge points off Fulham will be no easy task for Arsenal at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers are coming off a 1-0 win against Sunderland in the opening week of the new season and typically they are a good proposition on home turf – what is a bet trading at +225 at Bet365. It’s worthwhile to note: the draw is the least likely result according to bookies seeing as it is tipped the largest at +240. Telling isn’t it?
A lot about this market rests on how well Arsenal performs against Fenerbahçe in Istanbul in midweek UEFA Champions League action. You can bet the market will shift conspicuously if the Gunners fail to get a positive result as two demoralizing results in succession would be seen as concerning, the upshot of which is it would have to take the shine of Arsenal. As well, Fulham would take it as an opportunity to heap more misery on them.
Of course, Fulham will have to play better than they did against Sunderland. Though they did win, Sunderland for most of the match looked to be the more dangerous side and were in fact unlucky as they saw countless opportunities wasted (they outshot Fulham 21-5). Fulham on the other hand scored on their first real opportunity, a corner kick. Sunderland’s head coach Paolo Di Canio’s quote on the Barclay’s Premier League official site puts it best: "One corner kick we concede, they score from. It was a silly mistake and that was the difference. We played 80 minutes in the opposition half but we lost.”
Soccer Betting Verdict: Despite the odds on Arsenal, we’re not buying what they are selling right now. Last week they were exposed for the weak, injury-struck side they really are by Aston Villa and one thing was made immediately apparent – they lack the depth needed to compete successfully from week to week, let alone with the Man Us of the world. Don’t forget as well they’re in Turkey on Wednesday and most likely will be road weary by the time they arrive at Craven Cottage. No, Fulham really does seem to have the edge over Arsenal where it counts most: home ground advantage, confidence and rest, all of which makes them appear to be the better choice for your soccer picks here at + 225 to win outright.Soccer Free Picks: Fulham to win 2-1