Soccer Picks: Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Nila Amerova

Thursday, August 22, 2013 3:10 PM GMT

The top clash on the Premier League card this week in round 2 is without doubt Manchester United vs. Chelsea.

 The 2013 Premier League season got underway successfully for Manchester United and Chelsea as both clubs recorded wins that went a long way towards alleviating any concerns that the new hierarchy at both clubs might result in mixed fortunes. Manchester United thumped Swansea 4-1 while Chelsea routed Hull City 2-0 – all is well in Premier League land and each remains one of three short odds on favourites for the title this season.

Manchester United have home edge

Manchester United have home edge for this fixture which qualifies them as the favourites to win outright at +138 at Bet365. That the Red Devils aren’t on the short side of even money is everything to do with the quality of their opponent and the real possibility that the said opponent could leave the Old Trafford with something to show for their efforts by Monday night.

United’s new boss David Moyes enjoyed a spectacular debut at Liberty Stadium, so spectacular that even the most ardent sceptic was forced to grudgingly admit that his assignment wasn’t such a big mistake. Heck, the Man U side of the stadium serenaded him. But its only one game. The first of a very long and arduous season. It remains to be seen how long this feel-good factor will persist over Moyes. What is certain is that it will be tested on Monday night.

Chelsea top of the table

As things currently stand, the Special One and Chelsea, listed at +200 at Bet365, lead the table with six points, having added a second win on the season on Wednesday when they beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. The victory wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. The Villans took it to the Blues and the dazzling Benteke was up to his lofty scoring standards, notching the first-half equalizer that sent the fixture on a 1-1 draw into halftime.

The second half though was all Chelsea taking it to a stubborn Villa defense but finding it hard to break them down. Heck, Aston Villa came close to taking the lead early in the second half and that prompted Mourinho to make some significant changes, swapping Mata and Ba for Andre Schurrle and Romelu Lukaku. Those changes sparked the Blues to life and Ivanovic scored the winner, a header in the 73rd minute to secure all three points and a sigh of relief from Mourinho, who had previously gone four Premier League games without a win against Aston Villa.

Man U vs. Chelsea odds and betting predictions

The last ten meetings in Premier League action between this pair reveal a well-balanced matchup with each winning four and drawing two. Man U has won three of five played at the Old Trafford and drawn none while Chelsea has won twice – including a 1-0 victory in the last corresponding fixture between them last season.

This statistic shows that Man U has only a slight edge over Chelsea at the Old Trafford but enough to make them the favourites at +138. That said because it’s not an overwhelming edge the trend supports Chelsea’s chances for the upset. Moreover, Chelsea won the last fixture – albeit under Rafa Benitez’s guidance – and following their positive start on the season with a 2-0-0 record they should head to the Old Trafford with growing confidence. Simply put fans could do no worse than back a Chelsea win at +200.

Another interesting statistic we dug up is the fact that both teams average 1.4 goals per match when facing each other – combined that makes for 2.8 goals per match. The Over 2.5 is listed at -125 while the Under is listed at +100 for our soccer picks.

Nobody likes a draw result when titans collide; it leaves things on a rather unfinished note and deprives one of the divine right of bragging that comes with winning. The draw at +225 hasn’t been a common result between these two sides – the last time it cropped up was in February last season when they settled on a 3-3 stalemate – but given what’s at stake here and the attention this match and in turn the managers will get, it might rear its ugly head. 

In fact, a 1-1 draw is trading most favourably at +550 at most sportsbooks. It’s trading shorter than a 1-0 or 2-1 win by Man, both of which are listed at +850. A scoreless draw (what would be a shame for viewers and fans alike) is tipped at +1000, same as a 1-0 win or a 2-1 win to Chelsea. While a 2-2 draw at +1100 is priced slightly shorter than a 2-0 win by Man U (at +1200) and a 2-0 win by Chelsea at +1400.

Now things get interesting (confusing even) in the half and fulltime prop markets where a Man U win in both halves is the favoured outcome at +300 and a Chelsea win in both halves is listed at +333. What happened to the conspicuous lean towards a draw result in score betting markets (mentioned above) where a 1-1 draw was trading the shortest at +550? Here a draw result in both halves is going for +450, significantly longer than those odds for either side to win both halves. A draw-Man U win or a draw- Chelsea win follow next at +500 and +550, respectively.

[gameodds]2/239507/?r3=349/us&r-1=349/us[/gameodds]

Soccer Betting Verdict

 There seems to be a bit of confusion where these two sides are concerned in the marketplace but that is understandable given the quality man-for-man on both teams. It really is challenging for soccer odds makers pricing this match and for bettors betting on it because theoretically (and on paper) both have an equal shot to win. So, if you are not loyal to either side, the best neutral play is the Over 2.5 at -125. As far as the win column goes, given the momentum Chelsea is riding right now following back-to-back wins, we quite fancy their chances to surprise Man U at the Old Trafford and cast a cloud over the new Moyes regime.

Soccer Free Picks: Chelsea to win 2-1 at Ladbrokes