Soccer Picks: Manchester United vs. Southampton

Nila Amerova

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:12 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 9:12 PM GMT

As World Cup Qualifiers wind down attention returns to domestic soccer betting action. It’s a full slate on the weekend in EPL, but, arguably, the game garnering most attention is the clash between defending champions Man U and surprise package Southampton.

A sign of the times?

Man U enter week 8 sat pretty in ninth place in the table, six points off pace of top of the league Arsenal and Liverpool and just three points above the relegation line, albeit it’s quite the tight squeeze from mid to bottom of the table right now as ten clubs are squished within the confines of those three points, and it is early days yet on the season. Why bookmakers aren’t panicking yet, still maintaining Man U as one of several short odds on favourites to win the title this year at +600 at Bet365. Still to find Man U hobnobbing in such company is a strange experience, if nothing else.

Manchester United are after a laborious win in the last lap, a 2-1 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light that saw them take desperately needed points. Taking points actually is the only positive as the Red Devils attack continued to struggle something awful throughout the game and well defence wasn’t exactly sprightly and sharp either.

It took only five minutes for basement dwelling Sunderland to score and surprisingly they held on to that lead for the better part of the game until Adnan Januzaj singlehandedly rescued Man U, scoring twice in the second half, a minute apart, to lift the Reds to a 2-1 victory. It’s worthwhile noting that both Rooney and Van Persie featured in that game; it wasn’t a watered down Man U by any stretch of the imagination.

Against all the soccer odds, Southampton are enjoying their new digs in the top four for the moment, on 14 points after seven laps they are just two points adrift of pacesetters Arsenal and Liverpool. What’s most impressive is their newfound position in the league’s hierarchy is underscored by a big win against Liverpool at Anfield Stadium.

Question is how long can they hold on to a coveted spot in the top four? If the odds were any indication, not for long. The futures markets offered right now see them at a whopping +50000 to win the league and at a large +3300 to clinch a top four spot.

Currently, Southampton are enjoying a four-game winning streak across several competitions; they’ve beaten Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Swansea City in Premier League action and Bristol City in League Cup action, and – the most significant facet of this run of form – they scored seven goals combined while maintaining a clean sheet in each match.

Man U vs. Southampton preview and picks

While the status quo is easily recognised in England’s top-flight league, sportsbooks are not reflecting it in the market on this match. It’s the natural order with Man U tipped at the solid advantage, listed at -188 odds to win outright at Bet365 while Southampton are listed at the significant disadvantage at +500 while the draw is tipped at a large +300.

Home ground advantage and tradition of success probably had a hand in this market, but let’s face it, Man U are simply not the same at the Old Trafford, where they are 1-1-1 to date on the season (3-1-3 overall). Still adjusting to life under Moyes as they are and with very little room for improvement since the game with Sunderland to now on account of the international break for World Cup action during which Rooney and Van Persie (to name a few) answered the call of national duty, the Red Devils at -188 just feels a bit too pricey of a soccer pick right now then don’t you think?

Clearly the bookies aren’t buying what Southampton are selling but the question is should punters buy what they are selling? Undoubtedly odds are high on a Southampton draw or win at the Old Trafford but – make no mistake – the Saints will be no pushovers. They played the Red Devils well last season and now they have the added confidence of a win at Anfield Stadium to give them hope here. Granted it’s a tall order and a long shot option for our sports picks but the way things have been going for both teams, it can happen. Frankly, it won’t be surprising if striped red-and-white fans swan about town in celebration after the game.

Soccer Free Picks: Southampton to win outright
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