Soccer Picks Newcastle United vs. Arsenal to Draw

Nila Amerova

Thursday, December 26, 2013 6:30 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 6:30 PM GMT

Newcastle United and Arsenal set up a rather intriguing clash as both are coming off winning performances on Boxing Day. Find out where the value soccer picks are to be had.

Newcastle United win big

Newcastle United are after a big win over Stoke City on Boxing Day, hammering the Potters 5-1 at St. James Park in a match that began auspiciously for both sides and was dead even going into halftime but then saw the Magpies open the flood gates in the second half with four unanswered goals.

The recent win extends Newcastle United’s undefeated form to four in a row, both home and away, in Premier League with three wins and a draw. Most impressively, they beat Manchester United 1-0 at the Old Trafford during this positive patch. Yet curiously odds makers send them into their upcoming clash with Arsenal as the decided underdogs at +280 soccer odds to win outright.

Newcastle United will be hosting Arsenal at St. James Park, marking a back-to-back home stretch spanning just a few days, which is always an advantage for a middleweight club taking on a big club but not one that is always capitalised on. In their case they’ve done exactly that in Premier League however.

On both occasions against top opposition Newcastle United came away with points; a 2-0 win over Chelsea and a 2-2 draw to Liverpool. The only top club to take all points off Newcastle United was Man City, but they did so in League Cup action. Overall, home form is an auspicious 5-3-1, the lone defeat coming against Hull City.

Clearly, bookies aren’t buying what the Magpies are selling. The question is should you? To put it another way: given form and confidence against the big boys wouldn’t Newcastle United be the value soccer pick here?

Arsenal back on top?

By comparison, Arsenal are on the road this week with back-to-back away games to West Ham United and Newcastle – albeit the Hammers are fellow Londoners so the trip to Boleyn Ground on Boxing Day wasn’t that arduous or taxing.

Arsenal defeated West Ham United 3-1 but the Hammers sorely tested their lofty neighbours’ mettle, holding the Gunners to a scoreless draw in the first half and opening the scoring in the second on the back of a 46th minute strike from Cole. With their backs against the wall so, the Gunners finally woke up from whatever merry reverie they were enjoying and soon afterwards scored three goals in succession – Theo Walcott scored twice and Lukas Podolski added a third in his first game back.

The victory sees Arsenal back to the top of the table after relinquishing top spot to Liverpool before the Christmas break. (Of course, it remains to be seen whether they’ll hold on to that enviable perch as Man City and Liverpool are in the midst of their clash at the time of writing and the table’s hierarchy at the end of week 18 is still to be completed.) And perhaps in some part because of the recent win and (temporary?) return to the top, Arsenal go into their upcoming Sunday clash in Northern England as the favourites across sportsbooks. Tipped at -110 to win outright at Bet365, you could go so far as to say the match is cornered firmly in their camp.

But aren’t odds makers overestimating the Gunners at the expense of a really good Newcastle United at home? Aside from Newcastle United’s home form as well as overall league form, Arsenal have been rather shaky against top clubs. Let’s face it, a 1-1 draw to Everton, a humbling 6-3 defeat to Man City and a scoreless draw to Chelsea are each a failure to underscore top credentials at the time of asking. Therefore, we can’t take anything for granted even if the soccer odds are promising on Arsenal.

Soccer Betting Verdict: On balance, this match could go either way. Arsenal will be looking to build on their win over West Ham United to maintain pressure at the top of the table but recent form has been rather suspect against the top clubs and that takes the shine off their favourable -110 soccer odds. This doesn’t mean they can’t pull off the win or that they aren’t a value soccer pick to do so but rather that we’re just not so convinced is all.

Newcastle United have divinely surprised against top opposition, particularly at home. So much so that they do appear to be the better soccer pick in our opinion to either beat Arsenal at +280 or to hold the Gunners to a draw, which is trading just a smidgen shorter at +275 at Bet365. The more we think on it we wouldn’t put either past them but if we had to decide on just the one option, we’d  plump down to the draw.

Soccer Picks: Draw +275

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