Soccer Picks & Tips for Arsenal vs. Sunderland

Nila Amerova

Thursday, February 20, 2014 7:29 PM GMT

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 7:29 PM GMT

Arsenal will try to bounce back from their defeat to Bayern Munich in Champions League when they take on Sunderland in EPL week 27 betting. Find out what odds have gone to press and where the value is to be had.

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Arsenal at the advantage

Arsenal head into EPL week 27 betting just a point behind league leaders Chelsea. Desperate to put behind them a traumatic night in Europe’s top-flight and take away something positive from an excruciatingly challenging fortnight, they need a face saving performance against relegation-threatened Sunderland.

The fortnight that was began with an unmemorable 5-1 trouncing at Anfield Stadium. Then it was a frustrating scoreless draw to a Manchester United suffering an identity crisis, a side that just about everybody is having their way with it would seem. The only glittering promise during this torturous stretch was a 2-0 victory over Liverpool in fifth round FA Cup action. But any bonhomie that might have been felt after that redeeming performance was snuffed out by Bayern Munich’s visit to the Emirates on Wednesday night, delivering a 2-0 defeat that had a touch of the déjà vu about it.

The moment the draw came out and Arsenal’s misfortune to draw Bayern Munich for a second season in a row in the R16 Champions League was revealed, the overwhelming consensus in soccer betting circles was that they were in over their heads. Case and point, Arsenal were matched at large +350 soccer odds to beat the reining European champions at the Emirates, a price tag reeking with ZERO confidence in the hosts’ abilities. That’s why nobody is surprised (least of all us) that Bayern Munich, who were matched at favourable -138 soccer odds to win outright at Bet365, delivered on expectations.

The ramifications of the past fortnight fraught with disappointments and setbacks can be felt in all online sportsbook platforms. It’s not enough to take a beating on the pitch; they must take a beating in soccer betting markets as well. Talk about adding insult to injury. Arsenal’s prices have swelled across the board. Their odds to win the Premier League have swelled to +800, despite sitting just a point away from top spot. And they are a hallucinatory +12500 to win the Champions League now, obviously turning the tie on its head at the Allianz Arena is nigh unthinkable – or so it would seem in minds of odds makers.

So where does Arsenal go from here? It’s hard to say when they do appear to cut a rather frustrating figure in soccer betting. Fortunately, in the immediate interim, they have a very winnable match against Sunderland to contend with at the Emirates, one that they really should win handily as they are tipped the overwhelming favourites at -333 soccer odds (or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice).

A draw, which is matched at rather large +400 soccer odds or the unthinkable upset by Sunderland [that sound you just heard was Gooners around the world gasping in disbelief that anybody would deign to entertain such a horrendous thought], which is trading at stratospheric odds of +900 to win outright at Bet365, would be entirely unacceptable, not least it would plunge Arsenal into further disrepute amidst soccer bettors. 

Arsenal may be down on themselves but at least they aren’t down in the dumps as Sunderland are, sat in 18th place with a 6-6-13 mark through 25 laps and a game in hand. Clearly, the Black Cats would have to up the ante significantly in order to transcend a subpar road record of 3-4-5 and, in turn, flip the soccer betting script.

But hold on a moment. Sunderland are riding a six-game unbeaten run on the road, which includes three wins and three draws. Most impressively, they beat Newcastle United 3-0 at St. James Park and Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park. Might sportsbooks be writing them off rather hastily? After all, such a composed run in recent weeks could lend them confidence for their clash with the Gunners at the Emirates, an intangible that is hard to quantify but also hard to ignore. Let’s not forget that Arsenal are licking their wounds still, too distracted to be the tough test that they are expected to be.

Soccer Betting Verdict: On paper, this is a home banker without question: Arsenal should win and therefore they are the obvious soccer pick at -333 to win outright. That said don’t be overly surprised if the Black Cats strike an audible chord at the Emirates. The probability of an upset – in the way of the draw at +400 or, in a lesser way, the outright win at +900 – exists, especially if Arsenal, still reeling from the nightmare fortnight that was, fail to recover their composure in time in order to deliver a face-saving performance for their fans to enjoy. Short of a crystal ball it’s hard to predict which Arsenal will show up on the day – the Arsenal that lead the league for over 130 days or the Arsenal that starred in the horror show of a fortnight. Hmmm...dilemma, dilemma.

Soccer Free Picks: Arsenal to win outright at -333 at Bet365. 

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