The Premier League returns to action following the international break, during which the January transfer window slammed shut after a slew of moves. We'll provide a look at the Matchday 24 action with our Premier League picks.
There weren't any games last week, but there was still plenty to watch. We're featuring a number of world football's biggest winners and losers from the transfer window in our Matchday 24 picks.
A top-four hopeful lacking scoring options takes on a notoriously stout home side; two relegation-threatened clubs square off following some savvy moves; and a surprisingly strong squad out of East London looks to bounce back from two straight defeats.
Here are my top betting picks and predictions for the Premier League Matchday 24 schedule (odds via DraftKings SportsBook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Premier League Matchday 24 Picks
- Newcastle (+160) ???
- Wolves-Arsenal total Under 1.5 goals (+190) ???
- West Ham team total Over 2.5 goals (+130) ????
SEE ALSO: All Soccer Picks
Premier League Matchday 24 Predictions
Newcastle spent more than any other Premier League side this January in an attempt to drag themselves out of the relegation zone. A Magpies defense that looked strong in its last match away to Leeds now adds Matt Targett on loan from Aston Villa and mammoth center-back Dan Burn from Brighton & Hove Albion. The latter is expected to make his debut for his boyhood club this week.
Meanwhile, Everton made some changes of their own during the break by officially replacing Rafael Benitez with Frank Lampard. The former Chelsea manager started life on Merseyside with a 4-1 win over Brentford in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Both these teams have been truly pitiful this season. However, Newcastle are showing at least some hope with their relatively strong run of form in the Premier League. They disposed of Leeds at Elland Road in their last match, and that followed draws away to Watford and, more importantly, home to Manchester United. Everton have taken just six points from 10 away matches this campaign and picked up only a single point in their last five games overall.
The Toffees struggled for goals after forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin went down with a foot injury in their third game; they scored seven goals in that first trio of matches compared to just 17 in the 17 since. He returned for Matchday 21 to play the last three games but picked up another knock during the break. His status is in question for this one.
In this showdown between two disappointing clubs, I'll take the home side trying to climb out of the relegation zone after spending big during the transfer window. Big Frank's first Premier League game as Everton manager doesn't move the needle enough for me.
Wolves-Arsenal Under 1.5 goals (+190)
Arsenal have actually been a strong side following a disastrous spell to begin the campaign - they started the season with four losses in their first five, including a 5-0 walloping by Manchester City. However, the common themes have been their relative inability to score goals and struggle to find consistency away from home. The Gunners fire BBs rather than bullets away from the Emirates, as their 12.8 expected away goals rank them 10th just behind Watford. And they rate even lower in terms of expected goal difference away from home thanks to a putrid 17.9 expected away goals against.
Now, they travel to Molineux to take on Wolves, who are a notoriously stingy team at home. They've finished fourth, second, and seventh, respectively, in xGA at home since returning to the Premier League in 2018. They sit eighth in that category this season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's departure leaves Arsenal with just Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah up front, the latter of whom has played a grand total of 51 minutes in the Premier League this season.
Wolves are on a tidy run of form, with 13 points from their last five, during which they conceded just two goals. Meanwhile, Arsenal are coming off a scoreless draw at Burnley in their last Premier League outing, and I expect a similar outcome in this one. If you're looking for something a bit juicier, DraftKings has a scoreless draw at +850.
West Ham team total Over 2.5 goals (+130)
Watford are, to be blunt, absolutely horrendous. Their 38.9 xGA rank last in the Premier League, nearly 1.5 goals worse than No. 19 Norwich. Meanwhile, West Ham sit fourth in the league with 33.4 xG and will be hungry in this one following two disappointing results in the league.
West Ham lost 3-2 at home to Leeds before falling 1-0 away to Manchester United in their last league game. However, they won three straight prior to that and scored at least two goals in five straight league affairs before struggling at Old Trafford.
The East London side will gladly welcome a date with Watford after pummeling the Hornets 4-1 in the reverse fixture to close out 2021. Both Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio are only two off their Premier League-best goals tally, and either one could match their career highs by the time 90 minutes are up in this one.
Look for West Ham to score early and often to further cement Watford's place in the drop zone.
Premier League Matchday 24 Quick Picks
Premier League Matchday 24 picks made 2/6/2022 at 4:30 p.m. ET.