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Top Premier League Matchday 34 Picks: Does Anyone Actually Want to Finish in Fourth?

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Top Premier League Matchday 34 Picks: Does Anyone Actually Want to Finish in Fourth?
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring his sides fourth goal against Manchester United. Photo by Terry Donnelly/DPPI via AFP.

With only five matchweeks remaining in the Premier League campaign, the stakes are ultra-high. After a limited slate in Matchday 33, this weekend features all 20 teams. Check out our Premier League Matchday 34 picks.

Matchday 33 was an utter disaster for three of London’s top clubs. Spurs kicked off the weekend with a truly bizarre defeat at home to a previously lifeless Brighton after dissecting them just a few games prior. Arsenal suffered their third straight disappointing loss, dropping points at Southampton despite a plus-1.1 expected goal differential in the match. And, to cap it off, West Ham drew Burnley at home.

For their part, the Gunners pulled even with Spurs thanks to a massive midweek win over third-place Chelsea. Meanwhile, Manchester United made up some ground by barely getting by basement-dwelling Norwich before a trip to Anfield resulted in a completely embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Liverpool. Now, only five points separate fourth-place Spurs from seventh-place West Ham.

At the other end of the table, it appears Norwich and Watford have succumbed to the fact they’ll be relegated at season’s end. However, the post-Sean Dyche era at Burnley has started relatively strong, with the Clarets’ aforementioned draw at West Ham and midweek home win over Southampton. Burnley are one point back of Everton and will look to claw their way out of the drop zone with a result at home vs. Wolves this weekend.

It’s still all to play for with the season reaching its final stretch.

Here are my top Premier League Matchday 34 picks and predictions (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

SEE ALSO: 2022 World Cup Draw

Premier League Matchday 34 Picks

  • Leicester + Under 3.5 (+255 via DraftKings) ★★★★★
  • Arsenal (+115 via DraftKings) ★★★★
  • Mohamed Salah + Heung-Min Son to score (+341 via FanDuel) ★★★★
  • Burnley or draw + Under 2.5 (+110 via DraftKings) ★★★
  • Newcastle + Under 3.5 (+180 via FanDuel) ★★★

SEE ALSO: Top Serie A Matchday 34 Picks: No Shortage of Drama in Italy

Premier League Matchday 34 Predictions

Leicester + Under 3.5 (+255)

Aston Villa (1-0-4 last five): 6-0-10 away record (1.13 points per game), 18 away goals (17.3 expected goals) to 21 away goals against (19.6 expected goals against)
Leicester (2-2-1 last five): 8-3-4 home record (1.80 points per game), 26 home goals (21.8 xG) to 20 home goals against (25.1 xGA)

The Foxes have been one of the Premier League’s best home sides this season, ranking seventh in points per game. Despite being generally thought of as a team willing to engage in a scoring slugfest, Leicester have gotten the job done in recent weeks by playing a much tighter brand of football. They haven’t had a league match go Over this total since a 2-2 draw against West Ham on Feb. 13. During that stretch, they’ve taken all nine points from three home matches.

At the other end, Aston Villa are a feisty away side. Their minus-2.4 away xGD ranks sixth in the league, thanks to their fourth-best 19.6 xGA – a mark that bests Liverpool’s 19.8. However, Steven Gerrard’s side hasn’t managed to get the most of its recent away matches. It’s taken just six points from the last five despite a plus-2.1 xGD in those games. If the Villans take that type of finishing into King Power, they’ll emerge with nothing to show for it.

Arsenal (+115)

Manchester United (2-1-2 last five): 6-5-5 away record (1.44 points per game), 24 away goals (21.1 xG) to 27 away goals against (26.0 xGA)
Arsenal (2-0-3 last five): 10-2-4 home record (2.00 points per game), 25 home goals (27.7 xG) to 14 home goals against (13.9 xGA)

Following three lifeless performances against inferior competition, Arsenal picked up a crucial three points in the North West London derby. The Gunners remain the Premier League’s third-best home side, behind only juggernauts Liverpool and Manchester City.

Arsenal have managed a plus-4.6 xGD in their last five games despite taking only six points from those affairs. They continue to be stout at the back – especially at home, where they own the league’s third-best xGA – and feature too many talented players up front to struggle to score in the fashion they did prior to the Chelsea match.

Meanwhile, United are fresh off perhaps the least inspiring performance by any team in the Premier League this season. Liverpool completely decimated their longtime rivals, drilling four goals past David De Gea on just five shots on target. United managed only two shots and 28% of the possession in the match, and they appeared to completely give up following Luis Diaz’s fifth-minute goal.

Though they’ve taken more points from their last five than Arsenal have, United have managed a minus-0.7 xGD in those matches. They’ve also won just one of their last five away fixtures, a 4-2 victory over a then-capitulating Leeds side.

With both teams fighting – if you can call it that – for a top-four spot, Arsenal should continue their strong play at home and take the three points.

Salah + Son to score (+341)

Mohamed Salah (three goals in last five Premier League matches): 22 goals overall (19.7 xG), 11 home goals, scored twice in reverse fixture
Heung-Min Son (six goals in last five Premier League matches): 17 goals overall (12.2 xG), 6 away goals, scored in reverse fixture

The Premier League’s two leading scorers are set to play crucial roles in their club’s respectively massive games. Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside derby and Spurs travel to West London to take on a suddenly white-hot Brentford side.

Salah broke out of his recent funk – he failed to score in eight straight contests across all competitions with Liverpool and Egypt – with two goals in the destruction of United. His 0.79 goals per 90 minutes lead the league, as do his 93 total shots this season. Liverpool have taken a whopping 34 points from their last 12 league games, failing to defeat only Manchester City during that run. The Reds won the reverse fixture 4-1, and that was at Goodison Park, where Everton have managed most of their success this season. Salah scored twice in that one, and he’ll add to his Merseyside derby resume this weekend.

Son doesn’t have the benefit of taking his team’s penalties like Salah does. But what he lacks in opportunity, he makes up for in clinical finishing. The South Korean superstar is converting goals at a 31% clip this season, the best mark among the league’s top 10 goalscorers. His 69% shot accuracy also paces his contemporaries.

Unlike Salah, Son has experienced no such recent struggles. He scored eight times in his last 10 games in all competitions, including a hat-trick in the club’s previous away match at Aston Villa. He was Spurs’ only goalscorer in the reverse fixture – the match featured a Brentford own goal – and has taken over primary scoring duties with Harry Kane serving more as a facilitator. After failing to provide much in the embarrassing defeat against Brighton, Son should do his part to help Spurs emerge with three points this weekend.

Burnley or draw + Under 2.5 (+110)

Wolves (3-0-2 last five): 8-2-6 away record (1.63 points per game), 15 away goals (14.3 xG) to 12 away goals against (23.4 xGA)
Burnley (2-1-2 last five): 4-6-6 home record (1.13 points per game), 15 home goals (17.0 xG) to 20 home goals against (22.3 xGA)

It seemed implausible that Burnley would receive the famous “new manager boost” after sacking Dyche, but they’ve managed to take four points from two games since his exit. They followed a 1-1 draw at West Ham with a sultry 2-0 win at home against Southampton, and now they welcome Wolves to Turf Moor.

Under Dyche, Burnley were famous for playing a gritty brand of football, often frustrating some of the Premier League’s biggest sides and clawing out results. They’ve thus far managed to do the same under interim boss Mike Jackson, and this match will prove to be another major test. Burnley are just one point back of Everton – though the Toffees have a game in hand – and will almost certainly bank on the 17th-place squad to drop points in its visit to Anfield.

For their part, Wolves have been one of the Premier League’s toughest away sides, managing the fourth-most points per game with the fifth-best goal differential. However, they’ve been quite fortunate, as their minus-9.1 xGD away from home is the sixth-worst mark in the league. They play an exceptionally tight brand of football, conceding the third-fewest away goals while also scoring the third-fewest. That’s a combination Burnley surely won’t mind.

This match is likely to be a snoozefest, with Burnley doing whatever they can to secure a point and draw level with Everton prior to the Toffees’ massive game of their own.

Newcastle + Under 3.5 (+170)

Newcastle (3-0-2 last five): 3-4-9 away record (0.81 points per game), 13 away goals (12.9 xG) to 29 away goals against (23.2 xGA)
Norwich (1-1-3 last five): 3-3-10 home record (0.75 points per game), 12 home goals (15.1 xG) to 31 home goals against (26.9 xGA)

Norwich are all but certainly headed back down to the Championship, where they dominated the competition in 2020-21 following a 20th-place finish in the Premier League the season prior. Alas, it doesn’t matter if it’s former manager Daniel Farke or current boss Dean Smith, this iteration of the Canaries simply isn’t built for first-tier football.

The club slightly shifted its identity from that of a goalscoring machine – it scored 93 goals to earn promotion in 2019 – to a more defensive-minded side, shutting down its opponents upon being relegated again in 2020. However, the problem remains that Norwich simply don’t have the quality to compete with England’s best. They’ve both failed to score (22 goals overall are the fewest in the league) and stop opponents from scoring (66 goals against are the second-most). And, unlike Burnley, there’s no potential for a happy ending this season.

For their part, Newcastle are proof of what can happen when new club owners pour money into a team. They’ve taken 25 points from 12 league matches since the January transfer window closed, with the only blips being tight 1-0 away losses to Everton and Chelsea, and an uncharacteristic shellacking at the hands of Spurs.

In terms of the total, only two of Newcastle’s last 15 league matches have cashed the Over 3.5. They continue to get results despite never looking particularly dangerous, thanks mostly to an unrelenting defense led by Fabian Schar and January transfer Dan Burn. Newcastle should continue their climb up the table and put the final nail in the coffin of Norwich’s season.

Premier League Matchday 34 Parlay Picks

We’re targeting a few big favorites along with two of our picked winners. Finally, we’re rolling with Crystal Palace in Monday’s game against Leeds. Palace at home is not only a strong bet, but adding the Monday game allows you to cash out if four of the five legs hit following the Liverpool game, if you want to play it safe.

Combined odds: Manchester City (-900) + Newcastle (+115) + Leicester (+185) + Spurs (-115) + Liverpool (-525) + Crystal Palace (+105) = +3006 (via DraftKings)

Where to Bet on Premier League Picks

Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:

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Premier League Matchday 34 picks made 4/22/2022 at 11:35 a.m. ET.