Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY
It was a winning week, for once, but it wasn’t an especially profitable week. Although, when you’ve lost as much as I have in this column, any positive number is welcomed. Still, after cashing my first two picks last weekend only to see Arsenal roll over and play dead against Manchester City, I was reminded of Charles Barkley’s exchange with that fake doctor in the TV commercial for an online sportsbook.
You know, the one where the doctor tells the Chuck Wagon that he is suffering from “acute win deficiency,” i.e., he’s winning, but he’s not winning enough. Barkley replies, mournfully, “oh, no.” I know exactly how he feels.
Just as the only remedy for a certain kind of fever is more cowbell, the only remedy for acute win deficiency is more winning. Let’s get to it.
Congratulations Ole Gunnar Solskjaer & Marcus Rashford 👏
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 8, 2019
FULHAM v. MANCHESTER UNITED
For the first few months of writing this column, I tried way too hard to find even-money or better bets. Doubling your money (or more than doubling it) is fun, and it feels like you outsmarted the book. As the results have shown, the only person I truly outsmarted was myself.
The way out of this hole, then, is to first stop digging. Is it especially sexy or exciting to pick the surging Manchester United over the plainly awful Fulham this weekend? It’s not. United have nine wins and one draw in Solskjaer’s first ten matches.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 8, 2019
Meanwhile, Fulham are seven points from safety in 19th place in the table and are almost certainly heading back to the Championship next season. The Cottagers have lost four of their last five Premier League matches. United slapped Fulham around on their way to a 4-1 win in December. Against the top five clubs this season, Fulham have given up the following goal tallies: three, three, two, two, four, two. All that while scoring a total of three times in those six fixtures.
Putting out a hundred to win sixty is unexciting, but as I indicated above, if they’re willing to pay the sixty when United wins this match 2-0 or 2-1 or 3-1 or whatever, I’m happy to accept it. Take Manchester United to win at 6/10.
WATFORD v. EVERTON
"Why fire up a powder keg situation?"
What do you make of Deeney's comments? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/cXJjVGvQh1
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) February 8, 2019
Ooooh, what’s this? We have a Premier League beef! Everton’s manager, Marco Silva, used to manage Watford until they fired him last January. Silva now manages Everton (pretty poorly lately, but we’ll get to that in a minute). Watford striker Troy Deeney obviously doesn’t think much of the job Silva did at Watford, or the circumstances of his departure.
So ordinarily I wouldn’t think twice about this match, but the quotes from Deeney and Silva are just too good. Deeney: “The people at Everton are fantastic. Not the manager.” Silva: “I know some of the players already saw that. They are aware of it…Watford chose this strategy during the week.” Grown men swinging verbal handbags at each other, it just doesn’t get much more fun than that in early February with two teams stuck firmly in mid-table.
As for the pick, it’s Watford all the way. Everton have lost four of their last five matches in all competitions and they are no better on the road, having lost three of their last four in the league away from Goodison Park. Watford have been in a funk for a few weeks, playing low-scoring matches and sleepwalking a bit. Deeney is their lightning rod, though, and he’s likely to score (he’s 2/1 to score, if you like it.) In the spirit of keeping it simple, we’re taking the motivated home team to win: Take Watford to win at 13/10.
MANCHESTER CITY v. CHELSEA
Mike Dean’s most common red card ‘victims’ in the Premier League:
9 vs. Man City
9 vs. Chelsea
Sunday really is the Mike Dean derby. pic.twitter.com/YezLAkVKfh
— Coral (@Coral) February 8, 2019
All of my reasons to bet against Chelsea were set out at length in this space last week. One 5-0 beating of the league’s worst team (which I called) won’t undo all of the internal damage at Chelsea. The team’s best player still isn’t too impressed with the manager, who has expressed concern that he cannot motivate these players to try their best.
Conversely, Pep Guardiola has Manchester City back at the top of the table (on goal difference, and yes, Liverpool has a match in hand). City lost to Chelsea earlier this season, a loss that exposed some flaws in Guardiola’s side and was shortly thereafter followed by the bad losses home to Crystal Palace and at Leicester City that allowed Liverpool to grab the league lead in the first place. City have a score to settle with Chelsea. There is also the small matter of the League Cup final between these two teams in two weeks. City will want to put a mark on Chelsea here, and the short money line tells you that they will. Take Manchester City to win at 1/2.
Good luck this weekend.
WEEK 25 RESULTS
Chelsea to win against Huddersfield Town AND over 2.5 goals at 20/23: WIN
Tottenham Hotspur to win against Newcastle United at 4/9: WIN
Arsenal to draw OR win at Manchester City at 5/2: LOSS
WEEK 25 TOTAL: +$31
SEASON TO DATE: -$1719