Premier League Picks Week 37

This may be Eden Hazard’s last match at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea. Image via Twitter.

Over this long, losing Premier League season, there have been innumerable aggravating and discouraging beats for me. It took 36 weeks, but we finally have an outright winner for my worst beat of the campaign:

That was erstwhile “best keeper in the world” David de Gea, not only failing to catch Antonio Rudiger’s strike from about 35 yards out, but somehow parrying it down straight into the path of Marcus Alonso. Goals like this are scored at the U13 level every week — in the Premier League, though, things like that just shouldn’t happen. Especially when it’s de Gea, who wants big money to stay at Manchester United but is currently playing as though he’d rather be anywhere else.

United was 31/20 to win that match, and so that goal created a $255 swing in my results last week (not for the better.) These are the sorts of breaks that make beating the book so difficult. Maybe they knew something I didn’t; more likely, it was just a wildly uncharacteristic error from one of the purest goalkeeping talents of his generation. Either way, it was a loss. But this week’s slate has wins in it, and all there is to do now is to go find them after the jump.

CHELSEA v. WATFORD

Well, what else is Maurizio Sarri going to say? That it doesn’t matter if Chelsea gets back into the Champions League places? That would be absurd. As it stands, Chelsea has two highly viable paths back into the Champions League. The Blues currently have the fourth and final place in hand, so if they win their last two league matches, they are in. Additionally, they are in the semifinals of the Europa League. Winning that tournament would also give Chelsea a place in next season’s Champions League competition.

Chelsea’s run to the end of the league season has been as dotty as those of all of their competitors for the last two Champions League spots. Eventually, though, one of these teams has to step up and seize their place, and with Tottenham Hotspur losing again on Saturday, Chelsea has been granted a prime chance to do just that.

Watford has nothing of significance to play for in this match. The Hornets are a .500 club with Premier League safety guaranteed and with the only really meaningful football still to be played coming after the league season ends (the FA Cup final against Manchester City.) Watford are good for one thing, though: They score goals. Watford has scored in nine of their last 10 matches across all competitions. Take Chelsea to win AND both teams to score at 9/5.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN v. MANCHESTER UNITED

Well, what else is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer going to say? That he’s pulling the plug on de Gea at the very end of the season, with a Champions League place still possibly within reach? That would be absurd…especially if Solskjaer has any interest in having de Gea stay with the club.

Besides, if there is a team in the league that de Gea should be able to keep his head on straight against, it’s this long-since-relegated Huddersfield side. The Terriers have scored 20 goals all season. They have conceded 74. They have less than nothing to play for, have lost eight straight league matches and have conceded 21 times in their last six matches.

These end-of-season matches between clubs of significantly different talent levels offer rare value from a wagering perspective. Is it possible that Huddersfield will reach deep within themselves to treat their fans to one last magical Premier League result before falling into the Championship next season? Sure. But it’s more likely that United are leading 3-0 at halftime. Take United to win AND over 2.5 goals at 20/23.

MANCHESTER CITY v. LEICESTER CITY

All season, this column has stressed data and analysis as the linchpins of the selections. There isn’t room for superstition or guesswork when you are trying to beat the book. Any time you make a wager, you need to have a good reason to do it.

And yet.

I absolutely agree with the tweet above, even though it’s a Liverpool writer who put it out there. Liverpool has won eight straight league matches since March 10. Manchester City has won 12 straight league matches since losing to Newcastle United on January 29. One of these teams is going to make the mistake that costs them the league. That’s just how this stuff goes.

And this looks like the match where it happens. Leicester City beat Manchester City earlier this season and drew with them in the League Cup quarterfinal (losing on penalties.) The Foxes are not afraid of mighty City. Take Leicester City to draw (50 units) at 13/2 and to win (50 units) at 16/1.

Good luck this weekend.

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS

Manchester United to beat Chelsea at 31/20: LOSS

Manchester City to win AND both teams to score at Burnley at 2/1: LOSS

Leicester City to draw with or beat Arsenal at 1/2: WIN

LAST WEEK’S TOTAL: -$150

SEASON TO DATE: -$1,611

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4 Responses

  1. I’m kissing Angelo’s butt on social media so I can get back in at WIP.

  2. Soccer is for European fairies. Ooh, another 1-0 final score with plenty of flopping. Watching paint dry is more eventful.

  3. Another week where all 3 of Phil’s picks are wrong. Shocking stuff! I never expected him to be wrong again despite him being wrong 36 weeks in a row!

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