We’re facing yet another incredible week of English Premier League matches and prop bets ahead of Week 4. As always, plenty of action is available at PA online sportsbooks and NJ sportsbooks. We will try to continue with the winning ways in this final week before the first dreaded international break of the season. We had yet another strong week in Week 3 and look forward to doing it again in Week 4. Onward march!
The focus here is value. Anyone can tell you to take Manchester City -550 at Bournemouth last week. And if you have $550 to bet on City to win $100, you don’t need my help anyway. Still, it is pretty satisfying that after a losing first week, these picks are 5-1 in the past two weeks. Like any good bettor, though, I won’t spend any time reflecting on how smart my winning picks were. I want to talk about last week’s loser, because there is a lesson in it.
I had Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in a 3-team parlay at +123. The Spurs’ match was the last of the three, and Liverpool and City had already posted wins. We don’t update this column in real time, but if you haven’t figured it out already, the prior results presented a prime hedging opportunity in the Spurs match. Newcastle United was +1000 to win and +500 to draw. Because Liverpool and City had already won, the parlay effectively made Spurs +123 to win when they were actually -400.
What to do, then? Well, Newcastle as a double chance before the ball was kicked was approximately +333. Given that fact, you could have put, say, $60 in new money on Newcastle to win or draw and just watched the match knowing that, whatever the outcome, you would cash. You would win $63 ($123 – $60 on the new bet) if Spurs won. You would win $99.80 ($199.80 – the original $100 on Spurs) if Newcastle won or drew. Given an original stake of $100 on the parlay, a guaranteed return of at least $63 wasn’t a bad play at all…particularly because Newcastle won and crushed the parlay.
Let’s get into this week.
SOUTHAMPTON (+300) v. MANCHESTER UNITED (-105) — DRAW (+240)
Inter Milan have agreed a deal with Manchester United to sign Alexis Sanchez on loan, according to Sky in Italy
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 27, 2019
It’s the truest case of addition by subtraction for United in finally sending Alexis Sanchez away from Old Trafford — far away, as it happened. The Red Devils are eating more than a third of the inflated wages they agreed to pay the former Arsenal man, who never fit in with Jose Mourinho and wasn’t a huge favorite of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, either.
There are other problems at United these days. No one knows who will take their next penalty. For that matter, given the manner than VAR has been deployed in the league, no one knows whether penalties earned will even be awarded anymore. The excitement generated by United’s 4-0 thumping of Chelsea in Week 1 has dissipated after a drab draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers and an unsightly loss at Old Trafford to Crystal Palace last weekend. No one is especially thrilled with United right now, and that’s why it’s a great time to take them.
United hasn’t lost away to Southampton since August 31, 2003. United hasn’t lost to Southampton in any competition since January 23, 2016 — since then, United has four wins and three draws in their seven matches with Saints. The potential for a draw looms, but the fact remains that if either of the penalties United missed in the past two weeks had been scored, this line would be much heavier. United is a terrific value to win at -105.
LEICESTER CITY (-140) v. BOURNEMOUTH (+370) — DRAW (+290)
A big W from the shootout 😅
— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 28, 2019
Leicester City kept their Carabao Cup run alive with a shootout victory over Newcastle United on Wednesday night. What I found remarkable was the strength of the XI Leicester sent out. Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans all started and played the entire match, with three of them scoring penalties in the shootout. That exertion followed last Saturday’s victory at Sheffield United. Long story short: That’s a lot of travel in a short period of time, and two difficult matches back to back.
Bournemouth was predicably undone by Manchester City, but their prior two results (home draw with Sheffield, win at Aston Villa) were encouraging, and City wasn’t fully clear of Bournemouth until the 64th minute when Sergio Aguero doubled City’s lead with their third goal, the last one of the match. Bournemouth was home last weekend and mid-week for a Carabao Cup match against Forest Green, a club that plays in League Two — England’s fourth professional division.
In eight Premier League fixtures between these clubs, there have been five draws and only one Leicester win. Leicester is not a great value at -140 under these circumstances; instead, look to the Bournemouth double chance at +105.
ARSENAL (+135) v. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (+190) — DRAW (+250)
Tottenham's last 15 games in the Premier League:
✅ Wins: 4
🤝 Draws: 3
❌ Defeats: 8
Next up? Arsenal away. pic.twitter.com/nTAJi7RIh0
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) August 26, 2019
Tottenham Hotspur’s charmed run to the Champions League final last season papered over what was a really desultory finish to their Premier League campaign. As the tweet above shows, it’s not like Spurs has fixed things.
Spurs beat newly-promoted Villa on the opening weekend, but only after trailing that match at home for over an hour and taking 73 minutes to score. Their draw with City the next week flattered to deceive, with VAR gifting Spurs the point after they were outshot 30-3 and saw their only two shots on target go in. Losing at home to Newcastle last weekend was a new low.
It’s not the greatest time for a North London derby for Spurs, especially given Arsenal’s recent form (two wins and an understandable loss away to league-leading Liverpool) and the fact that Arsenal has won this fixture the last two seasons. Spurs has not won a league match at Arsenal since November 20, 2010. It’s very tempting to take Arsenal to win outright, but the real value here lies in Arsenal Draw No Bet at -134.
Good luck this weekend.