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Premier League Picks Week 17

Philip Keidel - December 14, 2018

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY

Pundits who dispute the assertion that the Premier League is the greatest domestic soccer league in the world had a tough week. All four Premier League teams that qualified for the Champions League this season survived the group stage and will be drawn into the knockout round.

But it wasn’t easy. Liverpool had to survive a very nervy home encounter with Napoli on Tuesday, and Tottenham Hotspur ground out a draw away to Barcelona that same evening. Nerves were less frayed for Manchester City and Manchester United, since both clubs had qualified to the knockout stage after Matchday 5. Pep Guardiola’s side enters that tournament as favorites with Liverpool close behind. United, not so much.

The midweek exertions of these four preeminent teams inform the selections this week. On to the Week 17 winners.

LIVERPOOL v. MANCHESTER UNITED

All hail Liverpool, your new leaders at the top of the Premier League table after City threw a shoe against Chelsea last weekend. Ordinarily, there would be no reason to think that boring, boring Man United could go into Anfield and get a result this weekend. Certainly the bookmakers don’t care for United’s chances, as Liverpool is 8/15 to win this match.

Conversely, United is 5/1 to win this match. That looked like a misprint to me when I saw that. 5/1 is longshot territory, and if we’re being honest with each other, it’s pretty ridiculous. United has been uneven this season, and Jose Mourinho is feuding with Paul Pogba, and United is almost certainly going to miss out on the Champions League places for 2019-2010 unless they win the tournament this season.

But this is still Manchester United, and just because you can’t trust them against Crystal Palace or West Ham doesn’t mean they are going to roll over for Liverpool. United’s last three results against top-5 teams in the league were a draw away to Chelsea, a loss away to City, and a draw home to Arsenal. Mourinho still gets his teams up for big matches.

Plus, there’s an open question as to whether this qualifies as a big match for Liverpool. You could almost argue it’s a trap game, since Liverpool’s next three league matches are away to Wolves, home to Newcastle, home to Arsenal. This stretch is brutal, and it’s followed by a trip to the Etihad to tangle with City. 

I don’t trust United to walk into Anfield and win the match, but I do expect United to stay within touching distance of the Reds and maybe even have an opportunity to steal a result (maybe even a win) in the closing stages. Take United to win OR draw at 29/20.

MANCHESTER CITY v. EVERTON

It’s not easy days for City, what with Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne both out injured until very recently and the club looking up at Liverpool in the league table. Both star men are back in training and each has a chance to appear in this match.

Everton is the club you have come to expect — consistent, workmanlike, and nondescript. Seventh in the league table, they are tied for the league lead in draws with Southampton at six. There is nothing exciting or particularly interesting about this Everton side, except occasional flashes from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison. The thing we can safely project with regard to Everton in this match is that they are going to try to take the air out of the ball. Against both Chelsea and Liverpool this season, Everton failed to score but also gave up just one goal (to Liverpool) in the entirety of those two matches. They also lost 2-0 to Arsenal earlier in the season.

This bet cost me last week when I picked United to beat Fulham to nil, only because United gave up a really unnecessary penalty. Still, all the indicators call for a tightly played match that City wins by a goal or two without conceding. Take City to win to nil at 5/4.

WOLVES v. BOURNEMOUTH

It’s “keep it simple, stupid” time with this pick. Bournemouth has lost five of their last six league matches — only beating relegation-bound Huddersfield Town during that stretch — and received a 4-0 hammering from Liverpool last weekend. Wolves has rebounded from a terrible two-match losing streak which saw them drop points to both Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City by beating Chelsea and Newcastle United in the past 10 days.

This pick is more of a selection against Bournemouth than an endorsement of Wolves, but the odds are right: Wolves is better, just by enough, so take Wolves to win at 10/11.

Good luck this weekend.

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS

Manchester United to win to nil over Fulham at 7/5: LOSS

Chelsea to win, draw no bet, over Manchester City at 4/5: WIN

Leicester City to win OR draw against Tottenham Hotspur at 4/5: LOSS

LAST WEEK: -$120

TOTAL TO DATE: -$775

Your Friday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - December 14, 2018

After inconclusive scans on his back on Wednesday, Carson Wentz later learned he has a fractured vertebra. And Wentz reportedly wasn’t made aware of the fracture, according to 97.5 the Fanatic’s Jason Myrtetus.

So it appears the franchise quarterback’s season is done and Nick Foles will take over. The best thing to do from a health and long-term standpoint is to not play him this week against a really good Rams defense. With proper rest, he’ll fully recover. The Eagles might not be in playoff contention by the end of the week so it makes sense to not play Wentz in their final two games against the Texans and the Redskins.

Could it be a reason why he hasn’t thrown the ball that far down the field a ton this year?

But with this injury that’s lingered all year, the focus shifts towards the medical staff. How was this not detected earlier in the year? Is this another misdiagnosis for a star player? The team changed head athletic trainers in the offseason with some members of the medical staff staying. Emmanuel Acho wasn’t surprised and ripped the medical staff, current and past.

I bet there’ll be more questions raised as the season concludes and as we head into the offseason. But for now, the Eagles are focused on the Rams than injuries.

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Sports Betting Updates

fanduel sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook Review

Things have picked up for NJ online sports betting. FanDuel Sportsbook launched their sports betting app in September and they, along with DraftKings, have quickly become the leaders in the space. If you want to know how the sites compare to each other, read our DraftKings Sportsbook vs. FanDuel Sportsbook post. Otherwise, keep reading to get our review of FanDuel and their current bonus offers. Bonus: First deposit matched up to $100 Minimum Deposit: $10 FanDuel

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The Best New Jersey Online Sports Betting Offers This Weekend

Christmas is just a little more than a week away, so if you still haven’t gotten in on New Jersey’s legal sports betting action, now seems like the right time give yourself the gift of great promos and generous signup bonuses being offered by the best betting apps.  And who knows, maybe you’ll make a little extra spending money to finish up your holiday shopping, or, you know, pay for a round at the bar. Either

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draftkings sportsbook promo code

DraftKings Sportsbook Promo Code: DraftKings Is Offering a $500 Free Bet

DraftKings Sportsbook has been live in New Jersey for over three full months now and a lot has changed since launch, including promos and bonuses. Here is the current best DraftKings Sportsbook promo code and full review. The season of giving is upon us and our partners at DraftKings Sportsbook are spreading the holiday cheer between now and the end of the month by increasing their $200 free bet offer, which they’ve been running pretty

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SugarHouse Casino Launches Its Sports Betting Operation

BWanksCB - December 13, 2018

SugarHouse Casino took its first sports bets earlier today, the first of a planned two-day soft opening. The casino is also expected to run a 10-hour soft opening on Friday, and if the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board gives the expected go-ahead, it will be all systems go for regular operations on Saturday, just in time for the start of NFL Week 15 action and college football’s bowl slate.

Footage of the first bets:

SugarHouse and Pittsburgh-based Rivers Casino, which also opened today, became the state’s second and third casinos to take legal sports wagers. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville opened its sportsbook last month.

For those wondering, among the first accepted bets were plays on the Chiefs, Eagles, Lakers, and Flyers. Bold strategy backing the local teams, I must say.

With SugarHouse’s soft launch, Pennsylvania moves one step closer to green-lighting online sports gambling, which is expected to happen sometime in early 2019. You can read all about the much anticipated arrival of PA online sports betting right here.

 

Your Thursday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - December 13, 2018

What a day in Philly sports.

I guess we’ll go in chronological order. It began late in the morning when news first came out that Carson Wentz might not play this week against the Rams due to back problems. It sucks that it happened but honestly with how the Eagles have been, it might be fine in the short-term. Long-term, it’s a concern when your franchise quarterback is hurt yet again. Nick Foles could start the game and perhaps the rest of the season.

Shortly after, Buster Olney posted a story that mentioned a possible Phillies offseason doomsday that honestly wouldn’t be that surprising considering we’re Philadelphia:

This also isn’t good:

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Your Wednesday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - December 12, 2018

For the first time in 25 tries, Villanova lost a Big 5 game. And it came at the hands of Penn at the famed Palestra.

It hasn’t been a good year in Nova terms after winning a national championship last season. The Wildcats got blown out by Michigan and then lost to Furman, both at home, before last night’s 78-75 inter-city loss to the Quakers.

Collin Gillespie had a big night for the Wildcats, scoring a game-high 21 points. 10 of them came from the free-throw line. Phil Booth was right behind him with 18. Penn’s Antonio Woods and A.J. Brodeur led the Quakers with 16 points on the night.

Nova nearly had a chance to send the game into overtime late on Penn’s final inbound, which went directly out of bounds. A late 3 was no good. Penn led by as much as 12.

Penn improves to 9-2 and owns the best record in the area. Temple has also looked good this season at 7-2, while Nova is now 8-3. It’s way too early to tell if there’s a changing of the guard in the Philly college hoops scene, and there probably really isn’t one, but it kind of is refreshing to see someone from the city beat Nova.

So with the win, Penn now has the longest active Big 5 winning streak at three games. Some work to do to get up to 25.

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Your Tuesday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - December 11, 2018

Last night’s game wasn’t as exciting as Friday night.

With Blake Griffin out of the lineup for Detroit, the Sixers took advantage en route to a 116-102 win over the Pistons. Joel Embiid returned from a Friday night rest with a team-high 24 points and eight rebounds. Ben Simmons also added a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards.

But Jimmy Butler left the game with a groin strain he suffered late in the first quarter. He finished with two assists and four rebounds. Brett Brown didn’t know how bad the injury was after the game.

Furkan Korkmaz also had a career-high 18 points coming off the bench, so that’s a good sign.

Up next for the Sixers is Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

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Your Monday Morning Roundup

Chris Jastrzembski - December 10, 2018

Season = over.

Technically not, but it’d take a miracle for the Eagles to make it into the postseason.

In a game which featured awful officiating, awful offense to start the game, and an awful end to it, the Birds’ season is done. Stick a fork in them. Even if they still have a chance, good luck beating the Rams and Texans in the next two weeks.

I would’ve rather had a blowout of a loss than a slow and painful one. Just give me the big blow and not beat me to the core to watch that.

It’s not the same team as last year by any means. Kevin will have more later this morning.

While the Eagles have their playoff chances fade, the Giants might actually have a chance?

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Premier League Picks Week 16

Philip Keidel - December 7, 2018

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY

In case you hadn’t noticed thus far, the margins are razor-thin in this prognosticating racket. Liverpool was up 2-1 over Watford at Vicarage Road on Wednesday in second-half added time. I had taken Liverpool to win and under 3.5 goals, and it looked like I had it right. Xherdan Shaqiri had other ideas, though, scoring during that added time and turning a winner into a loser. Leroy Sane had done the exact same thing to me at West Ham a week and a half prior, scoring very late in added time to put the number over 3.5 in Man City’s 4-0 win at London Stadium.

So the mid-week fixtures did me no real favors, but thankfully there is another full slate of matches set for the weekend. Time to get back on track with some winners. Continue Reading

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