This weekend’s picks come from the Premier League and the England Championship. This weekly piece will feature those two leagues along with my beloved Serie A, Forza Italia.
Bournemouth vs. Sheffield Utd (Aug. 10, 10 AM EST)
Line: Bournemouth (+101), Sheffield Utd (+282), Draw (+250)
Total: Over 2.5 (-110), Under (-110)
Bournemouth will host the promoted Sheffield Utd side where a high paced game is expected. Sheffield Utd’s formation has an offensive style with a back three formation. This allows them to possess and create more chances in the middle and attacking part of the field, but it leaves them vulnerable to counterattacks. It will be significant to see over the season if Chris Ward stays with this formation or changes based on the oppositions’ increase of talent. This back three will be tested in the Premier League compared to the England Championship.
At home last season, Bournemouth underperformed based on their expected to score (xG). On average, they scored 1.57 goals per game, while they were expected to score 1.8 goals. They should perform closer towards expectations against Sheffield Utd where chances will be available. Bournemouth plays an attacking style 4-4-1-1 with Callum Wilson being the target man. This style proved successful last season as he was able to net 14 goals in Premier League action. Watch for him to score in this match.
This will be the first meetings of the clubs in the Premier League. All the previous four meetings between these sides occurred in League 1.
The Pick: Over 2.5 (-110). This match sets up for plenty of scoring opportunities and should end with a minimum of three goals.
Newcastle vs. Arsenal (Aug. 11, 9 AM EST)
Line: Newcastle (+340), Arsenal (-130), Draw (+280)
Total: Over 2.75 (even), Under (-120).
The Sunday matchup will see Arsenal traveling north to Newcastle. Last season on the road, Arsenal scored two or more goals in 10 of their 19 games. They were held scoreless in only three matches. Additionally, Arsenal conceded on average 1.82 goals on the road, which ranked fifth worse.
Newcastle has added reinforcements at striker with Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton. These two young forwards are expected to increase the Magpies’ total goals scored this season. Projected to be in the relegation battle, Newcastle wants to start the season off with at least a point.
A key trend to look for in the Premier League is if the away team is favored (greater than -115), and the over is listed at 2.5 or 2.75. This over trend is hitting at a near 60% clip in the previous two seasons.
Last season’s battle in St. James Park, Arsenal was victorious over Newcastle 2-1. This match fit the above trend and cashed.
The Pick: Over 2.75 (even). I expect both teams to score in this matchup and Arsenal to net two. I would play the over 2.5 (-130) as well but there is more juice.
Match of the Week: Man Utd vs. Chelsea
Line: Man U (+118), Chelsea (+252), Draw (+231)
Total: Over 2.5 (even), Under (-120).
What an opening weekend match for the last game on Sunday. New transfer, Harry Maguire, slates to be in the starting XI for Man U and fans are anticipating his first start. On the other side of the pitch, Christian Pulisic and Frank Lampard look to make their Premier League debuts with Chelsea.
Birmingham vs. Bristol City (Aug. 10, 10 AM EST)
Line: Birmingham (+163), Bristol City (+182), Draw (+222)
Total: Over 2.25 (-110), Under (even)
Birmingham’s win was the opening week’s surprise result. They won 1-0 over Brentford where they scored on their only shot of the game. It was a beautiful header from outside of the box, watch the highlight if you have not yet. Their xG was an abysmal 0.04, that highlights their lucky win. Also, they only had possession for 24.57% of the match.
Bristol City lost to Leeds 3-1, but it was closer than the final score. The xG was 1.45 to 1.04 in favor of Leeds. Bristol City started sluggish out of the gate and it put them down a goal. Once they were able to gain their form in the second half, they were able to generate five solid chances while scoring one of them. This twenty-minute burst is a solid foundation to build upon. Given it was the first match and against a promotion favorite Leeds, Bristol City will bounce back this week.
The Pick: Bristol City ML (+182). The value on Bristol City is too much to pass up. Bristol City is projected to finish as a top ten club in the league, while Birmingham is expected to finish in the bottom four.
Hull vs. Reading (Aug. 10, 10 AM EST)
Line: Hull (+110), Reading (+264), Draw (+254)
Total: Over 2.5 (-115), Under (+105)
Hull have their first home match in the second game of the season. They are hoping to bounce back from a loss at Swansea 2-1. More consistency is needed from this side, and they can gain that form at home. They were unable to sustain pressure in the attacking third with a 66% successful passing rate (79 for 119). On the same note, they conceded pressure in their attacking third by allowing Swansea to have an 85% successful passing rate. Anticipate for these numbers to change when facing a weaker Reading side.
Reading’s strength heading into this season is their defense and that is what let them down in their first match. Liam Moore and Matt Miazga struggled throughout the 3-1 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday. They possessed the ball for 61% of the match but allowed the same amount of shots as they produced. Lastly, their goalkeeper was not impressive in net and may lead to a switch at that position after one week. Now, they will have to travel on the road to Hull City, where they are looking to secure a point.
The Pick: Hull ML (+110). The defense from Reading did not bode any confidence going forward even with the talent in Moore and Miazga. They will be without starting their starting left back as well.
First soccer posted picks. At the bottom of each article, I will have an overall recap and by league as well. All plays at (-) are to win 1 unit and plays at (+) will be risking one unit.
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