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The first week of the Premier League season is upon us.
The EPL season officially begins on Friday when Arsenal travels to visit Crystal Palace. There’s a full slate of games on Saturday and then three matches on Sunday to cap off the weekend. The final match of the weekend is Manchester City’s visit to West Ham. City are the defending league champions and enter as better than even money favorites to win the league in 2022-23.
The EPL typically starts its seasons in mid-August but the November World Cup in Qatar is forcing this season to start a week earlier than normal. That’s great news for us American soccer junkies who love to have games to watch in the mornings on the weekends.
It’s also important to keep in mind this weekend that a lot of teams aren’t going to be fielding the squads that they’ll have for most of the year. The summer transfer window is still open through the end of the month and teams will be looking to make additions — or subtractions — to their squads for the next few weeks. Teams with new players may also be bringing them off the bench or not playing them at all this weekend because of a lack of training.
Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal (over/under 2.5 goals) [Friday]
Arsenal played in the first game of the season a year ago and lost to Brentford on the road. Will the same thing happen at Crystal Palace? We’re not certain Arsenal is going to lose but we also aren’t sure we’d bet on an Arsenal win either. Something tells us Palace will get at least a point.
Fulham vs. Liverpool (2.5)
Fulham gets a fun draw right out of the gate in its first EPL game after a year in the Championship. Liverpool should win this one.
Tottenham vs. Southampton (2.5)
Tottenham is the No. 3 favorite to win the league and should start the season with a win.
Bournemouth vs. Aston Villa (2.5)
Bournemouth gets an easier task to start its Premier League campaign than Fulham, but we’re still backing Aston Villa here at even money.
Newcastle vs. Nottingham Forest (2.5)
Newcastle found itself as the No. 7 favorite to win the league thanks to the influx of money from the Saudi Arabian government. There will be a lot of people rooting for a Nottingham Forest win on Saturday. We’ll bet the tie for the heck of it.
Leeds vs. Wolves (2.5)
If we were going to bet a game to finish 0-0 this week it’d be this one. We’re not sure how Leeds will do without Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, while Wolves games barely averaged over two goals per in 2021-22.
Everton vs. Chelsea (2.5)
Chelsea should have enough firepower to get past Everton on the road. It’s a fun season opener for former Chelsea legend and current Everton manager Frank Lampard.
Manchester United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (2.5) [Sunday]
Man U (-175)
Does Ronaldo feature in the starting 11 for United? While United needs Ronaldo’s goals, you can also make the argument the team would be better off without him. The odds here are a reflection of United’s popularity and we’ll reluctantly go with the Red Devils.
Leicester City vs. Brentford (2.5) [Sunday]
Who is going to play for Leicester on Sunday? Defender Wesley Fofana and midfielder Youri Tielemans are the subject of transfer rumors. We’ll take the Foxes at home but won’t be surprised with any of the three possible outcomes.
West Ham vs. Manchester City (2.5) [Sunday]
West Ham (+750)
Man City (-275)
West Ham could play the type of soccer to frustrate City on Sunday as the defending champions work in Erling Haaland to the squad. But it’s hard to bet against City and its depth. It may be ugly but City should win.