The Premier League returns this weekend after a two-week hiatus.
There haven’t been any games in the EPL since Sunday, Sep. 18, because of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral and the recent international break. And some teams haven’t played for longer than that. Liverpool’s last game was Sep. 13 and its last league game came on Sep. 3. Yes, the Reds will have gone nearly a month between league games. The same goes for Manchester United. The Red Devils haven’t played since a Europa League fixture on Sep. 15 and haven’t played a league game since beating Arsenal 3-1 on Sep. 4.
The long layoff and the clustered schedule because of the impending World Cup means that teams will be playing even more games over the first part of 2023. And for the sake of this column, it throws an interesting wrench into betting games this weekend. Will teams be fresh, even if they had a lot of players play for their countries during the national break? Will they be rusty? Maybe both?
A few of the biggest teams in the league can’t ease into the weekend either. There are two matchups between teams in the top five of the table and the other team in the top five plays Liverpool, the team in eighth. The weekend begins with EPL leaders Arsenal hosting third-place Tottenham while second-place Manchester City plays fifth-place Man United in the Manchester Derby on Sunday. Fourth-place Brighton & Hove Albion gets Liverpool on the road.
It’s a big weekend. The EPL is finally back. And it’s back with a bang. Here are the odds for this round of fixtures.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham (over/under 2.5 goals)
Tottenham seems likely to let Arsenal dominate possession and hit on the counter. A tie feels like the most likely outcome here, even if it has the highest odds.
Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea (2.5)
This is Chelsea’s first EPL game with Graham Potter as manager. The Blues have played just once in Potter’s tenure after Thomas Tuchel’s firing. Palace has just six points through six games and we’ll go Chelsea on the road.
Southampton vs. Everton (2.5)
Both teams have seven points in seven games. Southampton is such an up-and-down team. We’ll go with the Saints because Everton isn’t exactly the model of consistency either.
Liverpool vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (2.5)
Liverpool’s odds seem a little too high here, though that could be because Potter is now at Chelsea. Maybe this is a game you live bet after watching the first 30 minutes.
Bournemouth vs. Brentford (2.5)
Bournemouth got off to a rough start but has stabilized following Scott Parker’s firing. Brentford seems to be the better team, so we’ll roll with them because we’re not sure how much recent form really matters heading into the weekend.
Fulham vs. Newcastle (2.5)
Let’s go with the upset. Fulham has played really well so far this season and is just a point outside the top five.
West Ham vs. Wolves (2.5)
West Ham (-110)
Wolves has struggled to find ways to score, though West Ham actually has fewer points this season. We’ll go with the favorites here and hope that West Ham can find a couple goals.
Manchester City vs. Manchester United (3.5) [Sunday]
United is fully capable of hitting City on the counter. But is the defense good enough to withstand 90 minutes of pressure? We’d bet the under at -145.
Leeds vs. Aston Villa (2.5) [Sunday]
Villa has been less than the sum of its parts so far this season while you can say the opposite of Leeds. We’ll take a risk and bet the tie.
Leicester City vs. Nottingham Forest (2.5) [Monday]
Leicester has been a mess so far this season and it feels like a matter of time before Brendan Rodgers is fired. A tie also feels right here, and that may be enough for Leicester to make a managerial change.