The English Premier League for the 2017/18 season is nearing it’s close and final places are looking a lot clearer. The top 4 looks well and truly set with a 10 point gap currently being enjoyed by Tottenham in 4th over Chelsea in 5th. At the other end of the table, West Brom are pretty much dead set for relegation whilst Stoke in 19th have a 4 point gap to safety to claw back. Southampton are slightly better placed with just a 3 pint gap to make up whilst also enjoying the added benefit of a game in hand on 17th placed Crystal Palace. That’s perhaps where the thrills will really come from as we close the season out and with 14 matches to be played over the weekend and into early next week, there’s plenty that can happen.
Week 34 Best Bet: Manchester United to win to Nil against West Brom at $1.57
Week 34 Best Value Bet: West Ham vs Stoke – Over 3.5 goals at $3.7
Week 34 Head to Head Multi Bet: Crystal Palace Win ($1.91), Burnley/Leicester Draw ($3.1), Liverpool Win ($1.22), Manchester United win ($1.12) = $8.09
**Odds from Sportsbet.com.au as of 12th April
Tottenham vs Manchester City
There’s a lot to play for in this match as for City it will get them a game closer to confirming the title whilst for Tottenham it’s a massive chance to not only cause another upset for City in recent weeks but also a big chance at taking 3rd place outright. Spurs have a game on hand over current 3rd placed Liverpool and with a catch-up match next week against Brighton, a win or draw here would place them well to take that 3rd spot if they can beat Brighton away next week.
As for this match though, Tottenham look the best placed to edge this one given Man City have looked a little patchy in their form in recent weeks. They’ve now lost 3 games in a row in all competitions and it’s been 3 massive matches that will likely have taken a bit of a mental hit on the team. 2 of those 3 matches saw them easily knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool by an aggregate of 5-1 whilst the other match was a big loss to arch rivals Manchester United. It means that now across their last 6 matches in all competitions they’ve conceded 11 goals and kept just the one clean sheet which was against Stoke away. If City have had a weak link this season it’s been their defence. Whilst they may have only conceded 24 goals in their league matches this season on their way to 27 wins from their 32 matches played, they’ve only kept 15 clean sheets. That’s just one more clean sheet than Tottenham and 1 less than Manchester United despite winning 7 more games than Tottenham and 5 more than Manchester United. From my perspective it means the way they push forward to attack leaves them vulnerable at the back at times, particularly against good counter attacking sides. It’s interesting to compare them t Manchester United who have conceded just 1 more goal but have had to endure more shots conceded. As a comparison, United have conceded on average 11.8 shots per game to City’s 6.3 yet have almost identical goals conceded records. For me this gives Spurs a great shot at snatching something here particularly as they trail only Liverpool by 1 for the most goals on the counter attack this season with 7.
Predicted Result: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.57
Best Value Bet: Half-time draw at $2.25
Southampton vs Chelsea
Both sides really have nothing to lose here as the Saints need a win to keep their survival chances alive whilst for Chelsea they need a win to keep their slim chances of a top 4 spot alive. The problem for both is that neither have been in particularly good form. Chelsea have won just once in their last 5 whilst Southampton have only taken 2 points in their last 5. Perhaps this is one of those games where the talent takes hold and that should see Chelsea through to a narrow win.
Predicted Result: Chelsea 2-1
Best Bet: Chelsea to win at $1.83
Best Value Bet: Chelsea to win and Over 2.5 goals at $3
Burnley vs Leicester
Burnley have recently started to find some form at home being undefeated in their last 3 including a 1-1 draw with Manchester City. Leicester have had a decent season and away from home they’ve been difficult to beat and have won their last 2 on the road. Both will have their chances but both will be difficult to beat.
Predicted Result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.55
Best Value Bet: Draw at $3.1
Crystal Palace vs Brighton
Palace haven’t been playing too bad of late and have managed 4 points from their last 3 matches. Brighton have been fair this season but away from home is where they have struggled most. They’ve only won twice on the road to go along with 4 draws. They aren’t in real danger just yet of relegation but Palace are in a must win situation to maintain their current 3 point cushion on the drop zone. The recent return of Zaha has been huge for Palace and combining that with home ground advantage should cause Brighton plenty of problems.
Predicted Result: Crystal Palace 2-1
Best Bet: Crystal Palace to win at $1.91
Best Value Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $2.3
Huddersfield vs Watford
Watford have only taken a point on their road in their last 6 outings whilst Huddersfield aren’t exactly easy beats at home. They have struggled to score goals though so if this is going to be a home win it’s not going to be by a huge margin.
Predicted Result: Huddersfield 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.63
Best Value Bet: Huddersfield to win to Nil at $4.2
Swansea vs Everton
The Welsh side have stuttered lately after their big push for survival in the earlier months of 2018. They will have the edge over Everton here where the Toffees have really struggled for results on the road. From 16 matches they’ve only won twice with 5 draws to go with it. They’ve even conceded the 3rd most goals on the road this season with only Stoke & West Ham conceding more. Swansea have more to play for here.
Predicted Result: Swansea 2-1
Best Bet: Swansea to win either half at $1.78
Best Value Bet: Swansea to score exactly 2 goals at $3.75
Liverpool vs Bournemouth
The big question for Liverpool now is how they will perform in this one after the euphoria of making it through to the Semi Finals of the Champions League during the week. There’s often the danger of stumbling when returning to league action whilst there might also be some personnel changes as Klopp looks to rest some key players. Bournemouth have shown they are no easy beats at Anfield either with Liverpool having to settle for a draw and wins by 1 to nil in their last 2 meetings at home. Expect a home win here but perhaps not by the typical margin that Liverpool are dispatching teams by this season at times.
Predicted Result: Liverpool 1-0
Best Bet: BTTS – No at $2
Best Value Bet: Half-time draw at $2.75
Newcastle vs Arsenal
Newcastle have been quite a good side defensively at times this season and with Arsenal’s focus on the Europa League, they could be in for a tough result here. Newcastle have only conceded 15 times at home this season and will be well placed to take something here. Arsenal have a pretty poor away record where they have lost 8 times this season, 4 of which have come in their last 4 matches on the road.
Predicted Result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.99
Best Value Bet: Draw at $3.5
Manchester United vs West Brom
It feels as though this is well and truly a formality result now. West Brom may play to a certain degree with a nothing to lose approach but truth be told they really have nothing to play for other than pride. Manchester United will be keen on securing 2nd place from the fast finishing Tottenham and Liverpool.
Predicted Result: Manchester United 3-0
Best Bet: Manchester United to win to Nil at $1.57
Best Value Bet: Manchester United to win both halves at $2.25
West Ham vs Stoke
It’s been difficult to trust West Ham this season and this week looks no different. Stoke will provide a test simply because they have to fight and the fact that West Ham have not been overly consistent means this could really go either way. The Potters fought hard at home against Tottenham last time out and if they can show a similar approach here they are in with a chance of taking something.
Predicted Result: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: BTTS – Yes at $1.83
Best Value Bet: Over 3.5 goals at $3.7
Brighton vs Tottenham
Tottenham were outdone by Manchester City on the weekend as they looked unsettled from early on but they have a chance to redeem themselves against Brighton here. A win will be pretty important too particularly as Chelsea managed to close the gap on 4th to 7 points with their win away at Southampton. Brighton will be a tricky customer too as they’ve only lost 4 matches at home this season but given their recent form has seen only 1 point claimed in their last 4, Tottenham may well edge this one out.
Predicted Result: Tottenham 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.69
Best Value Bet: Tottenham to win & BTTS at $3
Bournemouth vs Manchester United
Manchester United were stunned at the weekend by West Brom to lose 1-0 at home and whilst they may produce a timely response to that result against Bournemouth, it won’t necessarily be without it’s challenges. Bournemouth have a habit of being pretty competitive at times and it’s that competitiveness that will keep them within striking distance here. Manchester United have had some challenges away from home this season and they may well also have an eye towards the FA Cup semi final at the weekend come payer selection time.
Predicted Result: Manchester United 2-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.72
Best Value Bet: Half-time Draw at $2.2
Burnley vs Chelsea
Chelsea fought their way to a much needed win over Southampton at the weekend after 3 straight losses and the Tottenham loss to Man City gives them a glimmer of hope for a top 4 finish. Burnley are a mean customer at home though, particularly when it comes to breaking down their defence and that’s where Chelsea might just struggle for ideas in kicking a winning score.
Predicted Result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.64
Best Value Bet: Draw at $3.4
Leicester vs Southampton
This is a must win match for Southampton but after 4 straight losses, time is running out quick. They sit 5 points off safety and a loss here would see them need a miracle to survive from here. The one positive is they are playing a side that will be feeling comfortable in the knowledge they can’t be relegated and have shown it with 2 straight losses. It’ll be a close game but Southampton have a good chance if they come out fighting.
Predicted Result: Southampton 3-2
Best Bet: BTTS – Yes at $1.72
Best Value Bet: Over 3.5 goals at $3.45