Liverpool’s emphatic 7-0 win at Crystal Palace last weekend sent a message to the rest of the EPL that the champions are in no mood to relinquish their title this season. The Reds go into this weekend’s slate of fixtures with a four-point lead, but that advantage could be trimmed to one point if Leicester can beat Manchester United at the King Power Stadium one day before Liverpool hosts West Brom. If other results go Liverpool’s way and Jurgen Klopp’s side can beat West Brom, then the Anfield side can open up a six-point lead. With most teams playing twice in three days, it promises to be an eventful stage of the season when league positions can change quickly. Here are some soccer bets that stand out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook for this weekend’s slate of games.
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Leicester vs. Man United
Right now, second-placed Leicester and Manchester United in third are the nearest challengers to Liverpool. The Foxes are four points behind the defending champions while the Red Devils are a point behind Leicester. United, who reached the semifinals of the EFL Cup on Wednesday, is the league’s in-form team with 19 points taken from a possible 21. That includes their 6-2 win over Leeds United last weekend, which included another Bruno Fernandes penalty. Since the start of last season, United has been awarded 32 penalties and two of them came against the Foxes — one in each meeting last season. So don’t be surprised if the visiting team is awarded another spot-kick and they convert it (+350). Leicester lost their last home game 2-0 to Everton, who denied them the chance to be just a point behind the leaders. Brendan Rodgers’ side will want to make amends for that defeat in a game that should see over 2.5 total goals scored especially with the attacking talent on display.
Arsenal vs. Chelsea
Can things get any worse for Arsenal? Actually, yes they can if they lose at home to their London rivals Chelsea. The Gunners were comprehensively knocked out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night following a 4-1 loss to Manchester City at the Emirates. The pressure continues to grow on manager Mikel Arteta to lose his job, but the club is prepared to give the Spaniard more time. Defeat in this fixture could force the club to rethink things given the fact they ended the last round of fixtures just four points clear of the relegation zone. It’s difficult to know what to expect from Chelsea. After going three games without a win, they beat West Ham 3-0 in their last EPL game. Both teams’ last two matches in all competitions have seen over 2.5 goals land, which is a favorable bet this time in a fixture that often produces goals. Six of the past seven meetings have seen a minimum of three total goals scored.
Sheffield United vs. Everton
For Sheffield United, 2020 cannot end soon enough. From January to March, things were going well with strong hopes of qualification for European football. Then came lockdown and their form took a dip with 11 points taken from their final 10 games. Their form has continued to dip through the first 14 games this season and they have reached Christmas Day with the lowest points total of any club in the history of the Premier League. Two points from a possible 42 would have seen many other managers lose their jobs, but Chris Wilder remains in charge of the Blades for the time being anyway. Carlo Ancelotti celebrated his first year in charge of Everton on the day that his side was knocked out of the EFL Cup by Manchester United, but a win at Bramall Lane will make up for that in what could be a low-scoring contest. Sheffield United will hope 2021 will bring a much-needed change of fortune.
Leeds vs. Burnley
What a breath of fresh air Leeds United has been in this season’s EPL. The Elland Road club has returned to the top flight after a 16-year absence with a bang and a style of football that produces goals — and plenty of them. Their 14 games so far this season have seen a total of 54 goals at an average of 3.86 per game. That average was boosted following their 6-2 loss at Manchester United last weekend. Only Liverpool’s fixtures have produced more goals, and Marcelo Bielsa’s side faces a Burnley team that looks to be heading in the right direction. The Turf Moor club took five points from their opening nine games, but they have taken eight points from their past four fixtures. Defensively, Burnley is difficult to break down, which might lead to a low-scoring game. Leeds should have spent the week working on their defense after conceding six last time out at Old Trafford.
Liverpool vs. West Brom
Liverpool to win both halves (-104)
There is a familiar name at the top of the EPL table, as Liverpool opened up a four-point lead over their nearest rivals Leicester last weekend. But it was the manner in which the defending champions beat Crystal Palace 7-0 last weekend that made it clear the Reds are intent on winning back-to-back titles this season. Jurgen Klopp’s side was ruthless and relentless at Selhurst Park and if they approach this weekend’s home game with struggling West Brom in the same manner, then a similar score is not out of the question. West Brom lost its first game with Sam Allardyce in charge and a trip to Anfield is daunting for any team—let alone one that is learning how their new manager wants them to play. Allardyce has not had long to work with his roster so he might approach this game with a defensive mindset. However, Liverpool has too many quality players to unlock West Brom’s defense and if the champions can score early, this could be a very one-sided affair.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is CharliePMullan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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