Corner Picks: Best bets for the Premier League weekend as Liverpool head to Crystal Palace and Big Sam returns
Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today to bury Sheffield United now and forever. As I wrote last week, I rescinded my vow never to bet that team again this season because they were clearly cursed. But last week’s match against Southampton provided what seemed to be a perfect storm of the Underperforming Team going against the Overperforming Team. It was the Blades’ last chance.
It wasn’t much of a chance. Southampton won 3-0 and outshot Sheffield United 16-3. The Blades didn’t get a single shot on target. They are as dead as can be, and I truly can’t believe Chris Wilder hasn’t been fired yet. Not because he necessarily deserves to be, but because they’ve got to try something.
But this column will be let them try whatever it is they try on their own. We are moving on. I assure you, from this moment on, the only time you’ll see Sheffield United in this column is if we’re betting against them or on a total, and I’m not even sure I’m willing to go that far.
All odds are via the William Hill Sportsbook.
1. Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool
Liverpool is finally alone atop the table after beating Tottenham earlier this week, but Jurgen Klopp’s men hit the road Saturday to face a Crystal Palace team that’s playing well. The Eagles have picked up five points in their last three matches, though they’ve overperformed their metrics a bit thanks to a 5-1 spanking of West Bromwich Albion. In truth, their expected goal advantage over those three matches has been 4.1-2.2. Now they face a Liverpool side that has been a different team away from Anfield. Liverpool have failed to keep a clean sheet in five out of six away matches in the Premier League. With Crystal Palace’s counter-attacking tendencies and Liverpool’s high defensive line, I can see the Eagles with a few good chances to convert in this match. I don’t hate taking Palace to win if you’re feeling frisky, but both teams to score is providing plenty of value here. Pick: Both Teams To Score: Yes (-130)
2. Newcastle United vs. Fulham
Newcastle were blitzed by Leeds earlier this week in a 5-2 loss. That’s provided us with some extra value on the line this weekend. Leeds did to Newcastle the kind of thing Leeds are capable of doing from time to time. They attack relentlessly, and when it’s working, they score a lot of goals in a short amount of time. This Fulham team is not Leeds, even if they have picked up their form lately. Fulham have managed 7.8 xG in six away matches (1.3 per match), but 1.8 of them came in their first away match against Leeds (there they are again). Then there’s Newcastle, which have been better at home than on the road this year, particularly in attack (1.2 xG per match to 0.92). Pick: Newcastle (+160)
3. West Brom vs. Aston Villa
Aston Villa did something on Thursday I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before. The Villains managed 27 total shots, seven on goal, and didn’t score in a 0-0 draw. It was one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen from a team in a scoreless draw. But that’s been the case a lot with this team. They’ve created opportunities, but their finishing is spotty. Like Leeds, when it’s working, they can put up three or four goals in a hurry (ask Liverpool). But more often are the days when the finishing isn’t there, and with this team playing its second match in four days, I expect some tired legs. This will also be Sam Allardyce’s first game managing West Brom, and he’s there to keep the team from being relegated. It’s his specialty (along with, coincidentally, fading lots of shots in a scoreless draw) and the way he does it is by playing pragmatic defensive football. It’s a heated local rivalry, and one I expect to be a turgid, sluggish affair. Pick: Under 2.5 (+105)