This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
People want to see results; they need to see performance or there's no reason to believe anything I say. That's why I'm forgoing my own embargo on this article and finally unveiling my record. Through the first five gameweeks, my record in these betting articles is 25-9. If you bet $100 on all of them, you'd be up $1,929. Surely, this won't continue.
But I'll try my best.
The matches aren't slowing down, which could result in some different lineups this weekend. In some cases, that may not matter, but they are still worth tracking. While I recently hit on the Aston Villa and Everton over 2.5 goals, I probably wouldn't have written about it if I knew Richarlison and Seamus Coleman weren't going to play. Alas, that's how my luck has played out in the early season.
Going into Gameweek 6, a lot of teams had midweek Cup matches and then following this weekend, UEFA play continues on. Most notable is a ridiculous schedule for Manchester City, which includes trips to Chelsea, PSG and Liverpool in the matter of eight days.
I've wavered on the Manchester United v. Aston Villa match, mainly because Villa have turned to a new 5-3-2 formation that allows Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings to play next to each other. There's not a ton of data on this new look, so I could see this match going a number of ways. However, I believe Man United's shakiness in the back will benefit Villa at least once, and instead of touching over 2.5 goals at -175 odds, I'll go both teams to score at -125. At Chelsea a couple matches ago, Villa managed six shots on target and that leads me to believe they'll find a way in this one.
I think Chelsea should be favored in every home match this season, so taking Chelsea pk at -105* makes the most sense in this game. Oddsmakers didn't know what to do for this matchup, as they listed both Chelsea and Man City at +175 odds on the moneyline (at DraftKings). Chelsea have won the last three in this matchup, and they added Romelu Lukaku since those results (City added Jack Grealish). I'll likely consider Chelsea to win, but on precedent, I never bet against Man City on the money line. That said, Chelsea are playing better and will have fans behind them, and a beat up Man City back line won't help against Lukaku.
Norwich to win at +550.
Yep, you read that right. On the surface, this bet makes zero sense. Norwich have lost their last 15 Premier League matches. Wait, what? If you don't like taking chances, ignore this bet. Conveniently, Norwich's only away win two seasons ago came against Everton, but that's not why I'm taking them.
Everton have won early matches by scoring off the counter thanks to Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Those two are injured and without them (and Seamus Coleman), Everton totaled one shot on goal in their 3-0 loss at Aston Villa last weekend. Without their top players, Rafa Benitez has to either change his strategy or simply hope that Salomon Rondon can figure things out. I think Norwich will win the possession battle and it's a perfect spot for them to take at least a point. While Watford seemingly have their number, Norwich played well in prior matches against Arsenal and Leicester City, and I think that shows up here. The way Everton have played will lead to random upsets throughout the season because you can't live off counter attacks or 30-yard blasts from Andros Townsend. Their struggles at QPR midweek are another reason to go this route.
West Ham had the edge over Leeds in both matchups last season and getting them at +150 to win is a pretty good number. I wanted to find something that involved the over, but nothing looked good to me with over 2.5 goals at -150. This is a type of match that could end 1-1 or 3-2, but you could probably say the same for every game these teams play this season. Leeds are battling back-line injuries, while West Ham are always in play to allow goals because of how they play, even with the addition of Kurt Zouma. Instead of messing around with overs, I think I'll play it safe with West Ham pk at -120*. I've changed my strategy to play things a little safer this season, and for the most part, it's worked (ignore my Norwich ML pick).
I like Brentford. I bet on them against Brighton a couple weeks ago and they gave up a 90th-minute goal to lose 1-0. I think they're a team that fights and that's usually something to bet on. Led by manager Thomas Frank, I think that mentality will help them against bigger clubs, and while I've been on Liverpool almost every week, I'm kind of going against them here. I know Liverpool are the better team, but I think there's a chance Brentford steal a point in this match or lose by a goal, making Brentford +1 at +120 a reasonable play. That also means I don't like putting Liverpool -225 into a parlay. Liverpool could win 3-0 and I'll never bet Brentford against a top team again, but let's see what happens before I take that route.
I mentioned on last week's Kits & Wagers (our soccer betting podcast) that playing the under for Southampton's next home match should be considered and overall, it kind of looks like they figured some things out. They've allowed one goal in two home matches and just held Man City scoreless. Southampton had stretches of quality defense last season but eventually reverted to inconsistency, which is how they started the new campaign. However, with Oriol Romeu healthy and gaining form, I think that's helped him gel with the center-backs, and I don't care that Jack Stephens is injured. Throw in Wolverhampton's attack that hasn't scored in four of five matches and under 2.5 goals at -130 doesn't seem right (it should be closer to -160). Instead of taking those odds, I'll bet the NO on both teams to score at -110. These are strange odds considering there hasn't been a goal in Southampton's last two matches and there's been one scoreless team in all five Wolves matches. I noted a couple traps last week and none of them turned out to be traps, so I'll just accept the -110 and take it as it is.
*At some places, I've noticed 'draw no bet' has worse odds than a pk bet even though they are the same thing. The same goes for 'win or draw' and +.5. These are the little things to monitor in soccer betting.