English Premier League games are coming thick and fast at the moment, and with the Champions League returning this month, that's not going to change anytime soon. In this article we break down the Week 24 EPL betting slate with several interesting matchups on tap this weekend.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4
Chelsea vs. Arsenal
Chelsea gets Liverpool followed by Arsenal in a pair of matches that will certainly test the runaway leader's title credentials. A win over Arsenal, and the other teams may as well pack up for the season. That's certainly a possibility, given how Chelsea has improved since that early-season loss to the Gunners, which prompted the introduction of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso as wing-backs.
There will probably be goals at either end, but the result is going to go down to the wire.
Crystal Palace vs. Sunderland
Sam Allardyce welcomes his former club Sunderland to Selhurst Park, with the Eagles struggling to keep above the relegation zone. Both teams are looking like they might go down in May, but both possess new signings that might swing the balance.
Given the lack of form and momentum shown by Palace, this could conceivably be a battling Sunderland three points.
Everton vs. Bournemouth
Everton is out of the sticky patch that seemed likely to put paid to European ambitions, but there still seems to be a concentration issue against midtable teams like Bournemouth. The Cherries may concede a lot of goals, but thanks to the contribution of mobile attackers like Junior Stanislas and Joshua King, there are goals throughout the team. A scoring draw is a possibility.
Top Bet: 3/1 with Betfred for a draw
Hull City vs. Liverpool
Logically you should bet on a Liverpool win, but there are no decent odds for that, even though the Reds' season has taken a nosedive. The Tigers, in the relegation zone, has shown fleeting signs of life but still seems like the kind of side Liverpool ought to beat easily.
The problem is, when teams can prevent Liverpool from scoring early, a frustration sets in, and a counter-attacking goal is possible. That's why Hull can take all the points if it plays like it did against Manchester United.
Southampton vs. West Ham United
West Ham, even with the addition of signings like Robert Snodgrass, looks a less dangerous team without Dimitri Payet, who has been sold back to Marseille. It's a moot point whether Jose Fonte, who has joined the Hammers from Southampton, will enjoy his return to the club that brought him up through the divisions and which he was so desperate to leave.
Both teams seems to be trying to gel in a number of new signings, and this may well result in stalemate.
Top Bet: 11/4 with Betfred for a draw
Watford vs. Burnley
It's questionable whether or not Walter Mazzarri has any idea how to push Watford further up the table, but the same thing seems to be happening as happened last season under Quique Sanchez Flores: the team is fading badly in the second half of the season.
Burnley's energy levels are not in question, but Scott Arfield, Andre Gray and company look much more comfortable at home. A draw will get you good odds.
Top Bet: 5/2 with Paddy Power for a draw
West Bromwich Albion vs. Stoke City
Stoke City will be glad to have finally captured Saido Berahino from West Brom, the England sometime squad member having been a regular target for several transfer windows.
The striker may not start against his former club, and Albion, buoyed with unshowy but good signings like Jake Livermore, along with a good clutch of recent wins that has lifted the team into the upper reaches of the table, has the potential to win at home.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Middlesbrough
Spurs, with a fine recent record that has fired the team back up into contention for second place, will hope and expect to beat Middlesbrough, still struggling for goals and wins at home and away. Boro rarely concede more than once, but equally, scoring is hard for the side, and Spurs ought to squeeze past.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5
Manchester City vs. Swansea City
Even though Manchester City is far better-resourced than Swansea, the Swans have put together a decent run of results under Paul Clement, and with both teams having defensive problems, it's not crazy to bet on a Swansea win, with the insurance a Man City Win No Bet would give you. Odder things have happened in February, especially at the Etihad.
Leicester City vs. Manchester United
Last season and the season before, this would have been the sort of game Leicester would have fancied taking, using pure pace on the counter-attack to outfox a dreary United. Jose Mourinho has ensured United rarely loses games it is expected to win this season, though, and he seems sure of his best team, just as Claudio Ranieri tries everything in order to pull Leicester out of a slump down the table.
Bet on a United win, with the likelihood an early goal would kill off any Leicester challenge.
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