Just two matchdays are remaining in the Premier League season, and after 36 weeks, we may finally have some answers at the top of the table.
Manchester City had a commanding nine-point lead just a few weeks ago, but it evaporated as quickly as it opened as Liverpool stormed back within a point of the Sky Blues. But barring a major upset, City will be celebrating a title for the second-straight year and fifth in the last five seasons. This is all thanks to Liverpool drawing Tottenham 1-1 last week, an important point for the Spurs but an even more important lack of three points for the Reds.
That result takes a ton of intrigue out of the race for the trophy, but there are still plenty of positions to play for up and down the league. Here are my two favorite bets for the second-to-last weekend of English soccer.
Tottenham Hotspur to Win to Nil (+115; BetMGM)
Our favorite wager as we head down the season stretch – to win to nil. We’ve hit three of the last four of these over the previous few weeks, so why not go for four of five?
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the market is far off on this line. Tottenham has no reason to be +115 to tally a shutout victory over a terrible Burnley team. But we’re not going to complain; we’re going to take advantage. Play this line all the way down to +105.
I touched on Spurs in the open; they’re coming off an enormous win for two reasons. Reason one is that they look to have locked up a Europa bid and are within four points of stealing a Champions League seat from Arsenal. But reason two is they might have just prevented Liverpool from contending for the title, and who doesn’t love to play spoiler? Spirits will be high on the Tottenham side, and they’ll be playing an inferior Burnley team with momentum on their side.
As for Burnley, they’re technically safe from relegation for the time being, but they’re tied in points with 18th-place Leeds United. So they’re safe, but they’re safe on a tiebreaker. That means they need any points they can get their hands on, and I expect them to play a very reserved style in this one. There were very few attacks, and every attempt to pack it in defensively and keep the ball out of their net. On the surface, this seems like it could be an issue if we need Tottenham to score, but Spurs have scored four times over their last two matches and 29 times over their previous 11 matches. They’ll have no problem sneaking one past a team fighting for its Premier League lives.
And don’t forget, only one team has scored fewer goals this season than Burnley, and that’s last place Norwich City. With just 32 goals in 34 matches, the Clarets are one of just three teams averaging fewer than a goal per game. With tons to play for on the Tottenham side, I expect maximum effort against a team they’re expected to take three points from.
Aston Villa / Crystal Palace Under 2.5 (-120; DraftKings)
As I mentioned in the open, just because the title is close to being locked up doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton to play for up-and-down the Premier League. Ironically, we’ve landed on one of the only games this weekend where neither team has anything to play for. A perfect recipe for an under.
Let’s start with Aston Villa. They’re 11th in the table, and sure, no team wants to finish lower than expected, and every slot matters to ownership, but there’s no prize for 10th place and no consequence for finishing 13th. The players know that, the fans know that, and the managers know that. It’s hard to see a team like Villa being overly motivated here, especially after a mid-week match against Liverpool. They also haven’t scored many goals against teams above the relegation zone, netting just two over the last five matches against teams in the EPL next year. What’s more – they’ve only allowed a single goal over their last three matches and seem to have settled into a defensive tactic.
On the other side, Crystal Palace is in the same position as Aston Villa. They’re in 10th, and there isn’t much motivation to be found. Palace has allowed only two goals in their last four matches and has only scored three in that span. These two sides are also very evenly matched on both halves of the pitch, making this a game primed for low events.
Palace is seventh in goals allowed while Villa is 10th, and Villa is ninth in scoring, with Palace right behind them in 10th. This match won’t attract much action, so I don’t expect the line to move much. However, if it does, -125 is my limit.
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