This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
As I've written the last couple weeks, teams are tired and injured, and that's leading to a lot of low-scoring matches. Instead of analyzing matchups last week, I could've taken the under 2.5 goals on every game and finished in the positive by a wide margin. I was trying to keep up on Twitter, but almost every match was hitting the under, so it got kind of boring.
There have been 27 matches over the last two gameweeks (prior to Man City versus Southampton) and 21 were under 2.5 goals. Two of the matches that didn't hit were Manchester City matches, which should probably be excused because of how dominant they've been.
The schedule kind of lightens up for bottom-tier teams in the coming weeks, but there are still UEFA matches midweek, which will keep teams busy ahead of the international break. Until the break, I'll probably stick with the under strategy and hope teams don't suddenly go all out and score multiple goals in every match.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Gameweek 28 is the return of a Friday-to-Monday schedule because there aren't multiple midweek league matches. The gameweek opens with two teams battling massive injuries, as Jack Grealish is a doubt to play, while Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin are out. When both teams were healthy earlier in the season, Villa won 2-0 and Newcastle never looked too threatening with just one shot on target.
There have been three goals scored in Villa's last four home matches, while 16 have been scored in Newcastle's last five at home. The only way this match hits the over is if Villa go off and I can't see that happening unless Grealish starts. Under 2.5 goals is at -132, while both teams not to score is -115. I prefer both teams not to score because the odds are better and because Villa have three clean sheets in their last four away trips.
The antidote against Leeds this season has often been a team that prefers to control the match and possession, which is what Chelsea have been doing under Thomas Tuchel. I like them at -139 to win, as well as +205 to win to nil. Leeds love to pressure and score, but as long as Chelsea don't make a mistake in the back, a clean sheet is possible. Leeds have been held scoreless in three of their last four matches.
West Brom's new strategy has been to play for scoreless draws and hope to grab a goal off the counter, and that's how they beat Brighton and stole a point against Manchester United. Instead of taking under 2.5 goals at -159, West Brom to win or draw is -130, slightly better odds.
I like Fulham and they've probably been one of my more profitable teams to back this season, but I can't go against Man City, especially when you can get +112 to win to nil. City took the first meeting 2-0 and the main reason for this bet is because Fulham have struggled to score all season. They have five goals in their last seven matches, and this has another win to nil written all over it for City.
Arsenal and Tottenham are two teams in which the unders haven't consistently hit in recent weeks. Arsenal seem to allow at least one goal to everyone, while Tottenham are pouring on goals against weak competition, beating Burnley, Fulham and Crystal Palace in their last three. The prior meeting was a 2-0 Spurs win, but I think both teams will go for goals and tired legs following midweek UEL matches could help, depending on rotations. Over 2.5 goals is at -122, while betting both teams to score is a heavy -157.
West Ham continue to be underrated against the big clubs, and this is the perfect matchup to capitalize. Man United are on a high after winning the Manchester derby, but prior to that, they had drawn four of five league matches. West Ham are undefeated in league play since December outside of losses to Liverpool and Man City. When these teams met in the FA Cup a month ago, Man United needed an extra-time goal to break a scoreless draw. This leads me to West Ham draw no bet at +230 or win or draw at +100. It's at Old Trafford, so I'm kind of tentative, but the Red Devils recently lost to Sheffield United there.
The odds are dropping on Liverpool, but you can still get Wolverhampton win or draw at +102 at home. The last time Liverpool played RB Leipzig midweek, they lost the Merseyside derby 2-0 the following match.
Aston Villa/Newcastle both teams won't score -115
Chelsea to win to nil against Leeds +205
Manchester City to win to nil against Fulham +112
Arsenal and Tottenham over 2.5 goals -122
Parlay: Crystal Palace/West Brom under 2.5 goals (-159), Everton/Burnley under 2.5 goals (-129) = +190