This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
Scoring was somewhat up last gameweek, but it's not like there were tons of goals scored every match. Of the 10 matches, there were seven clean sheets and only one with more than three goals, a 5-0 romp by Leicester City. Scoring is still pretty limited and that will probably be the case for a four-match gameweek ahead of the international break.
THE WEEK AHEAD
There's not a ton going on the weekend before the international break, but that means I can focus exclusively on the four games. Fulham have come a long way and continue to be favored against teams above them in the table. Leeds are a potent side, though they also failed to score in their last three.
It's almost worthless to look at the prior result between them when Leeds won 4-3 in September, and the same goes for matchups in prior seasons. Fulham have a completely different team from earlier in the season and that's why they're favored. Their only losses since November have come against Manchester City (twice), Chelsea, Manchester United, Leicester City and Tottenham. To go with that, 16 of their last 19 league matches totaled two goals or fewer. Leeds are struggling to score, while Fulham are keeping most teams at bay.
Surprisingly, you can get decent odds for those situations, as the under 2.5 goals is -124 and both teams not to score is +100. At least one team has failed to score in eight of Fulham's last nine games, and that has a good chance of happening against Leeds, who may not have top forward Patrick Bamford available.
It's almost exactly the same as Saturday's only match because Brighton are also battling relegation and are struggling to score consistently despite playing well. The difference is that they're a -157 favorite against a team one point behind them in the table. Newcastle have actually been fine since both Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin were injured, mainly because they're playing better defensively, drawing each of their last three matches, none surpassing two total goals.
I'm not at a point where I'm comfortable betting Brighton to win (they recently lost to Crystal Palace and West Brom), so again I'll look at the total. Under 2.5 goals comes at a heavy -150, while both teams to not score is at -141. A lot of the numbers point to Brighton for a win to nil (+143), but those aren't good enough odds. If anything, taking Newcastle +1 at -143 seems like almost a freebie. Brighton haven't beaten a team by multiple goals since… oh.
Yes, the last time Brighton beat a team by multiple goals was at Newcastle back in September (a 3-0 win). Of note, that was the second match of the season and Brighton scored two goals in the first 10 minutes, something that won't happen again. Newcastle may be playing their best defense of the season and I think they'll have enough to keep this one close.
West Ham and Arsenal should be a fairly even match between two teams maybe playing at their peak. West Ham can't seem to break the mold against upper-tier sides, and that kind of leads me to Arsenal +140 to win. West Ham are near the top of the table because they've beaten up on bad teams, but when they're at a talent disadvantage, they haven't had enough. However, because I have a rule to never trust Arsenal, I'd rather look at the goals, similar to their match against Tottenham.
Both teams to score is -137, while over 2.5 goals is close to even at -110. These teams played to a 2-1 result earlier in the season and more importantly, Arsenal don't have a clean sheet since playing to a scoreless draw against Manchester United in January. They're winning games, but their back line seems to allow at least one goal against every opponent, and West Ham undoubtedly have the quality to hit the back of the net. Since this could finish 1-1, I'd rather take both teams to score. While I think Arsenal 2-1 (+800) is most realistic, a 1-1 draw (+575) has the best odds, likely because West Ham are home.
The Aston Villa-Tottenham match is the hardest one to project this weekend, mainly because Jack Grealish is still an unknown and Son Heung-Min is likely out with a hamstring injury. At full strength, I'd expect goals from both sides, but Villa have played more defensively and they've been less potent without Grealish. The same is probably true for Son, though given the form of Gareth Bale, anything is in play for Tottenham. I'd lean Tottenham because of their form, but an Aston Villa 1-0 win is in play, leading me to completely avoid betting this match.
Fulham/Leeds both won't score +100
Newcastle +1 against Brighton -143
Arsenal/West Ham both teams to score -137
Parlay: Fulham/Leeds under 3.5 goals (-345), Brighton/Newcastle under 3.5 goals (-420), Arsenal/West Ham over 1.5 goals (-345) = +106