This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
I was confident the last couple weeks and then almost everything went against me this past weekend. First, it was Leicester failing to capitalize against 10-man Southampton for 80 minutes and then Kalvin Phillips was a surprise absence for Leeds, which usually means bad things for them. My thinking was right in a lot of cases (outside of Fulham), but something unlucky happened in all my bets. Even Arsenal showed up and got a clean sheet against a Newcastle side that were playing well.
Sometimes things go in your favor and others not so much. That's the life of betting and it's not going to change.
Gameweek 35 is another extended gameweek as the season edges closer to the end. A few teams will be forced to have play matches across seven or eight days, meaning betting a week in advance isn't advised. Similar to the Phillips injury and surprise return of Michail Antonio on Monday, sometimes it's better to wait until lineups are release. There are times when you can take advantage of an incorrect line, but with a busy schedule and injuries across the pitch, now may not be the time.
THE WEEK AHEAD
I could start by taking Leicester City to win to nil (+133) against Newcastle, but it kind of feels like a trap. It should've hit against Southampton last week and now they get a team that just went scoreless against Arsenal. It has the makings of a late-minute goal from Joe Willock and I don't want to bet +133 against that.
Leeds are getting favorable odds against Tottenham after last weekend's results, but the possible absence of Phillips changes everything. As of Tuesday, they were -122 for a win or draw, which I'd take with a healthy squad. Tottenham looked great in their 4-0 win, but it also came against Sheffield United.
I'm staying away from taking a side in the Man City v. Chelsea match because both teams play midweek and both rotated heavily this past weekend. Chelsea won a defensive battle in the recent FA Cup final and I expect a similar result unless each plays the same squads featured midweek in the Champions League. Unfortunately, under 2.5 goals is -143, so there isn't a ton of value.
I'm more comfortable finding value between Liverpool and Southampton, as over 2.5 goals is a ridiculous -210. Despite playing to a 1-0 Saints win a few months ago, almost everyone is counting on goals between these teams even if Danny Ings misses out again. It makes sense to take the over, but with no Ings and what has been an inconsistent Liverpool attack this season, under 2.5 goals at +165 seems too good to pass up. It won't be fun to watch Liverpool blast in 30 crosses and get 20 shots off, but Southampton held strong with 10 men against Leicester and that'll likely be their strategy again.
I was set to bet Aston Villa against Manchester United and then I remembered their home form. Villa have been better away this season and have won one of their last six at home, a 3-1 comeback against Fulham. That's also the reason I'm not taking Arsenal against West Brom because they've taken two points from their last five home matches in all competitions.
Instead, if you want a boring bet for Sunday, Brighton and Wolves are the early match, two teams that have struggled to score all season. Oddly, the first meeting went 3-3, but under 2.5 goals is -165 if that says anything. Brighton have allowed one goal in their last four matches, and I'm not sure you can count on a lucky Fabio Silva goal again. Both teams not to score is -130, which isn't terrible for two of the worst offenses in the league.
I don't like making bets a match and week in advance, but that's what happens in a long gameweek. Crystal Palace have been a mystery all season and that's why I think they bounce back to beat Southampton on Tuesday at +160. The odds are somewhat sketchy since Southampton are home, and that leads me to Palace, who are due for a weird win. Wilfried Zaha scored the lone goal in the prior meeting and Southampton are probably feeling a little too confident in their defense after holding Leicester at bay with 10 men. I'm not buying it.
I'm keeping my eye on the Man United and Leicester City odds all week because I think there is some value for the underdog. Leicester play Friday and then Wednesday for this match, while United have a Thursday-to-Sunday-to-Wednesday schedule. In this meeting, the Foxes drew 2-2 in December and then won 3-1 in the FA Cup less than two months ago. They're -130 to win or draw against a side that is playing well, but they are also away to Roma and Villa the prior two matches. It's a perfect spot for a straight-up win at +255 or even a safer draw no bet at +160. Either way, this is a good situation for Leicester to seal their spot in the Champions League next season with a win.
The Everton and Villa rematch is even further out, and most are on the favorite because they just won 2-1. But as said earlier, Villa are worse at home and Everton are better away. It's as simple as that and also the main reason I backed Villa to win or draw last week. With the top six hopefully still in sight for the Toffees, they'll need to push for three points. The return of James Rodriguez would help, but I believe Carlo Ancelotti will figure things out in the rematch and get a better performance from his players. You can get Everton to win at +185 or on a draw no bet at +108.
Liverpool/Southampton under 2.5 goals +160
Wolves/Brighton both won't score -130
Leicester City draw no bet at Man United +160
Parlay: Brighton won or draw at Wolves (-265), Everton win or draw at West Ham (-155), Burnley win or draw at Fulham (-148) = +283