Soccer continues this week with Premier League games and more.
So which team should you be betting and what are the big storylines? Our analysts are here to offer all the input you need.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Arsenal is still perfect on the season and atop the Premier League standings. They face a rejuvenated Manchester United squad who has two straight wins after the horrible start. What do you make of this matchup?
Paul Carr: Arsenal has looked good, no doubt. The Gunners have the second-best expected goal difference in the league, half a goal behind Man City. On the other hand, two of those wins were against two newly-promoted teams; two were over the two teams currently at the bottom of the table, and the win over Crystal Palace was a standstill in which Arsenal just finished better. Man United has righted the proverbial ship but hasn’t looked great, getting outshot in all three one-goal wins. Rashford and Sancho are playing better without Ronaldo on the field, and I like United to hang with Arsenal in this one. I’ll take the draw at +255.
Dan Thomas: This is going to be a fascinating contest and the first proper test we are going to see for the league leaders. Despite their perfect start, I think they’ll be happy to take a point from Old Trafford. Draw.
Dalen Cuff: Arsenal is playing like the best team in the league. I say this with bias as a supporter, but there is objective truth to that statement. They aren’t the best team per se, but to say they’re playing like it I think is fair. That said, United has started to turn things in a positive direction. The Gunners will be without Zinchenko and Partey in the lineup, but I’m going to play it on the 2-way market, Draw No Bet, -110.
Surprising Brighton & Hove Albion (3-1-1) has three wins and a draw to start the season, allowing three total goals through five matches. They get struggling Leicester City, who is without a win this season (0-3-1). Do you expect the strong run to continue?
Carr: Both teams have scored in 25 of Leicester’s last 28 away games, and the price is decent here (-120). Justifying the play with numbers is tough, since Leicester is 18th in expected goals and Brighton has conceded the sixth-fewest expected goals this season. But I’ll stick with the recent history and hope Leicester can do something with its possession this time. Both teams to score (-120).
Thomas: Yeah, why not? Leicester are a mess at the moment. They’ve lost some key players in the transfer window and you can’t see at the moment where they are going to get their win from. I’m taking Brighton for the win.
Liverpool (2-1-2) and Everton (0-2-3 and in relegation zone) are not off to the best starts. How do you see this matchup going, as both are in need of a win?
Paul Carr: I’m still not worried about Liverpool, at least not for this game. The Reds are top-three in the league in just about every metric related to shots or goals, and Everton is deservedly in the relegation zone. Liverpool is going to have a ton of the ball in this game. When they met in April, Liverpool had 82% possession, the highest by any team in a Premier League game last season. This season’s Everton squad has the third-lowest possession in the league at 40%, and the Toffees are bottom five in shot difference and expected goal difference. Liverpool has been the best pressing team in the league this season, and Everton has been dispossessed in its own half the fourth-most times of any team. Even in a fierce rivalry game, this has all the makings of a Liverpool rout. I’ll take plus-money and lay the goal and a half at +105.
Cuff: I’m still a little weary of Liverpool’s start, but Everton looks like a team destined for another relegation scrap like last year. This rivalry is real and the Toffees will feel the support, but ultimately Liverpool will dominate the ball and this game. I also will take the Reds -1.5 +105.
Thomas: I think that that late winner against Newcastle is exactly the shot in the arm that Liverpool needed after a somewhat unconvincing start to the season. I think this could be a walk in the park for Jurgen Klopp’s side. I’d go Liverpool to win by two or more goals.
Kickoff is coming soon! Sign up for ESPN Fantasy Football today. Play for free
What are you looking at in the other European Leagues?
Carr: Is it too chalky to take Bayern on the goal line at Union Berlin? I’m doing it anyway, playing Bayern -1.5 at -115. Despite sitting second in the league and ranking second with 11 goals, Union Berlin is 16th (!) with only 3.3 expected goals this season. That finishing fortune can’t last much longer. As usual, Bayern leads the league in just about everything, and I think they make a statement here.
Cuff: I’m going to the Bundesliga and the Leverkusen vs. Freiburg match. Freiburg has had a great start to the campaign, sitting third, but their three wins were against teams currently in 12th, 14th and last. Leverkusen, conversely, has started the campaign terribly, despite being a Champions league team this year and annually in the battle for those spots. They had a dominant 3-0 win last week vs. Mainz to get their first win of the season. At home vs. Freiburg, I like them to win again at -112.
Thomas: Barca to win at Sevilla easily. The hosts have had a shocking start to the season, and Barca are starting to find their groove.
What is your best bet for the weekend?
Carr: I love getting +190 on a scoreless first half between Wolverhampton and Southampton. Six of the 10 first halves these teams have played this season have been scoreless, and five of them had 0.8 expected goals or fewer. Neither team scores much or takes good shots, and both defenses have been decent. The two teams rank 15th and 16th in expected goals and take the third-worst and fourth-worst shots on average, and they’re eighth and 10th in expected goals conceded. Rooting for no goals isn’t fun, but it’s worth the price here.
Cuff: I like City +135 to win to nil at Villa. The Villans are 18th in expected goals this year; you have to have the ball to score, and they won’t have much of it against City. I think City cruise to a win and get their fourth clean sheet in six league games this year.
Thomas: Real Madrid draw. They were less than convincing last weekend and were bailed out by a late Benzema brace. Real Betis have had a strong start to the campaign, and I get the feeling they can grab a point.