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Saturday's Best Bets
Week 24 of the Premier League kicks off Saturday with eight games and all eyes will be on Manchester City (20-2-1), who just lost its first league game of the campaign as Liverpool notched a 4-3 home win over the leaders last Sunday.

Despite the setback, the Citizens are still 12 points clear in the latest table and most bookmakers aren’t offering future odds on anybody to rally past them for the title.

Will manager Pep Guardiola and his team rebound off the loss on Saturday (NBC, 12:30 p.m. ET) from Etihad Stadium?

Manchester City (-900) is expected to cruise past Newcastle United (+2000) and the only question that remains is what the final score will be. The Citizens have outscored opponents 39-8 at home in league games this season and that’s produced a 10-1-0 record while the ‘over’ has posted a ridiculous 10-1 mark as well. The total on this game is 3 ½ and shaded to the high side (-135).

The clubs just played in late December from St. James’ Park and City captured a lackluster 1-0 win. The result shouldn’t come as a surprise since the venue has held City to six total goals in its last four visits to United.

However, playing at home against Newcastle has been a much different story. City has outscored the Magpies 19-1 in the last four league matches from the Etihad. This one certainly has the ability to get ugly again but instead of cheering for City goals, I believe Newcastle will find the net at least once. The Magpies have scored in five of their last six away games and as great as the league leaders has been, they’ve been scored on in 12 of 23 league contests.

Best Bet: Manchester City to keep a Clean Sheet – NO (+105)
Best Bet: Both Teams to Score – YES (+115)
Best Bet: Total Newcastle United Goals – OVER ½ (+105)

The club chasing Manchester City and currently in second place of the EPL is crosstown rival Manchester United. The Red Devils (-185) will hit the road this Saturday (NBCSN, 10:00 a.m.) and pay a visit to Turf Moor for a match against Burnley (+600).

In the first meeting from Old Trafford on Dec. 27, United needed a pair of late goals to earn a 2-2 draw with Burnley at home. Including that outcome, the Red Devils have alternated draws and wins in the past five encounters which could make you lean to United for the win if you believe the trend will hold.

All of the talk out of United this week has been focused on Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez, who is reportedly headed to the Red Devils. Manchester was hoping he could play in this game but the transfer still hadn’t been finalized as of Friday evening.

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Even they though they won’t face Sanchez, the Clarets enter this game in poor form (0-3-3) and that includes two straight losses at home. Overall, Burnley has gone 5-2-4 at Turf Moor despite only scoring eight goals. Fortunately, the defense (8 goals) has been just as good and those numbers have led to a 9-2 ‘under’ record. However, the Clarets have conceded 12 goals in their last six matches in all competitions after stifling opponents to 20 in the previous 14 games.

Manchester has shown some offensive pop on the road (21 goals) and that’s helped them go 6-3-2 and their latest form as visitors (4-1-0) has been impressive. They’ve scored 13 goals in their last five games and the ‘over’ has gone 4-1 during this span.

The total on this game is 2 ½ ‘under’ (-145) and some books are holding 2 (Over -145) due to the strong defensive numbers at home for Burnley. I expect them to play a tight game but just don’t see the hosts getting on the board. Rather than lay the chalky price with United, I’d take a shot with positive returns on alternative goal line prices. In United’s last three wins over Burnley, the scores read 2-0, 3-1 and 3-0.

Best Bet: Manchester United -1.5 (+165)
Best Bet: Manchester United -2.5 (+450)

Along with the above contest, there are a couple other low totals posted for Saturday’s card and one takes place between Chelsea (-170) and Brighton and Hove (+510). The pair will meet early on Saturday (NBCSN, 7:30 a.m. ET) from The American Express Community Stadium and offshore books are listing the total at 2 ½ (Under -150) while Las Vegas properties are hanging 2 goals but it’s shaded heavily to the ‘over’ (-140).

These teams just met at Stamford Bridge on Dec. 26 and Chelsea captured a 2-0 win at home with a pair of second-half goals. Since that victory, the Blues have gone 1-4-0 in all competitions and the offense has been blanked three times during this span. Chelsea was short-handed to begin with and they won’t have gifted offensive players in Alvaro Morata or Pedro for this game due to being sent off in a FA Cup match this past Wednesday.

Even though Brighton is sitting just above the relegation zone in 16th place, it’s done so by saving points. It has eight draws on the season and six have come at home despite being outscored 14-12. It’s only lost twice in front of the locals and those results came to a pair of big dogs in Man City (2-0) and Liverpool (5-1). Chelsea is normally mentioned in that class and including the previous loss to the Blues, we’ve seen the Seagulls go 0-6 against the current top six teams in the EPL.

Despite the goal drought, I’m expecting Chelsea to continue its form against newly promoted clubs and put at least two in the net on Saturday.

Best Bet: Chelsea Goals Over 1 ½ (-145)

Fearless Bonus Predictions and Bets

Arsenal 1 vs. Crystal Palace 0

Gunners haven’t won a league game since a 3-2 road win at Crystal Palace on Dec. 28. Arsenal will get the three points at the Emirates Stadium without the excitement.

Everton 2 vs. West Bromwich Albion 0

The Toffees are in terrible form (0-2-3) but they’ve faced some heavyweights during this stretch. Neither team has a potent attack but I’m leaning home side at Goodison Park to get on the board.

Leicester City 3 vs. Watford 2

The Hornets own the second worst scoring defense (42) in the league and even though Leicester enters this game off two clean sheets, I’m still not sold on their defense. The total is 2 ½ and juiced up to the ‘over’ (-145) for a reason.

Stoke City 1 vs. Huddersfield 0

I wouldn’t run to the counter and bet this matchup but new manager Paul Lambert should create some life for the Stoke City fans at home. Plus, Huddersfield’s attack is far from scary and it hasn’t showed up on the road.

West Ham United 3 vs. Bournemouth 0

These teams played to a 3-3 draw in late December and goals have been the theme of this series recently with 23 combined tallies in the last five encounters. The Cherries have been hit or miss on the road and I’m expecting the latter on Saturday.

Chris David can be reached at cdavid@vegasinsider.com

  
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