Saturday's Best Bets
February 9, 2018
By Chris David
English Premier League
The “North London Derby” will kick off Matchday 27 of the Premier League as Arsenal (+250) and Tottenham (+100) square off from Wembley Stadium in the first game on Saturday (CNBC, 7:30 a.m. ET).
Based on what we’ve seen from the Spurs in league games at home (8-4-1), it’s hard to imagine the club not earning any points in this spot. Plus, Arsenal has struggled as a visitor (3-4-6) this season and the one glaring stat that sticks out is that they’re winless in their last 15 league matches (0-6-9) on the road against the top six clubs. Earning a draw would be a win for the Gunners and the tie does offer generous odds (+265).
The Gunners showed some pop last week as they hammered Everton 5-1 at home and recent transfer Henrikh Mkhitaryan has done well creating since being acquired. Also, another newbie in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got on the board in the win over the Toffees and he’s had success (4 goals) against the Spurs in his career while playing at Borussia Dortmund.
Can Arsenal break through on the road against Tottenham? In the reverse fixture on Nov. 18 from Emirates Stadium, Arsenal captured a 2-0 home win and coincidentally that was the outcome when Tottenham earned a victory at White Hart Lane last April versus the Gunners. The Spurs have only allowed nine goals at home this season in league play and that’s helped the ‘under’ produce an 8-5 record. Arsenal has been a solid ‘over’ bet (16-10) this season and the total (3) on this game reflects that mark.
I believe the Spurs will get the win in this spot but it won’t be easy and I’m going to play the look-ahead angle here. Tottenham has looked incredible in Champions League action (5-1-0) and it heads to Italy next Tuesday for a Round of 16 matchup against Juventus. Prior to the first six group matches, the Spurs have gone 3-2-1 and the ‘under’ is 4-1-1 in those games while scoring eight goals and allowing six.
Make a note that Arsenal plays a Europa League match next Thursday at Ostersunds FK from Sweden but it could be postponed due to weather. Regardless, winning this competition is likely the only way Arsene Wenger’s team gets back to next year’s Champions League.
Best Bet: Under 3 (+100)
Best Bet: Will Both Teams Score - No (+160)
Best Bet: Tottenham to keep a clean sheet – Yes (+270)
Sticking with the look-ahead angle, my next lean on Saturday takes place in the match between Manchester City (-535) and Leicester City (+1225) from Etihad Stadium. Backing the Citizens outright is a very healthy risk but it’s hard to make a case for the Foxes to earn three points knowing Pep Guardiola’s team is unbeaten in its last 25 league games (20-5-0) at home and that includes a run of 12 straight wins heading into this matchup.
The total is inflated up to 3 ½ and City has watched the ‘over’ go 19-7 this season, with a 12-1 mark to the high side at home. What’s more impressive, the Citizens have seen a combined four-plus goals in 12 of their league games and seven matches have seen five or more.
Back to the look-ahead, Manchester City faces FC Basel from Switzerland on Tuesday in the first-leg of their Champions League match. The Citizens went 5-1 in group play but the offense (10 goals) hasn’t been as explosive in the event. Prior to those group matches, we’ve seen City go 6-0 in league play and they notched 24 goals. Leicester City doesn’t scare me defensively and I believe we see the Citizens put up at least four goals in this game, something they haven’t done in their last seven games.
Best Bet: Over 3 ½ (-110)
Best Bet: Over 4 ½ (+210)
Best Bet: Manchester City Total Goals Over 2 ½ (-145)
Spain La Liga
Real Madrid (-440) has been a major disappointment in league play this season and it will try to get on track Saturday afternoon (beIN SPORTS, 2:45 p.m. ET) from Santiago Bernabeu when Real Sociedad (+870) visits as a heavy underdog. Backing Los Blancos at such a huge price is dangerous knowing the club is 1-3-1 in its last five home games in all competitions. In league play, Madrid has gone 6-2-3 at home.
Many believe Madrid will rest key players in this game for next Tuesday’s huge Champions League home match versus Paris Saint-Germain. Regardless of the upcoming match and possible poor weather for this contest, Madrid has won six straight in this series and has scored 3, 3 and 4 in the last three at home against the Whites and Blues.
The total is listed at 4 (Over -120) but based on what we’ve seen from Real Sociedad lately, it’s hard to argue for the low side. They have a decent attack and half of their league games have seen four or more combined goals scored, which is more than Madrid (eight). The Whites and Blues take chances and they are the only club in La Liga to score (41) and allow (40) more than forty goals this season.
Best Bet: Over 4 (-120)
Best Bet: Over 5.5 (+230)
Best Bet: Both Teams to Score – Yes (+160)
Once again, the dominance by Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga has shown again this season and the club has an 18-point lead headed into this weekend. While they’ve been great, the rest of the league has been called into question and you wonder how prepared Bayern will be for stiffer competition in the Champions League. On paper, they appear to have an easy Round of 16 match against Besiktas.
Prior to the CL matchup on Feb. 20 versus the Turkish club, Bayern Munich (-400) will host Schalke 04 (+1000) at home this Saturday (FS2, 12:30 p.m. ET) and it already won the first match (3-0) between the pair when they met on Sept. 19 from Veltins Arena.
Backing Bayern (9-1-10) and the ‘over’ (8-2) at home has been as good as gold for bettors and another rout is expected. Yet, the total on this game is listed only at 3 which makes me believe the Bavarian giants could pump the breaks on their offense. It’s a tad risky to lean low knowing Schalke has allowed 10 goals in their last five away games and their offense (10 goals) has produced the same output during this span as well. Despite that fact, the Bayern defense (16 goals) is still the best in the league and Schalke has seen 15 of their 21 games have three goals or less scored.
Best Bet: Under 3 (+100)
Best Bet: Under 2.5 (+160)
Best Bet: Bayern Munich to keep a Clean Sheet – Yes (-110)
Chris David can be reached at email@example.com
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