This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
It's a new year. The last gameweek took place in 2022, but I wrote the betting preview in 2021. A break was needed by everyone, from the club to the people who cover the league. The holiday schedule is always busy and it only made it worse with COVID-19 involved, mainly because it was unknown who would be playing on a match-to-match basis. While that's still the case, things are a bit more spread out now, even though many clubs still have a busy Cup schedule.
My record dropped in the past month (I'm blaming COVID-19), but I'll try to stay in the positive and find some more gains in the coming weeks.
Record: 57-51-5. Up $861 on $100 bets.
It's been a fun year for Chelsea-Manchester City matches which culminated in last season's Champions League final. These teams have met four times since Thomas Tuchel took over Chelsea a year ago. Chelsea won the first three, 1-0, 2-1 and 1-0 before City took the last meeting 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in September. Chelsea seem to be dealing with more injuries and I like City to win, but I'd rather bet on the total with under 2.5 goals at +105.
You can get plus odds for the under because it's Manchester City and they're always capable of scoring three-plus goals. However, they haven't had as much success against Chelsea and even if they're missing some defenders, that doesn't change the way they play, though Kepa Arrizabalaga in net is worrying. If you think Man City dominate and can score a few, 'No' on both teams to score is +100. But in that case, taking Man City to win in a shutout is also possible at +185.
I was set to take the Burnley moneyline against Leicester City, but I can't do it. They lost at home in the FA Cup against Huddersfield Town last match with a mostly full squad. I like them against a make-shift Leicester back line, but betting Burnley doesn't feel like a good idea right now. Instead, I'll take over 2.5 goals at -110. There will be goals in this match, assuming it's played.
Leicester only allowed one goal in their recent Cup win with Jannik Vestergaard and Hamza Choudhury at center-back, but that was against a depleted Watford attack. While Burnley can also be considered depleted if they lose Chris Wood in the transfer window, they're at least scoring in most matches and have already bagged three at home against Crystal Palace and Brentford. Both teams to score is at -145, so over 2.5 goals is the logical play. I took over 5.5 goals in Leicester's win against Watford and unfortunately that finished 4-1. For this one, I'll sprinkle some on over 4.5 goals at +475, though you can get +1000 odds for over 5.5.
The only way this is low scoring is if Burnley can't capitalize against Leicester and they sit back and accept a scoreless draw, a result recently seen against West Ham. The difference is that Leicester don't have the team to go for a scoreless draw. Not to mention, there have been at least three goals scored in five of the last six meetings between these clubs, including 2-2 earlier this season.
For some reason, I'm backing another team that's sitting in relegation to win. No, it doesn't really make sense. Newcastle are +105 to beat Watford and also just lost at home to Cambridge United despite playing a regular squad. However, unlike Burnley, Newcastle dominated their match and were unlucky not to advance, racking up 27 shots and 21 chances created. Sure, their finishing is lacking without Callum Wilson, but they have a fit squad and Kieran Trippier is a boost down the right flank.
The same can't be said for Watford, who are stretched thin across the pitch. Watford have also lost their last four away matches in all competitions, the worst being 2-1 to Brentford. I think Newcastle are hungry for a win and this is a great spot to get one.
At the same time Saturday, there is a bet that's almost too easy, which undoubtedly means it won't hit. Under 2.5 goals between Wolves and Southampton is -165, but you can get 'No' on both teams to score at -125. When things are going right, both of these teams want to win 1-0. They don't care about racking up goals, as they want that first goal and then coast the rest of the way. It's not evident when looking at Southampton's recent results, but when at their best, that's how their matches play out. When they met in September, Wolves won 1-0, as Southampton managed no big chances from 18 shots at home.
Wolves are always in play not to score no matter who they play, while they also have the defense to keep anyone from scoring. The absence of Romain Saiss isn't helpful, but I think this is a great revenge spot for Southampton and you could take them to win in a shoutout at +425
I had a bunch of things written down, but I'm not overly confident in any of them. Leeds have a lot of injuries, but if Junior Firpo and Patrick Bamford are able to start, they'll have an almost regular starting XI. I'm also tentative to bet Aston Villa without John McGinn. I like them, but I'd rather get better odds on a win or draw without their best player. As of writing, there are also too many injuries to bet on. Will Takehiro Tomiyasu and Granit Xhaka return for Arsenal? If not, they have some major holes even against a Tottenham side without Son Heung-Min.
Since I need more action, I'm going to bet on Liverpool without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. While they are a huge presence in the attack, it's not like Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are second-rate forwards. Liverpool's recent numbers don't mean anything without Salah and Mane, but Brentford have given up multiple goals in each of their last five away matches, including three allowed to both Burnley and Newcastle. These teams battled to a 3-3 result in the prior meeting and I'm taking Liverpool over 2.5 goals at +125. If this turns into another up-and-down game, that'll only help this bet. If you want more, Jota and Firmino are both +120 to score if you like either of them.