This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
Like I said last week, wait to make bets. From the posting of this article (Tuesday) until Gameweek 20, there are still multiple Gameweek 19 matches to be played in addition to the FA Cup over the weekend. There's no telling how managers will attack the coming matches or who will be injured or test positive for COVID-19.
That happened last week when I wrote about betting Southampton before it was revealed Danny Ings was out and they were desperate enough to start William Smallbone on the wing. Wait to make bets. That's the most important thing about the busy schedule.
Of course, some of my bets missed last week even if you waited for team news. I think Fulham were the correct play against Chelsea, but a first-half red card did them in. And as usual, all of the plays I talked about but didn't mark down as "official bets" hit, namely Manchester United to win or draw against Liverpool and West Brom to win or draw against Wolverhampton. It's just another lesson in betting. Don't pick and choose your bets. Diversify. If you have a gut feeling, go with it.
THE WEEK AHEAD
A month ago, I opened these articles by fading Manchester City. Now, I'm starting by going all in on them. They're playing well, getting closer to fitness and face a team that can't seem to find an identity. Sure, the Baggies don't have to play in the FA Cup over the weekend, but that probably doesn't matter. They capitalized against a struggling Wolves squad over the weekend and will fall back to earth in this matchup.
While this game was 1-1 a little more than a month ago, Man City weren't playing as well and still dominated that match with a 26-to-five shot advantage and 77 percent possession. City should dominate this one in a similar way, which leads me to almost even odds at -118 for Man City to win to nil.
I don't trust Leeds and I don't like the odds that much, but Newcastle are in a funk and should be bet against in every match until they figure things out. Steve Bruce continues to tinker his lineup and has seemingly lost the trust of some of his players, dropping a full three points in every match since drawing against Liverpool. It's also a perfect bounce back for Leeds, who lost to Brighton last league match, as they scored five in the prior meeting. Getting them at +100 isn't the best, especially away from home, but I'll take it.
The odds between Brighton and Fulham maybe stand out the most to me for Gameweek 20. They met mid-December in a match that didn't feature any goals, as each side managed four shots on target and seven chances created. Brighton were +150 to win that match and now at home, they're +110 to win. Fulham have some injury issues, but I'm not sure beating Leeds is enough for Brighton to jump as a favorite. The most relevant stat is that they still don't have a home win this season, securing five points in nine home matches. That takes away any reason for Brighton to jump from +150 to +110 at home. Among others, they've already drawn Newcastle, West Brom, Burnley and Sheffield United at home, some of the worst teams in the league.
As for Fulham, prior to losing against Chelsea because they went down a man early, they had secured points in five straight league matches. You can get them at -132 to win or draw, or if you want a different route, under 2.5 goals is -127 and both teams not to score is -103. This feels like a 1-1 or 1-0 type of match either way, which means all of those bets are in play.
Speaking of unders, Liverpool are still being rated as one of the highest-scoring teams in the league despite scoring one goal in their last four league matches. It's easy to look at the last result between these teams when Liverpool won 2-1, but even in a match they dominated and had 11 shots on target, they needed a stoppage-time winner from Roberto Firmino. Jose Mourinho tends to play top teams tightly, hoping for a point, and that's how this match could go. That leads me to under 2.5 goals at +108 odds as one of my favorite numbers for the midweek matches.
Manchester City to beat West Brom to nil -118
Leeds to beat Newcastle +100
Brighton/Fulham under 2.5 goals -127
Liverpool/Tottenham under 2.5 goals +108
Parlay: Fulham win or draw against Brighton (-132), Southampton/Arsenal under 3.5 goals (-295) = +136