English Premier League Predictions and Picks for Opening Weekend
Published on August 09, 2018
It’s hard to hide my excitement that the English Premier League is starting, as this is by far my favorite soccer competition out there. It’s also the one I know the best and feel most confident about from a betting perspective.
This is why I intend to share my betting picks on a weekly basis, completely free. My main strategy is, of course, to find opportunities that contain a positive expected value in the long run. The markets I like the most are the Asian handicap/spread option and the over/under goals.
The number of picks I share on a weekly basis won’t be fixed. I will post the ones I like, which means there could be only one, or there could be five. It depends on the week and the betting opportunities that I recognize. For example, this weekend, I’ve selected just two games to focus on.
Since the first matchday is this weekend, it’s time to open the English Premier League betting season, too! Before I go to my actual picks, I would like to issue a little warning.
It’s harder to evaluate the games correctly at the start of the season, which is the reason I usually stick to smaller wagers in the first couple of weeks. Once I get a good feeling about the strengths and weaknesses of each side, I feel more confident to return to my normal stakes. I recommend that you follow the same conservative approach.
So, let’s take a look at the games I like this week.
Here are the main betting markets related to the season opener on Friday.
Despite Jose Mourinho’s expectations of a tough season ahead, Manchester United is a firm favorite in this first match. The bookies obviously rate the chance of the team highly, and this is the logical choice.
In fact, I even expected the price to be in the 1.30-1.35 region, but obviously not enough people have backed United, at least not yet.
As for the over/under goals, the prices are balanced. I agree with such an assessment because I can see some arguments for both outcomes. That said, let’s take a deeper look at what to expect from both teams.
The pre-season for Manchester United is not going well, but that’s to be expected in a World Cup year. There are plenty of players who are behind schedule because of their participation in the tournament.
On top of that, others are injured or doubtful for the opener against Leicester, and the whole situation is a bit of a mess. I’m not quite sure who will start and what to expect from the Red Devils.
On the bright side, the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata have shown a remarkable form lately. The Chilean was especially impressive, and the early signs are that he will have a much better season this time around after the slow start in the last one.
I find it hard to predict who will be fit and who will be starting, so I will focus on the expected approach by Jose Mourinho.
Manchester United will try not to concede and will hope that the individual brilliance of the players up front, most notably Sanchez and Mata, will be enough to get all the points in this match. Against a team like Leicester and under the current circumstances, that would be the smart choice.
As for Leicester, I think they will have a lot of creativity issues this season. Riyad Mahrez is in Manchester City, and Ahmed Musa is also gone. Those two were key players on the offensive end last year, and it would be hard to replace them.
The club did buy James Maddison from Norwich and Rachid Ghezzal from Monaco, but I’m not sure that a youngster and a player with no experience in the Premier League could have such an impact during their first season.
On the bright side, Leicester didn’t lose any of their important defensive players and even added a couple of new guys, most notably Jonny Evans.
I believe the Foxes will mostly rely on a defensive approach and once again count on Vardy’s speed. The striker is one of the best when given space, and this is exactly how Leicester will use him.
The approach Leicester will mostly take will be to defend deep and in numbers. They’ll hope to frustrate Manchester United and try to get a goal from a set-piece or counter-attack.
I’m going with two different options for my bets here. The first is back the under 2.5 goals, priced at 1.90. Leicester will certainly defend with most of their players and try to limit Manchester United as much as possible.
I don’t expect too many risks from the Red Devils, either, as they simply don’t have enough players in good shape. Stability should be their main platform. As a result, it should be a dull game for most of the time.
The other betting market I like is related to Alexis Sanchez. For the first time in ages, the Chilean didn’t play in a major tournament in the summer. This gave him the chance to rest properly and prepare well for the new season.
He looked like an absolute beast in the friendlies and is eager to show that his slow start at Manchester United was simply the result of the circumstances. The price for Alexis scoring a goal at any given moment right now is 2.10.
He is the man in form, and most of United’s attacks should go through him. This is the reason I feel there is a lot of value in such odds.
The most adventurous among you could even try the first scorer market, where the price for Alexis is 4.50 or so.
My final prediction here is for a tight match and a 2-0 win for Manchester United.
Let’s start with the main betting markets for this soccer match.
This game is one of the most intriguing for me at the start because both teams have the potential to surprise during this EPL season. The Wolves have just been promoted but showed a lot of ambition on the market.
At the same time, Everton got their desired manager in Marco Silva, and the club is hoping to take a step up this year.
The bookies obviously struggle to determine a clear favorite, and I can see why. Everton should be the stronger team on paper, but the home advantage makes the Wolves the slight favorite in this match.
As for the goals market, I’m slightly surprised. I expect both teams to be looking for the victory and attacking with purpose and penetration. In my opinion, the prices for both lines should be closer than that.
But more about that later. Let’s take a look at the two teams first.
The board of Wolverhampton showed a lot of ambition by acquiring the Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo who was leading the likes of Valencia and Porto before that. A bold move, as foreign managers don’t always do well in the Championship.
The decision paid off, as the Wolves completely dominated the second tier of English soccer and won a direct promotion with ease. The whole club is excited that this is only the beginning, and I can see why.
Nuno Santo brought in a couple of solid players like Adama Traore, Diogo Jota, and Willy Boly in order to prepare for the EPL. On top of that, the manager was able to convince the experienced goalkeeper Rui Patricio to come on a free, which created a lot of controversy with his former club, Sporting.
Still, this is an excellent addition, as the guy has been outstanding for years and will certainly do a good job for Wolves.
I expect the manager to rely on the typical attacking approach that saw Wolves score the most goals in the Championship last season, at least when the circumstances allow it. I think that’s the case in the first game against Everton, so I could see the home team pushing hard in an attempt to start the season with a win.
Everton was in a tough spot last year, but Sam Allardyce was hired to steady the ship. The English manager is great under such circumstances and did a good job. However, Everton’s ambitions are higher than that, which is the reason Allardyce was replaced by Marco Silva at the start of the summer.
The Portuguese manager is young, hungry, and already has some EPL experience with Watford. His period there showed a taste for an attacking style, so I’m curious to see what he could do with some better players at his disposal.
That said, I’m not sure about Everton’s activity on the transfer market. The Toffees signed Richarlison, who was their main target, and the winger could certainly improve the creativity of this squad. At the same time, I simply don’t think that Everton has a solid enough defense.
It will be interesting to see how the “new look” of Everton will work out in terms of performance. They definitely have some good players in the side, but there are question marks over the balance of the squad.
The game against Wolves will be a good test. It’s a strong opponent who has a lot of ambitions and is full of confidence after winning the Championship.
I’m pretty sure you know what to expect by now, but I believe this game will be way more open than the bookies expect. I could see both teams creating chances, and there’s a solid possibility of goals here. This is why the price of 2.25 for over 2.5 goals seems too good to miss.
This is my main betting pick for this match, and my prediction is a 2-1 win for either team.
There are two other games that I actually considered this week. For a start, Arsenal seems way ahead of its preparation compared to Manchester City, mostly because of the World Cup. On top of that, Unai Emery and his players will be eager to make a statement against the reigning champions.
The prices for the Gunners not to lose this match can be found in the 1.80 range, which is pretty decent. Still, there are too many question marks surrounding this Arsenal team at this point, so I decided to pass.
The other intriguing game is between Bournemouth and Cardiff City. The host is a solid team that now has plenty of experience, while the new boys in the division are a main candidate for relegation.
The price for the home team was around 2.00, which was nice, but it dropped to 1.90, and I’m not sure if that’s good enough.
So, this is it. The English Premier League is starting, and there will be a lot of soccer and betting opportunities until May. Expect more free betting picks from me on a regular basis, and let’s hope the year is good.
And of course, feel free to share your own opinion on the games I picked or make suggestions for some of the other matches from the first round. You could use the comments section below for that purpose.