EPL Betting Preview Matchweek 31: Blockbuster on Tap
Manchester City, Liverpool Collide in Top-of-Table Showdown
Title Race Could be Dramatically Altered
The biggest match of the English Premier League season is on the horizon as first-place Manchester City hosts a Liverpool team that’s hot on their heels. While both City and Liverpool won their Champions League quarterfinals matchups on Tuesday, it’s Manchester City that is more likely to win vs. Liverpool on Sunday according to the EPL betting odds.
Even so, Liverpool have been excellent lately, winning their last 10 EPL matches to move just one point behind the Citizens. The Reds would become title favorites if they win at the Etihad. With Arsenal losing to Crystal Palace on Monday, the top-four race has also heated up, while Frank Lampard’s Everton face a crucial week in their bid to avoid relegation.
First Place at Stake in Man City vs Liverpool
There’s still a bunch of games left but it simply cannot be understated how important Manchester City vs Liverpool is for both teams’ title chances. If Man City win, they’ll take a four-point lead with seven games remaining and they don’t face any other top-five teams for the rest of the season.
Manchester City beat visiting Atletico Madrid 1-0 on Tuesday while Liverpool eased to a 3-1 win over Benfica in Portugal in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal matches.
EPL soccer predictions heavily favored Man City to win the league but they have opened the door to a Liverpool title challenge in recent weeks. City are 3-1-1 straight up and 1-4 against the spread in their last five Premier League matches, with a draw vs. Crystal Palace and a loss to Tottenham.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have been nearly flawless on their 10-game EPL winning streak, outscoring their opponents 25-2. The Reds haven’t lost a Premier League match since December. They have the top two scorers in the league, in Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota, and the top three assist men in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Salah and Andy Robertson.
The Reds ruthlessly punish mistakes and have an all-world defense with Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip in the heart of it. Liverpool have kept eight clean sheets in the last 10 matches, but City have scored on them in seven straight meetings. The last meeting produced a thriller at Anfield as all four goals of a 2-2 draw were scored in the second half.
It should give Liverpool pause that Kevin de Bruyne is rounding back into form. He was on target in Man City’s 2-0 win over Burnley last weekend and had the lone goal on Tuesday vs Atletico Madrid. However, the Reds can match City’s firepower, as they showed vs. Benfica, and this is one that could be an instant classic.
EPL betting odds list City as even-money favorites but Liverpool are seen as the more likely to cover the ½-goal spread at -120. The atmosphere at the Etihad will be electric, but I wouldn’t at all count Klopp and Liverpool out of this one.
Tottenham Gains Ground on Arsenal
The race for fourth place is now in full swing as Tottenham demolished Newcastle 5-1 and Arsenal fell to Crystal Palace 3-0 in Matchweek 30. Level on points, the Spurs now lead Arsenal on goal difference but the Gunners have a game in hand. Mikel Arteta’s side will be hoping to bounce back with all three points vs. Brighton.
EPL betting odds list Arsenal as -180 favorites and they’ve been solid at home recently. A big concern for the Gunners heading into the final stretch is left back Kieran Tierney’s injury. Nuno Tavares deputized for Tierney on Monday but was subbed off at halftime and has struggled during his time at Arsenal.
Granit Xhaka moved to left back for the remainder of the match vs. Palace, but Arteta will be hoping right back Takehiro Tomiyasu makes a speedy return so he can move Cedric Soares over to left back. Brighton are winless in their last seven Premier League matches, and unders have been a good EPL betting tip for their matches this season.
The Seagulls have been shut out in their last three matches and have scored the league’s third-fewest goals. After a stinker on Monday, don’t be surprised if the Gunners score multiple goals against them.
Antonio Conte’s start at Tottenham was rocky but the energetic Italian appears to have steadied the ship. The Spurs have scored two or more goals in their last six Premier League matches and are on a three-game winning streak. Aston Villa may be on a three-game losing streak, but this won’t be a straightforward match for Tottenham regardless.
The inconsistent Spurs have longer than even odds to win but they’ve won their last three matches on the road. With the way they’ve been playing, and scoring, it’s hard to bet against Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane.
Crucial Week for Everton
Everton are arguably in a worse position now than when Lampard took over and the Toffees are at serious risk of being relegated for the first time in over 70 years. In 17th place, Everton are just three points above the relegation zone and have an incredibly important match vs. 19th-place Burnley at Turf Moor on Wednesday.
Burnley haven’t scored a goal for four matches but they’re not an easy side to play against. With an easier upcoming schedule, if Sean Dyche’s team are to win on Wednesday, they’ll be the more likely team to avoid the drop. That’s a big if with their dreadful goal-scoring form and key defender Ben Mee out.
The match is a massive one for both teams and Burnley are favored, at +160, with Everton not far behind at +190. Everton have the more talented attacking players, but they’re also in the midst of an injury and suspension crisis. Center back Michael Keane and center midfielder Allan are out due to suspension while a handful of first-team regulars are out injured.
On just two days’ rest following their match at Burnley, Everton then host struggling Manchester United in a match that the Red Devils really should win. There’s a lot of urgency on Man U’s part as they’ve dropped to sixth and their UCL hopes are quickly fading. With all of their problems, -125 still isn’t bad value on them.