The Premiership kicks off an extremely busy week on Saturday with a 7-game slate. With a total of 20 games scheduled over the next 5 days, each game has added weight as no team can afford to have a bad week and fall too far in the standings. We’ll take a look at all of Saturday’s games, preview each one, and give out our free picks for each. All English Premier League odds are taken from Bodog.
Tottenham Hotspur (5th) at Bolton (11th) / Reebok Stadium / 8:45 ET
After 2 consecutive wins, Tottenham has managed only 1 point in its last two matches. Despite that, the team is still in fifth place and only 2 points out of the EPL’s top 4. Tottenham has been one of the most difficult team’s to call this season, as they have looked great in some performances and completely out of sync in others. However, the one thing they have been consistent at this season is not 3 consecutive bad performances, winning at least 1 game in any 3-game stretch. That, combined with a meeting against a Bolton side that can’t find defensive consistency, should equal a Hotspur victory this weekend.
Take Tottenham at +130. I expect no fewer than 3 combined goals, so also take the over 2½.
Everton (8th) at Blackpool (9th) / Bloomfield Road / 11:00 AM
After a terrible start to their season, Everton has suddenly surged, going undefeated in their last 5 games, including 3 victories. This has been due mainly to their suddenly impenetrable defense that’s allowed only 1 goal in that stretch. While this is more like the team I expected to see all season, I don’t think they’re quite that good defensively, and they will get a huge test this weekend at what has quickly become one of the toughest places to play on the road in the entire Premiership. Blackpool is a different team at home. They are relentless, and are capable of beating anyone on their home field. Especially as the underdog, take Blackpool here.
Blackpool is getting great value at +½. You have to take that, especially at home.
West Ham United (20th) at Birmingham City (15th) / St. Andrew’s Ground / 11:00 AM
There’s no other way to put it: West Ham has been terrible this season. They have been bad in just about every asset of the game. After 10 games, the team’s Goals For is worst in the league at only 7, while the total Goals Against is second-worst in the EPL at 18. Although Birmingham City hasn’t been much better, they have definitely been better that lowly United, and they are playing at home on Saturday. This one will probably be ugly, but when it’s all said and done, Birmingham City should come out victorious.
Take Birmingham in this one at -½. Also, take the over 2½, which is getting good value at +105.
Aston Villa (14th) at Fulham (10th) / Craven Cottage / 11:00 AM
Although separate by 4 spots in the standings due to goal differential, Villa and Fulham are actually tied 12 points. Because of that, this is actually a huge match up for both teams, as win will immediately push them into the top half of the standings, while a loss would push the team down near the bottom and be extremely demoralizing. Although they are even at 12 points, Fulham has been the more impressive, showing more offensive power and potential to improve. Especially at home, expect a Fulham victory.
Take Fulham at +115, along with the over 2½ at +125.
Wigan Athletic FC (17th) at Blackburn (18th) / Ewood Park / 11:00 AM
This one should be interesting, as both teams desperately look to stay clear of the last three spots in the standings and avoid relegation. Blackburn is currently in it at only 9 points, while Wigan is just above the cut-off at 10. This is actually a great bet, as Wigan has actually played better than their current spot in the standings would indicate. Blackburn, on the other hand, has not played well, and is currently dealing with injuries.
The road team is getting good value, so take Wigan in this one at +½.
Stoke City (16th) at Sunderland (12th) / Stadium of Light / 11:00 AM
Another team looking to avoid the relegation zone, Stoke City will be desperate to get a positive result on Saturday. The team’s biggest problem has been the inability to keep teams off of the score sheet, managing only 1 clean sheet the entire season. However, they have scored consistently, which could factor against a Sunderland side that allowed 5 goals in their last game after allowing only 2 in their previous 4.
This looks like a draw all way, so take the draw at +225. Also, with both defenses suspect, take a look at the over 2½ at +130.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (19th) at Manchester United (3rd) / Old Trafford / 11:00 AM
Manchester United has been the epitome of inconsistency so far this season. This has been due primarily to their shaky defense, which looks in every game as if it’s ready to fall apart at any moment. Luckily, they’ll be hosting Wolverhampton, a team that hasn’t been able to stop anyone this season. Although Manchester will be without Wayne Rooney, they won’t miss him this weekend. Despite this being a trap game with the Manchester derby coming up on the 10th of this month, I just can’t see Sir Alex Ferguson letting his boys fall to such a weak side.
I’m expecting a 3-1 United win, so take Manchester United at -1½, along with the over 3 at Bodog.