Hi, everyone, Nigel here. Before we go into the best picks for the final weekend in England, let’s break down the figures over the last 10 years on the final day in the EPL.
The final day of the season is statistically the highest-scoring weekend of the campaign with many teams having little to play for, so they can play with freedom, no pressure, and nothing riding on their performances.
In the 2021/22 season, 39 goals were scored on the final day’s 10 matches which was the highest over the last 10 years. The lowest was in the 2013/14 season when 28 goals were scored (which is still higher than most weeks).
Over the last 10 seasons (100 matches) 335 goals have been scored on the final day of the season—an average of 3.35 per game. In those 100 matches, 63 of them have cashed on over 2.5 goals, and 45 have cashed over 3.5 goals. To highlight how many goals have been scored and why overs is the sensible wager on the final day, only two 0-0 draws have featured in those 100 matches. So you can see where I am going this weekend.
Crystal Palace vs. Nottingham Forest
Sunday, 11:30 a.m ET
My first bet is on a match that means absolutely nothing to the two teams. It’s the clash at Selhurst Park where Crystal Palace host Nottingham Forest.
Supporters of both teams would’ve been expecting to be involved in a relegation decider in this one, but their form in the last few weeks means that both survive for another season, and both can play with freedom and with the pressure off.
Palace was a lively contender for relegation until Roy Hodgson returned for his second spell as manager. They have lost just two of the nine matches with the former England manager in charge, and in those matches, Hodgson has changed Palace’s system around. They are much more attack-minded, scoring 17 while conceding 11 and averaging just over three goals per game in those nine matches.
Forest beat Arsenal last week to secure Premier League survival. Prior to that 1-0 win at the City Ground, four of their five matches had cashed on over 3.5 goals.
Palace recently drew 2-2 at Fulham and also beat West Ham 4-3. With Forest drawing 2-2 at Chelsea, and also playing in a 4-3 match in a win over Southampton, this looks like a game where the pressure is off both teams, and I expect goals.
I really like over 3.5 goals which is available at +175—a lot better than the 10-year average of +120 for over 3.5 goals, and I have already had some pizza money on an end-of-season entertaining 3-3 draw at +5000.
Pick: Crystal Palace vs. Nottingham Forest over 3.5 goals at +175.
Everton vs. Bournemouth
Sunday,11:30 am ET
All eyes will be on the bottom of the EPL this week with two of either Everton, Leeds or Leicester joining Southampton with relegation to the Championship next season. Everton is in the pole position knowing that all they have to do is beat Bournemouth at home on Sunday and Premier League football next season is guaranteed.
The bookies know this; the bettors know this, and that’s why they are as high as -225 with some books to win this match—the highest odds for Everton in the last four years. They face a side to whom they have already lost twice this season and have been beaten by them in their last four clashes, conceding 13 goals against the Cherries.
The issue we have here is what motivation do Bournemouth have for this one? Judging by their last three matches, which have all resulted in losses, probably not a lot. But the money line here is totally wrong. All Everton has to do is win, and not by a convincing score line. With striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin a major injury doubt, a narrow Everton win will be enough.
The bet I like here is Bournemouth +1.5 on the Asian handicap at -155, with an Everton win by two goals or more the only way that this play is a loser. The beauty about this wager is if Leeds or Leicester are losing, then Everton does not have to win to survive. And if they are leading by a goal, I would expect manager Sean Dyche to demand that his side sit back and hold on to that lead rather than go all out for a second, leaving them vulnerable on the counterattack.
In 18 matches at Goodison Park this season, if you had bet their opponents +1.5, you would’ve cashed in 17 of those matches. Just because they “need” to win it doesn’t turn them into a good side overnight.
Pick: Bournemouth +1.5 on the Asian handicap at -155 vs Everton.
Aston Villa vs. Brighton
Sunday,11.30 a.m. ET
My final bet of the 2022/23 EPL season is my strongest of the weekend. I really like Aston Villa at +105 to beat Brighton. Both of these sides have had incredible seasons, and Villa has had an unbelievable second half of the campaign after Unai Emery took over the reins at Villa Park.
The former Arsenal boss took Villa from the relegation zone to within touching distance of European football.
A win for Villa will see them get into the European Conference next season, and that’s enough motivation to make them a bet for me. Villa have won their last six home matches. They face a Brighton side that has already qualified for European football for the first time in the club's history, and judging by their celebrations in the locker room after they made history, the celebrations will still be going on now. Brighton has had a very long season with players at the World Cup, a semi-final run in the FA Cup, and their performances have been inconsistent in recent weeks.
The Seagulls lost 3-1 vs. Nottingham Forest, were humiliated 5–1 at home to Everton, and also lost 4-1 at Newcastle. With a 6-0 win over Wolves and a 3-0 success at Arsenal, it’s hard to judge what Brighton will turn up on Sunday. My guess is that their season is over and the performance will reflect that. With a sold-out Villa Park and European football a win away, I really like the home side here at plus money.
Pick: Aston Villa to beat Brighton at +105.