EPL best bets for the weekend of September 2nd-3rd
Sheffield United vs. Everton
Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET
The saying goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That certainly applies here, so it’s no surprise my first pick of the weekend is for under 2.5 goals in Saturday’s early Premier League kick-off.
There were concerns for Unders bettors that with the new rules for added-on time, we would see more goals. We needn’t worry when we have sides like these two in the top flight.
Both teams have made terrible starts to the season with neither picking up a single point from the opening three games. That, of course, will have to change here but expect the struggles in front of goal to continue.
If Sheffield United were expecting a confidence-boosting win in the Carabao Cup in midweek, they were wrong. A home tie against third-tier opponents should have been light work, but they got knocked out on penalties by Lincoln City.
That came following a terrible 0-0 draw after 90 minutes. The Blades started main striker Oli McBurnie and paired new $20 million signing Cameron Archer with him and managed just two shots on target.
Everton didn’t do too much better. After falling a goal behind they eventually beat Doncaster 2-1, a side who are currently 92nd of 92 clubs in the English professional leagues.
There is no doubt about it, Everton are in crisis. They are yet to score in the Premier League this season and lost a similar relegation battle with Wolves last week 1-0 at home.
Both sides know this is a game they simply can’t afford to lose, and that fear will be clear to see once this game kicks off. If you asked managers Paul Heckingbottom and Sean Dyche if they would take a point now, they undoubtedly would say yes.
Sorry to those of you planning an early rise to watch this. Have a lay in! It’s going to be cagey, tight and… terrible.
Pick: Sheffield United vs. Everton Under 2.5 goals at -145
Brentford vs. Bournemouth
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. ET
I’ll hold my hands up. I got Brentford wrong last season when I thought they might struggle in their second campaign in the Premier League. This side continues to be undervalued. and I really like how they have gone about their work, especially at home.
The Bees have an outstanding manager who I’m sure will be linked to several top jobs over the course of the season. Thomas Frank has his side playing an aggressive, attractive brand of football and get them at it from kickoff.
They had one of the best home records in the Premier League last season, losing only twice and beating treble-winners Manchester City home and away. Having made an undefeated start to the season, Brentford will feel they should have more than the five points they do. Playing well and taking the lead against Tottenham and Crystal Palace but drawing both. The convincing 3-0 win at Fulham showed what they are capable of.
Their opponents here are in transition with a new manager in charge who is still working out his best starting lineup while getting to grips with his first season in the English top flight. Andoni Iraola has been given a huge sum of money to spend by Bournemouth’s standards, and the players that have been brought in haven’t impressed so far.
The Cherries have disappointed me in the opening games. They were really poor against Liverpool despite taking the lead and then playing against 10 men for over half an hour but still lost 3-1. Last week, they hardly laid a glove on Tottenham who will find it hard to pick up an easier three points all season.
Odds of -130 is disrespectful to the home side who have made light work of being without top scorer and captain Ivan Toney. In his absence, Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa have stepped up, scoring five goals between them this campaign already. Expect Brentford to cause all kinds of problems for this Bournemouth side who have lost 12 of their last 15 visits to London. Brentford represents great value on the moneyline.
Pick: Brentford to win at -130.
Crystal Palace vs. Wolves
Sunday, 9:00 a.m. ET
Here we go again. Two sides who struggle for goals. It has to be another Under 2.5 goals bet.
Crystal Palace lost their talisman Wilfried Zaha, who opted to join Turkish side Galatasaray on a three-year deal after his contract expired. The Eagles often looked to the Ivory Coast international for inspiration, be it with a goal, an assist or even winning a penalty.
That responsibility has been passed on to Eberechi Eze, an exciting talent for sure, but he can’t do it alone. He is also not a prolific goal scorer which is something Palace lack, having scored two goals in their opening three fixtures.
I am not convinced by Roy Hodgson, who seems to be taking the club backward again after having an initial impact last season. The supporters were critical of his pragmatic style when formerly with the club and were happy when he was replaced by Patrick Vieira.
The 76-year-old was due to leave again at the end of the last campaign having kept the club up. After agreeing to stay on for another season things once again look stale under his management.
Wolves have created plenty of chances this season, but they are another side that doesn’t have a clinical striker. Against Manchester United, they had 23 shots and scored none and only managed a consolation after Brighton had raced into a 4-0 lead against them.
Last weekend, they were involved in one of the dourest matches of the season and nicked a late winner, with the only goal of the game at Everton.
One of their best attacking players Matheus Nunes has refused to train while Wolves negotiate with Manchester City over a proposed $60 million transfer. That is sure to unsettle an already fragile squad.
In the last 11 meetings in all competitions between these two sides, an incredible 10 have seen under 2.5 goals cash. This one looks sure to add to that tally.
Wolves are never far off my radar for low-scoring games, especially in an evenly-matched contest like this featuring two teams who are blunt in attack. It just has to be Unders.
Pick: Crystal Palace vs. Wolves Under 2.5 goals at -135.