Hello, Nigel here with my best bets for another exciting round of EPL action on Super Bowl Weekend.
Southampton vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Saturday, Feb. 11, 10 a.m. ET
Our picks begin with a huge relegation clash as Wolves visit fellow strugglers Southampton in a massive game for both clubs. This will be an extremely tense and nervous affair and I revisit a bet I have given strongly many times this season in games involving Wolves – Halftime Draw!
This time, however, my reasoning is not just based on Wolves presence in the game but on their opponents as well. Southampton has only scored 1 goal under their new manager, Nathan Jones, a man who even though he is relatively new in post is very much a man under pressure. Their last home game in the EPL was a very poor performance in the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa where the supporters picked up on the players' nervousness and the atmosphere became very tense and negative. And, then, in their last match they offered nothing in a 3-0 road defeat at Brentford.
This fixture is not known for goals or excitement and last season it was 0-0 at halftime and the return fixture at Wolves this season was 1-0 to Wolves. That goal literally came with the last kick of the first half so you can see why I am so keen on this being a Draw at halftime at what I feel is a big price at +110!
Now let’s turn our attention to Wolves, a happy hunting ground for us this year for Draw at halftime picks. Wolves have drawn 11 of their 21 fixtures at halftime this season and that stat is stronger against fellow strugglers like Southampton. New manager Julen Lopetegui is trying to put his stamp on the team and play more expansive football and will have been heartened by their 3-0 home victory against Liverpool, which is in a terrible run of form, though, and Wolves had lost their previous 2 games before that. They struggle to score goals away from home and will defend very deep against the Saints on Saturday.
I believe this will be a tense, nervy encounter, especially in the first half where both teams will sit back and be desperate not to lose. Wolves' halftime draw has been a regular cash for us this season and when you add in Southampton, which is struggling to find the net, we have an excellent opportunity to land this pick yet again!
Pick: Draw at Halftime +110
Bournemouth vs. Newcastle
Saturday, Feb. 11, 12:30 p.m. ET
Newcastle is simply having an incredible season under manager Eddie Howe and has only lost once in the EPL. That defeat was a cruel 1-0 loss away at Liverpool where they were very unfortunate to concede in the 97th minute.
Now riding high in fourth place currently in a Champions League qualifying position, Howe returns to the club he made his name at, Bournemouth, and he will be looking to inflict a defeat on the “Cherries.” In their six away games at teams in the bottom half of the EPL, they have won 4 and lost 2.
Bournemouth languishes in second-to-last position in the EPL and look in massive relegation trouble under Gary O'Neil and welcome former boss Howe, having just lost to South coast rivals Brighton 1-0. In fact, O’Neil’s Cherries have failed to win in the last six games, losing five of them. And though he is claiming a good positive spirit, they must be lacking belief on a losing run like that!
Those six games have seen Bournemouth score just one goal, and though Newcastle has frustratingly drawn four of their previous six, Howe will fully expect his team to add to Bournemouth’s current misery. He was clearly fuming with his side's Draw with struggling West Ham and has spoken of his team’s need to be more clinical in front of the goal if they are to claim that Champions League spot. This is the type of game against a struggling team he will be desperate to claim all 3 points and will commit men forward knowing Bournemouth has struggled to find the net. Newcastle has been very strong defensively this season, in fact, they have let in less goals than any other team and that is not a stat that shot-shy Bournemouth wants to read going into this game.
Howe has many friends at Bournemouth and is still a hero to their supporters, but there is no place for emotion and he will be all-out to get the win and I think the pick here has to be to win to nil when we add Newcastle’s strong defense to Bournemouth’s awful goal threat.
Pick: Newcastle to beat Bournemouth to Nil +140
Manchester City vs. Aston Villa
Sunday, Feb. 12, 11:30 a.m. ET
On Sunday, Manchester City, under Pep Guardiola, is looking to bounce back quickly from its 1-0 defeat away at Tottenham last Sunday, where Harry Kane scored the winner. Guardiola came under very rare criticism for his team selection after leaving star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne on the bench.
I have very strong reasoning to believe that Guardiola and his team of stars will quickly put that defeat and criticism behind them this Sunday and make Aston Villa pay dearly! City under Pep are simply the Bounceback Kings of the EPL!
In the last four seasons, City has lost a total of 20 EPL matches and their response to those defeats has been nothing short of remarkable. It has been a total of 19 wins and one Draw and proves they come back hard and come back quickly, which is the sign of a truly great team and a great manager. Villa have been a team they have feasted on in recent seasons, winning all 10 of their last 10 meetings and eight of those 10 victories have been by two or more goals, which will see this bet cash for us.
At home, striker Haaland has been rampant and he will be keen to put a rare poor game against Tottenham behind him. He will be heartened that Villa looked defensively poor in its last game, a 4-2 defeat against Midlands rivals Leicester, which saw angry supporters boo them off. To be fair, Villa has improved under new manager Unai Emery and they sit comfortably in 11th place. They look like a much stronger team than under previous manager Steve Gerard and I expect them to comfortably keep their EPL status under the new boss. I do expect Haaland and City to put on a show on Sunday given their incredible record of bounce backs – and in this fixture in general – for them to cover the -1.75 goals in the Asian Handicap.
City was let off the hook somewhat by leaders Arsenal also losing last weekend, which means City is not out of this title race but they simply must not slip up again.
Unai Emery has a catchphrase, “Good Ebening,” which he says to reporters at press conferences, but I fear he will have a very “Bad Ebening” on Sunday after losing heavily at the Etihad Stadium.
Pick: Manchester City Asian Handicap -1.75 goals at -110