EPL Best Bets
Hello, Nigel here with my three best bets of the last round of games of 2022! It was great to come back from the World Cup break and go 3-for-3 last week with a nice sweep and I am confident we end the year strong with these three picks.
West Ham vs. Brentford (Friday, 2:45 p.m. ET)
West Ham can be one of if not the most toxic stadiums in the EPL when things are not going well. They are certainly not at the moment with the Hammers an unhappy bunch with under-fire boss David Moyes as they sit just one point of relegation having lost their last four EPL games.
Despite his good overall record at West Ham, it is clear the fans feel it is time for a change and they have made their feelings known. When that happens in East London, things usually go from bad to worse. West Ham was very poor conceding three second-half goals against Arsenal in their last game and lacked any attacking threat in the second half. That followed defeats against Crystal Palace, Leicester and Manchester United that have called for Moyes’ to be sacked after a reluctance to change tactics that are not getting the best out of their talented squad. Unless they get off to a flying start – and in their current form I find that unlikely – the crowd will turn and the players will be under huge pressure and this could suddenly be a poisonous atmosphere at the London Stadium.
Visitors Brentford, which has won the previous two meetings against the Hammers, arrive here in much better shape and will be full of confidence. The Bees lost a 2-0 lead to Tottenham with the game ending 2-2 but still put in a very solid performance. Thomas Frank’s side’s previous game was a famous 2-1 victory over the premier league title favorites Manchester City and they sit in a respectable 10th place in the EPL.
Brentford’s games have featured goals and they can play with real freedom here knowing the pressure is on the home team. Three of their last four away matches have seen more than 3.5 goals and the way West Ham is currently defending I think they can score a minimum of one goal. If they can get a lead they may find West Ham, which is devoid of confidence, crumble. The play here is Brentford +1/2 at -120 on the Asian Handicap so a draw or victory for Brentford sees this bet cash and given the current form of both teams I think that offers excellent value.
Pick: Brentford +1/2 vs. West Ham on the Asian Handicap at -120
Manchester City vs. Everton (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET)
Everton will arrive at the Etihad Stadium in wretched form and with manager and former Man City player Frank Lampard the bookies’ current favorite in the next manager to be fired market!
They were dreadful at home in their 2-1 defeat to bottom of the table Wolves when booed off by an angry crowd. Not great preparation to face Manchester City in a fixture they have lost the last seven times the teams have met. In Everton’s last four EPL games they have failed to score and with Striker Calvert Lewin still on the injury list I see them drawing a blank again here. The last four times these two have played Everton has failed to score, so they bring poor recent form into this fixture and we should take the hint.
Manchester City is famous for attacking, free-flowing football, but they have tightened up their defense this season. They looked in top form in their 3-1 away victory to Leeds Utd this week and will be all-out to claim three points against out-of-form Everton as they look to keep up the pressure on leaders Arsenal.
Everton has been very negative in their games on the road; in fact, they have rivaled Wolves in their attempts to frustrate teams. Man City have too much attacking talent for that tactic to work here and Everton has failed to win an EPL fixture since October. It all points to a comfortable Man City win and I take them to do it to nil which has been a winner in 3 of their 4 home matches against bottom-half EPL teams and at -120 that looks a nice lock to pile the pressure on the Toffees and Frank Lampard.
Pick: Manchester City to win to Nil at -120
Fulham vs. Southampton (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET)
Southampton sits rock bottom of the Premier League and their recent change of manager has failed to change their fortunes and I am not surprised. I think new boss (former Luton boss) Nathan Jones is woefully out of his depth in his first appointment in the EPL and that Southampton has made a huge mistake in sacking Ralph Hassenhuttl and bringing in Jones as his replacement. In his first two EPL games in charge, they have seen Saints lose 3-1 to Brighton and 3-1 to Liverpool. I fully expect it to be three games without a win as they are playing an exciting young side in Fulham who I have said all season is probably the most underrated team in the EPL.
Fulham ends 2022 in the No. 9 position in the EPL and that is largely down to their excellent home form. Only Newcastle and Manchester United have beaten them at Craven Cottage this season and this awful Southampton side offers none of the attacking threat those two sides contain. Star striker Mitrovic returned from the World Cup and resumed normal goal-scoring service and he looks a good play here for anytime scorer at +110. He has been responsible for 10 of Fulham’s 27 goals this season and will be looking to add to that tally against this Southampton defense. Saints have conceded six in their last two EPL games and have lost six of their eight away games this season and will struggle to contain Fulham here.
Marco Silva’s Fulham side were very impressive beating Crystal Palace 3-0 in their last fixture and at +105 they look like outstanding value to beat Southampton and condemn them to finish 2022 rock bottom of the EPL as I make them around -120 to get the win.
Pick: Fulham to beat Southampton +105
This is my last column of 2022 and I hope I have helped you cash many tickets during the course of the EPL season and the World Cup and I will be looking to do more of the same in 2023.
Happy New Year!