I come into the 15th round of fixtures with a 43-33-6 record for +11.24 units of profit on the season. It’s been a fantastic start to the campaign for both myself and @Squidspicks where our new Podcast (@BlokerJokerPod) has consistently stayed up over 25 units of profit this season!
It’s been a lot of fun, there’s been a lot of banter and now we approach the time of the season where fixtures come thick and fast. To put this into context, most teams will be playing anywhere from 6-7 matches this month. Liverpool will most likely play 9 matches in the month of December in 4 different competitions! This is where the Premier League continues to ooze drama more than any other league in Football. We can’t get enough of it! There are just 22 days from boxing day!
What a time to be alive.
Despite that, we must remember – this league is a marathon, not a sprint. With so many fixtures approaching, I’ll be keeping things lighter than normal in the month of December. Here are my picks and leans for 12/4-12/6. As always, best of luck if you decide to tail and please support the Bloker Joker Podcast (available on iTunes & Spotify) as well as Pub Sports Radio (Easy to use app for your iPhone & Android) by subscribing. Our goal has always been to entertain and put a couple extra bucks in your back pocket. Hopefully, some of these plays can help steer you in the right direction!
Crystal Palace (+112) vs Bournemouth (+245) O/U 2.5
The battle of 11th vs 12th starts us off this week. Have Bournemouth found their goal-scoring boots again? Can Crystal Palace perform at home like they have been on the road? This is a tough match to call from a side perspective. Crystal Palace is a fantastic counter-attacking side with the likes of Zaha & Townsend but struggles when playing on the front foot. Bournemouth have scored 5 goals in their last 4 matches but have lost 3 straight after the nice home win against Manchester United. They’ve won 1 in their last 9! I think that Palace is the better side and can turn a corner this season if Zaha can regain his form (2 in his last 2). I really liked what I saw from Palace last week on the road at Turf Moor where they completely dominated Burnley. 7 of the last 9 Bournemouth away matches have seen both teams score. Over 2.5 goals have been seen in 8 of Bournemouth’s last 10 away matches in the Premier League. Put it all together and we have 2 bets for this match. However, I’ll be keeping things light in the month of December with so many fixtures occurring.
My 2 (half unit) plays: 1. Crystal Palace to win (+112) 2. Both teams to score (-120)
*If you’re feeling frisky you can combine those and get odds of +350
Burnley (+1050) vs Manchester City (-400) O/U 3.25
Manchester City are a side I find very tough to get involved with. Not a ton of value with any of their matches. Manchester City are undefeated in their last 8 matches against Burnley. City probably roll here but this defense is something to bet against. Without Laporte in defense, I have no interest in City. I’ve said repeatedly on the podcast: Otamendi? Stones? Fernandinho? Yes, please! This side will concede goals. Hence, their last 7 matches have seen both teams score. Newcastle and Burnley are similar squads to me and Newcastle put up 2 at home. The last 3 matches between these teams, the goal difference is 16 to 0 to City. I’m going against the grain here and I think Burnley nick one.
Half Unit Play: Both Teams to Score (-110)
Leicester City (-286) vs Watford (+800) O/U 2.75
The Foxes are firing on all cylinders. You won’t see me stepping in front of this side right now. They look to be Liverpool’s title challengers at the moment, don’t they? The deadly combination of Jamie Vardy and James Madison are the 7th best scoring pair right now in Europe’s Top 5 leagues with 17 goals. Watford were unfortunate at the weekend and deserved to scrap at least a point against Southampton. Immediately after the match, Watford sacked Quique Sanchez Flores and hired Chris Hughton (Brighton’s former Manager). I think that was a decent hire but Hughton will see it difficult to keep Watford afloat this season after such a porous start to the campaign. Leicester will take care of business here but by how much? The oddsmakers have taken notice and I think they are a bit overpriced right now. For that reason, I’m passing.
Lean: Leicester City & the Under 4.5 goals -147
Man United (PK -104) vs Tottenham (PK -115) O/U 2.5
You like drama? We’ve got some here. Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford, the place that saw him sacked. After the sacking, Jose decided to take some time off and I think it’s cleared his head a bit. Is this the new and improved Jose Mourinho? Only time will tell but I can’t go against them here. He’s started out with 3 consecutive wins including an impressive come from behind victory against Olympiakos in the Champions League. Normally, you think of Mourinho sides with a lot of defensive stability. It’s been anything but thus far. We’ve seen 16 goals in his first 3 matches! Is this one of those games where it doesn’t live up to the billing in terms of goals? It kind of feels like this will be a cagey match but I don’t trust Tottenham’s back 4 completely. United’s midfield has looked lost without Scott McTominay in recent weeks and that is where this battle will be won. It’s tough to go against United at home where they are unbeaten in their last 8 at Old Trafford. This is a must-watch match and I think there are a couple of nice betting angles here. I just can’t see Jose Mourinho walking off this pitch as a loser. I’ve been riding them the last few matches and will continue that here. I wouldn’t be shocked if we get our money back from a draw but give me the better Manager, midfield and front 3.
My Play (1 Unit): Tottenham PK -115
Wolves (-132) vs West Ham (+390) O/U 2.5
Easy match for me to pass on. I’m not laying over -130 with Wolves. I think they are slightly the better side and are at home but the impressive West Ham road victory at Chelsea last week is keeping me off this one. I can easily see a 1-1 here.
Lean: Draw +265
Chelsea (-375) vs Aston Villa (+950) O/U 3.5
Chelsea without their top talisman in Tammy Abraham looked dreadful at the weekend with a disastrous home loss to West Ham in a London Derby. I’ve been so impressed with the young striker this season and he’s a big miss if he can’t go on Wednesday. I think they are facing a side that can cause them similar problems as West Ham did. Jack Grealish completely bossed the match at Old Trafford. Cody and I have been a big fan of this Villa side from the get-go. 9 of Aston Villa’s last 11 games have seen both teams score. I think Grealish and company nick one and I think this one is decided late and for that reason, I’m happy to ride with Villa on the Asian Handicap here as well.
My 2 (half unit) plays: 1. Aston Villa +1.5 (+110) 2. Both Teams to Score (-130)
Southampton (-134) vs Norwich City (+335) O/U 3
At first glance, I wanted to find a way to back Southampton here. Norwich have been in dreaded form until their last 2 matches where they impressively went on the road to defeat Everton 2-0 and drew 2-2 with Arsenal. My problem is Southampton have won just 1 of 9 at home! Not what you’d expect from a Ralph Hussenhuttl side. So, then I looked towards the goals market and this is where the stars align. Of their 12 most recent home EPL matches, Southampton has seen 11 of those have both teams score. There have been over 2.5 goals in 10 of Southampton’s last 11 in all comps. Norwich have conceded 2+ goals in 10 of their last 12 matches in the EPL. I do think Southampton grab the 3 points but those kinds of trends made this a lot easier for me.
My (half unit) play: Both Teams to Score & the O2.5 goals (-110)
Liverpool (-278) vs Everton (+750) O/U 3
The last of the Wednesday matches will have me glued to the Tele. Liverpool start their hectic December schedule at Anfield. Another fantastic Merseyside Derby is on the cards and it’s a big one. Last December, when these 2 teams faced, the legend of Divock Origi was born. The 96th-minute winner from Origi was remarkable after Virgil Van Dijk Scuffed his shot off the bar right into Origi’s lap. I listened to this goal with the Titanic music probably 25 times. Then Origi went on to continue his late-game heroics against Barcelona (UCL Semi) and Tottenham (UCL Final). This match is always tough to call. It always seems to be a cagey affair. Everton has covered the Asian Handicap in their last 4 meetings against Liverpool. They were the ones who really halted Liverpool’s 2018-19 Title Challenge in March with a 0-0 draw. 4 of the last 5 matches between the 2 have seen under 2.5 goals. On the other hand, Liverpool haven’t kept a clean sheet at home this season! There have been over 2.5 goals in Everton’s last 3 away matches. So, what gives? Can Liverpool finally slap their little brother around? I’ll side with another cagey affair in this classic derby.
My 2 (half unit) plays: 1. Under 3 goals (-115) 2. Liverpool & the U4.5 goals (-135)
Sheffield United (-118) vs Newcastle United (+370) O/U 2
Sheffield has probably the best story going thus far in the EPL. Chris Wilder’s side are unbeaten in 29 of their last 34 dating back to their days in the Championship. Newcastle are starting to hit a nice patch of form after netting a nice 2-2 draw vs Manchester City last week and collecting 7 pts from their last 4. I really wanted to initially pull the trigger on the big priced dog in Newcastle. I think Newcastle is the better side at almost every position but I can’t go against Chris Wilder right now. This is a collective group vs a side with more individual skill. This price is just insane to me, I feel like Sheffield should be priced around +130 here. For that reason, I’m off this match entirely.
Lean: Newcastle +0.5 (+100) & U2 goals (+114)
Arsenal (-175) vs Brighton & Hove Albion (+460) O/U 3
I was disappointed to see Arsenal come out and draw at Norwich last weekend following the Unai Emery sacking. Top 4 dreams look to be a thing of the past at the Emirates. There is no spine with this side, there is no steel. Their back 4 is all out of sorts and I’m not a fan of their midfield. Will Nicolas Pepe live up to his price tag? That remains to be seen. I got a really good look at Brighton last weekend against Liverpool and I liked what I saw. Liverpool were close to scoring a few but couldn’t make the breakthrough. If it wasn’t for a couple of set pieces and Virgil Van Dijk rising up to head them in, that match could have ended a lot differently. This should be a get right game for Arsenal but you won’t see me racing to the window to bet on that at -175. I see goals here and this one is clear to me. Over 2.5 goals have been scored in 6 of Brighton’s last 8 away matches. In 11 of Arsenal’s last 14 home matches, both teams have scored. Brighton has been a pesky side against Arsenal, picking up 5 points from the last 3 matches. I think they can take confidence from the match at the weekend.
My Play (1 unit): Both Teams to Score & O2.5 goals (-120)
By: Matt Lawrence
Twitter Handle: @1991handicapper