Thursday, June 1, 2023

Corner Picks: Best bets for Juventus-AC Milan, Burnley-Arsenal and the rest of this weekend’s soccer action

I’ve become one of the people I hate. OK, so maybe hate is a strong word, but I’ve become one of those people who annoy me. See, I play a lot of fantasy sports, and I am the commissioner of multiple leagues across multiple sports. As a commissioner, nothing annoys me more than the person who joins the league, plays for the first few weeks, and then jumps ship.

Why join a fantasy league if you aren’t going to play in it? If you’re going to commit, stick to the commitment.

Well, this year, I joined a fantasy league for the Premier League with a bunch of colleagues here at, and guess who was in first place after the first few weeks of action? That’s right; it was me. Now, guess who completely forgot to set their lineup last week? That’s right, me again. I’m an idiot, but I will not become the person I hate. I have set my lineup for this weekend, and I plan to again next week.

After that? Who knows? Now, onto the picks. This week we’ve got a shodown between two of Italy’s biggest sides and some value in some midtable Premier League matchups.

All odds are via Caesar’s Sportsbook.

Juventus vs. AC Milan, Sun. 2:45 p.m, CBS Sports Network/Paramount+

Honestly, we might not find better value on Juventus for the rest of the season. The Old Lady has managed only a point in its first three league matches and sits just above the relegation zone in Serie A. Meanwhile, Milan is tied for first with Roma and Napoli and have been magnificent to start the season. They’ve scored seven goals and allowed only one, and the team’s expected goal difference per match of 1.71 is the best in the league.

But the Juventus we’ll see this weekend should be the closest to full strength that we’ve seen so far — there were a lot of tired players in the squad thanks to Italy’s Euros run — and the more they play, the more they adapt to life without Ronaldo. I won’t be shocked at all if Milan wins this match — they’re legitimately good — but Milan also had a tough match against Liverpool during the week, while Juve were able to coast to a 3-0 win over Malmo. Juve should win this match often enough to justify the price we’re buying it at. The Pick: Juventus (+113)

Burnley vs. Arsenal, Sat. 10 a.m, NBCSN

I’ve picked on Arsenal plenty in this column over the last year, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. It’s just so easy, and you’re never the one who looks like an idiot because Arsenal hog all that Big Idiot Energy. This week, though, I’m relying on Arsenal’s Big Dumb Luck energy to even out.

I don’t know if Mikel Arteta will survive the season. My gut tells me he won’t. Still, the numbers tell me a story about how Arsenal has been a bit unlucky. While some teams are unlucky as a product of their deficiencies (like Arsenal!), this is a bit too extreme to just blame Arsenal for. The Gunners have scored one goal through four league matches despite an expected goals (xG) tally of 5.0. They’re due for some better luck in attack, and their defense has been shaky all along, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Burnley nick a classic Burnley goal or two as well. The Pick: Over 2.5 (-105)

Brighton vs. Leicester City, Sun. 9 a.m, Peacock

It’s no secret Leicester faded down the stretch last season. They lost three of their final four matches to fall out of the Champions League spots and won only five of their final 13. The biggest reason for this was a defense that allowed an average of 1.47 xG per match in its final seven. It’s a trend that has continued to start the new season, as Leicester have an xG allowed of 8.1 through four matches. The only teams doing worse are Arsenal, Norwich, Leeds and Newcastle. Leicester have been even worse on the road, allowing 4.1 xG in two matches against Norwich and West Ham.

Leicester comes into this weekend’s match against a solid Brighton squad, having played on Thursday in a Europa League match against Napoli. A Europa League match that saw Leicester blow a 2-0 lead and allow an xG of 2.3 to Napoli. This is a team in bad shape at the moment, and I’m looking to take advantage of a market that hasn’t quite caught on yet. The Pick: Brighton (+165)

Weekend Parlay

This weekend’s parlay pays out at +129.

  • Bayern Munich (-1600)
  • Manchester City (-675)
  • Inter Milan (-265)
  • Borussia Dortmund (-275)



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