Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Corner Picks: Soccer predictions, odds, best bets for Manchester City-Liverpool, Napoli-Fiorentina, more

We have a huge match in the Premier League this weekend, and I’m having difficulty remembering the last time there was such a massive match this late in the season. The Premier League has proven to be the best in the world because, in any given season, it has three or four clubs that could compete for titles across Europe, but even with that being the case, there’s always been one dominant team each season.

Last year, Manchester City won the league by 12 points, and there was no question about who would win it over the final months. The season before, Liverpool won by 18 points. The 2018-19 race was terrific, as City edged Liverpool by a point in the final standings, but the two behemoths last met on January 3 that year, meaning they spent the final four months of the season battling one another from afar.

But this week, they’ll fight one another directly. It wouldn’t be wholly accurate to say that the winner of the match wins the league, but considering how few matches remain and how well the clubs perform against everyone else, it wouldn’t be wholly inaccurate either. So let’s try and figure out what’s going to happen, shall we? All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.

Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Date: Sunday, April 10 | Time: 11:30 a.m. ET | Watch: USA

Featured Game | Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Powered by Caesars Sportsbook

My natural inclination when it comes to matches like this one is to lean toward the under. I’ve seen this story play out too many times already. Neither side wants to be the one to make a mistake that could end up costing them the league, so they get conservative and play not to lose rather than to win, and the rest of us are forced to spend two hours watching the players kick the ball back and forth hoping the other team screws up. If the history between these two is any indication, however, that’s not what will happen in this match.

Going back to the 2018-19 season that saw these two finish a point apart in the final standings, the last eight matches have averaged 3.0 goals. That includes a scoreless draw in the first meeting in 2018 and a 1-1 meeting in the Community Shield to start the 2019-20 season, which is a glorified preseason scrimmage. Now, none of this is to say that this match doesn’t have the possibility of becoming the boring snoozefest we often see in situations like this. While matches between the two haven’t played out that way, none had as much on the line. Still, given who Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are and how they’re just as much ideologues as they are managers, I don’t think it’ll be the case Sunday. Pick: Over 2.5 (-145)

Arsenal vs. Brighton

Date: Saturday, April 9 | Time: 10 a.m. ET | Watch: Peacock

Featured Game | Arsenal vs. Brighton & Hove Albion

Powered by Caesars Sportsbook

Arsenal’s 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace on Monday night was a shocker, as Arsenal had been playing so well lately, and then they looked like ArsenLOL again for a match. Palace picked them apart, and it made you wonder if Arsenal had turned back into a pumpkin. Now, there’s some reason to think this could be the case. While Arsenal have been playing very well, they’ve also been playing one of the easier stretches of their schedule. The results could be something of a mirage. Still, I’m not sure how much more difficult things will be on Saturday.

Brighton cannot score goals. Seriously, Brighton has scored only one goal in their last seven matches. As I’ve gone over before, Brighton is great at making you think they can score and never scoring. Their last match against Norwich might have been their masterpiece, as Brighton finished with an expected goal (xG) total of 2.8 and the match finished 0-0. Given Arsenal’s problems defensively against Crystal Palace, it’s not hard to figure out what manager Mikel Arteta will have been drilling into his team all week. Pick: Under 2.5 (-125)

Napoli vs. Fiorentina

Date: Sunday, April 10 | Time: 9 a.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+

Featured Game | Napoli vs. Fiorentina

Powered by Caesars Sportsbook

Fiorentina have been one of the more pleasant surprises in Serie A this season. The team got off to an excellent start, but after selling their superstar goal-scorer Dusan Vlahovic to Juventus in January, it was expected their level of play would drop off. It hasn’t. Thanks to a few beneficial results elsewhere, the Viola are fighting with Roma, Lazio and Atalanta for a top-seven finish and the European competition spots that come with it. Unfortunately, the thing that could end that dream is their performance away from home.

This season, Fiorentina have managed 32 points in 15 home matches but only 18 on the road, as their defense isn’t nearly as stout outside Florence. They’ve managed only two wins in their last 11 road matches. Meanwhile, Napoli has been outstanding at home and is in an all-out brawl with AC Milan and Inter Milan for the league title, so it will throw everything it has at Fiorentina, and I expect it will be enough. Pick: Napoli (-130)

Weekend Parlay

It’s the return of the four-leg parlay this weekend, and it comes with a hefty payout at +173.

  • Bayern Munich (-850)
  • Inter Milan (-275)
  • Real Madrid (-255)
  • Roma (-350)

Record

Units

League Play

47-44

+5.91

Champions League

8-12

-4.51

Overall 55-56 +1.40

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