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Corner Picks, best soccer bets, odds, predictions: Bayern Munich have something to play for, Aston Villa don’t

We’ve reached the final weekend of the season across Europe, and the penultimate edition of Corner Picks (our Champions League torture isn’t over yet), but while it’s been a rough season overall with the results here, I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been an enjoyable one for me anyway.

Last year I was able to watch Napoli win Serie A for the first time since 1990, and this year I watched as Aston Villa finished fourth in the Premier League to clinch their first appearance in the Champions League since 1983. They’re the only two clubs I’ve ever cared about since I began following the sport, and both have taken me on wild, unique rides. To see one experience their highest level of success in each of the past two years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life as a sports fan.

Not as financially rewarding as winning more bets this season would’ve been, but spiritually, and you can’t put a price on that, right?

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Hoffenheim vs. Bayern Munich

Date: Saturday, May 18 | Time: 9:30 a.m. ET | Watch: ESPN+

One of the bigger challenges this weekend is finding matches with meaningful results. Bayern Munich cannot win the Bundesliga, and their heart was ripped out by Real Madrid in the Champions League last week. The team has every right to go into this weekend and give a half-assed performance, but I don’t think that’ll be the case.

Not winning the Bundesliga is embarrassing enough for Bayern, but finishing third would be worse, and that’s a possibility. If Stuttgart beats 113th-place Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern loses to Hoffenheim, Stuttgart will finish second. So Bayern do have something to play for; plus, it’s not often we get the chance to bet Bayern at plus-money odds against a team below them in the table. Even if Bayern does rest some players, they’re still the better team. The Pick: Bayern Munich (+105)

Chelsea vs. Bournemouth

Date: Sunday, May 19 | Time: 11 a.m. ET | Watch: Peacock

Bournemouth has had a successful season but have run out of gas a bit here down the home stretch, picking up only seven points in their last seven matches after racking up 13 in the previous five. They’re also running into Chelsea at the worst possible time, as Chelsea have won four straight by a combined score of 12-3. Chelsea also has an outside shot of reaching Europa League qualification as it’s three points behind 5th-place Tottenham.

Considering Tottenham is playing the relegated Sheffield United, the odds are against Chelsea, but it will approach the match as if it does. The moneyline price is far too heavy to take, but I like the odds of Chelsea getting at least three goals. As I said, this team has averaged 3.0 goals in its last four, and Bournemouth have allowed 10 goals in their last four losses. The Pick: Chelsea Over 2.5 (-120)

Crystal Palace vs. Aston Villa

Date: Sunday, May 19 | Time: 11 a.m. ET | Watch: Peacock

Aston Villa scheduled their end-of-the-season banquet for Tuesday evening, the day after their final home match. Coincidentally, it was also the night Tottenham played Manchester City, needing a win to keep their slimm Champions League hopes alive. So, the entire club and their families were gathered to watch Tottenham lose, which resulted in Villa clinching their first Champions League spot in 40 years. The celebration was strong, and based on all the videos Aston Villa have released on social media of the reactions, I feel confident the team could be a little hungover. Maybe not literally, but figuratively because I have to wonder how preparation for this match has looked since.

Plus, have you seen Crystal Palace lately? We took them in the column last week, and Palace smoked Wolverhampton 3-1. They’ve won five of their last six with 16 points in that span. If there’s any team in England who doesn’t want the season to end right now, it’s Palace, and I would’ve liked their odds to get a win here even if Villa had something to play for. The Pick: Crystal Palace (-115)

Weekend Parlay

This is an absolute dart throw of a weekend, so let’s hope we get lucky. Our parlay pays +131.

  • Bayer Leverkusen (-390)
  • Arsenal (-600)
  • Manchester City (-1100)
  • Liverpool (-650)
  • Barcelona (-390)
Record Units

League Play

60-63

+0.30

Champions League

8-22

-19.21

Overall 68-85 -18.91

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