This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
The excitement of Gameweek 1 is over and now it's almost non-stop action until May. There's still plenty to learn about these teams and it's best to not overreact to some opening results. Arsenal aren't going to finish top of the table and Newcastle aren't going to secure a spot in UEFA competition.
Arsenal and Liverpool may have opened the season with wins, but Everton stole the headlines Sunday, taking down Tottenham 1-0. The offseason additions, namely James Rodriguez and Allan, already took the Toffees to another level, and they shouldn't be viewed as the same team that finished 12th last season. You could say the same about Arsenal, but I don't want to go too crazy after they beat Fulham, a team I think will finish last.
I wasn't overly surprised by any of the opening results, but I didn't expect West Ham to lose 2-0 to Newcastle. The Hammers closed last season on a nice run and I thought that would continue against an inconsistent back line. None of that came to fruition, though I wonder if that result will lead to some undervaluing of West Ham in upcoming weeks.
Crystal Palace holding Southampton scoreless was also a tad unexpected, but those teams combined for three goals in their prior two matches, so a 1-0 win to either side made sense. My biggest play was on Everton, who were oddly as big of underdogs as a few months ago when they didn't have their trio of new signings in the midfield. If you really believed in them, the moneyline play was a nice hit.
Overall, last week's plays were successful, led by Mohamed Salah scoring first at +320 and then Monday's over/under parlay. I went 4-2 overall, and if you bet $100 on them all, you'd be up $226.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The best thing about the upcoming week is that every team is in action. That means both Manchester clubs return after their extra week of rest because of last season's late UEFA matches. Manchester City are favored to win the league, but Manchester United have the talent to compete near the top. The same goes for Chelsea, who are hoping to debut another new signing or two against Liverpool.
While you could worry about the midweek Cup matches, I'm not sure how much to put into them. Some teams will use regular starters and others will use a lot of young players and backups. After seeing lineups I may tweak a few things, but I don't want to project what will happen in Cup play.
Similar to last week, let's start things on a good note. Instead of taking Everton at -190 to win, I'll move those odds down to -148 for them to score first and win. I like that bet because I don't think West Brom will score after looking lost in their opener against Leicester City, managing one shot on target. I expected more from the Baggies, but the class of Leicester was too much and that could happen again, especially after Everton took down Tottenham. In that same mold, West Brom to not score is +125 and is worth a play if you believe in Everton.
To get a little better odds with an Everton win, you can parlay that with Leeds United at -162 to win, combining to make it +148. I'm not as confident in Leeds, but they beat Fulham 3-0 in the same situation back in June. Throw in the likely debut of Rodrigo, and I think Leeds get their first points of the season.
Unfortunately, there's another moneyline parlay possibility on Saturday with Manchester United -305 and Arsenal -186 to win, totaling +105. I like that bet, but it's easy to get caught up in parlays and go overboard. Arsenal won their first match, but they always seem to disappoint when a win looks inevitable, and I don't think West Ham's attack will be held in check again.
All eyes will be on Chelsea and Liverpool in Sunday's showdown. The odds seem a tad heavy on Liverpool even though they won 5-3 a couple months ago. In addition to Chelsea's new attacking options, Liverpool's back line hasn't looked normal. Their lone clean sheet in the last 10 matches came in a friendly against Stuttgart. Those lapses should help Timo Werner, who couldn't find the back of the net in the opener. Also, the possible debut of Thiago Silva and return of Cesar Azpilicueta will help, especially on the left side where Marcos Alonso had issues against Tariq Lamptey. That said, I'd rather go all in at Chelsea +220 to win instead of the slim -139 odds to win or draw.
The other play is to go for the goals with over 3.5 at +155. This matchup has the makings of another high-scoring contest and the +155 odds will probably drop throughout the week. In fact, I'll take over 4.5 goals at +360 to hit. I already mentioned each team's defensive issues and then throw in the attacking pieces and a 3-2 result may be the most likely.
Otherwise, I don't like the odds for anything else Sunday as there isn't much value to be had. Most notable is that both Brighton-Newcastle matchups last season resulted in scoreless draws and I think this one could go similarly. Newcastle may get a few more opportunities, but Brighton will control possession and struggle in the final third. But again, given the odds, I don't think taking either side or the under are worthy plays.
Following Sheffield United's loss Monday, there has been some overreaction to Aston Villa's odds in this matchup. Suddenly, the Villans are favorites, which probably shouldn't be the case. In the same situation in June, Sheffield United were about +140 favorites. The main difference for this matchup is that Villa have a new striker and right-back, both of whom have yet to play in the Premier League, while Sheffield United swapped goalkeepers. In that June contest, Villa had more shots on target, but that was the famed game in which goal-line technology didn't work and helped keep them above relegation. Again, I don't like most of the numbers, but I think a draw no bet on Sheffield United at -106 is a decent return. That means if the match finishes a draw, you get your money back, and if the Blades win, you win.
Manchester City will get plenty of money in the final match of the gameweek, though I'd be tentative after Wolves won both meetings last season. Even though Wolves have a Cup match Thursday, they seem to have the edge in this matchup and the odds aren't enticing for Man City. If anything, Wolves at +170 to win or draw is the way to go.
Everton to score first and win -148
Liverpool/Chelsea over 3.5 goals at +155
Sheffield United draw no bet -106
Parlay: Arsenal over 1.5 goals (-195), Crystal Palace under 1.5. goals (-715), West Brom under 1.5 goals (-480) = +110