This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
It almost feels like the festive season again, at least in terms of match overload. Every team played over the weekend in the FA Cup and now league matches are in full swing. From Jan. 12 to Jan. 21 there is just one day without Premier League action and that's only because Chelsea and Fulham's match was pushed from Friday to Saturday. Otherwise, there would be a match every day.
Following that stretch, almost every team will be back in the FA Cup over the weekend and then it's more of the same with midweek and weekend league matches followed by the FA Cup. It's an endless cycle that will eventually run into the Champions League knockout stages.
For a team like Burnley, who have numerous injury issues, it's only getting worse. As for those like Fulham, who have no issues, it may be inevitable that they'll eventually have problems.
This all means you should wait to make bets. I may be giving plays for the weekend and beyond, but there's a chance someone strains a muscle in training or another COVID-19 outbreak occurs. While I usually don't like waiting to make bets if the numbers are good, it's a weird season and it only makes sense to be cautious.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Gameweek 19 seems to be heavy on the favorites, as there are a number of good spots to grab teams to win or draw. Fulham are a great place to start, home against Chelsea at +185 to win or draw. Fulham have taken points in their last three home matches, including against Southampton and Liverpool. Chelsea are in the opposite mold, losing their last three away games while also failing to secure three points in their last two at home. Fulham are healthy and playing well, while Chelsea are struggling to consistently put the ball in the back of the net.
The odds aren't the same, but I feel similarly about Southampton at -103 to win or draw against Leicester City. They're playing well near the top of the table and coming off a win against Liverpool, while Leicester have been all over this season, from smashing Man City to losing 2-0 at home to Everton. Southampton are in form and getting them at even odds against an inconsistent side is usually the kind of bet I prefer.
I'm less certain about the next two, but they're something to think about. Aston Villa are -127 to win or draw at home against Everton with the question being who will be fit to start following their COVID-19 issues. If they're close to healthy, it seems like a perfect parlay candidate with Man United at -114 to win or draw against Liverpool. Only an idiot (me?) would bet on Man United away to Liverpool, but something is wrong with Liverpool and it's worth betting against.
I don't like West Brom, but I think the odds are too heavy on Wolverhampton, listed as -220 favorites to win. Taking the Baggies at +180 to win or draw is more of a play against the odds. West Brom have seemingly gotten worse since Sam Allardyce took over, but it's worth noting they drew at Liverpool last away match and it's definitely possible that happens against Wolverhampton without Raul Jimenez.
I think the Leeds and Brighton match will have the most goals of the weekend and so do the bookmakers, as the over 2.5 goals is at -175. It's at least a parlay piece to consider in a match between two teams who struggle defensively and love to attack. The issue for Brighton is that they haven't been able to consistently hit the back of the net despite Neal Maupay recently revealing that his confidence is back.
I was leaning toward both teams not to score between Sheffield United and Tottenham at -120 and decided to take Tottenham "to win to nil" at +143 instead. Sure, Tottenham could lose 1-0, but I don't think anyone would be banking on that. Instead, you can get Tottenham to win 1-0, 2-0 or whatever-to-zero at better odds. The worry is that Sheffield United are going to attack more in need of points and that Tottenham are allowing more goals away from home, but it's a minor worry. Spurs already won 1-0 at West Brom and should've won 1-0 at Crystal Palace. Sheffield United finally won and scored Tuesday, but it came with the help of VAR and a red card.
For those interested in moneyline parlays, I'm not overly confident in many teams to win, but Man City at -670 against Crystal Palace and West Ham at -177 over West Brom comes out to -125 odds.
It's probably dumb to bet against Liverpool twice in one article, but you can get Burnley +1 at +295 and Burnley +2 at -118. Who knows what will happen in the next week, but Liverpool aren't playing well and Burnley are holding most sides to one goal or less.
Fulham to win or draw against Chelsea +185
Southampton to win or draw against Leicester City -103
Tottenham to win to nil +143
Burnley +2 against Liverpool -118
Parlay: Leeds/Brighton over 1.5 goals (-560), Villa/Everton over 1.5 goals (-530), Sheffield/Tottenham under 3.5 goals (-275), West Ham win/draw against West Brom (-670) = +121