This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
Goal totals and adrenaline levels have increased with the addition of home fans. For the final two gameweeks, a limited number of fans are allowed for each home side. While that mattered when Brighton upset Manchester City, Aston Villa didn't seem to care they were playing in front of opposing fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Either way, more goals have been scored the past few weeks, as the average is around 2.5 per match. There were 45 goals from 15 matches in Gameweek 35 and then 28 from eight in Gameweek 36. This midweek, 28 goals were scored in 10 matches despite two finishing 1-0. Even in what look like defensive matchups, I'd be tentative to take the unders on the final weekend, at least in matches where the teams have nothing to play for.
Instead of my usual pick-and-choose-whatever-bets-I-like method, I'm touching on every match for the final Sunday. I may not have much to say about the games that don't mean anything, but you can still bet on them, so there's no point in skipping them.
I'll start with the games that mean something and then move to the rest. I recorded the odds when first released early Wednesday and checked them throughout the day up to Thursday when this article went up.
THE FINAL DAY
These matches mean something
Before Wednesday's match, Arsenal were a -106 favorite. Since they're in play for the Europa League, their odds were pushed higher, and with fans, I don't see a route for Brighton, who probably won't have Neal Maupay or Danny Welbeck. Brighton have played top teams tough this season and just beat Manchester City, but I don't think they're headed for another repeat. They got their win, now it's time for the season to end. You can get the Gunners -1 at +105 or even -1.5 at +170. This kind of goes against how I've bet all season because I don't trust Arsenal, but I can't find a reason to take the underdog.
Villa played spoiler to Tottenham midweek and get a chance to do the same with home fans against Chelsea. This matchup is a bit tougher, but I think there is value if they play their regulars. That's far from guaranteed and Jack Grealish probably can't start twice on a short week, so everything depends on Villa's starting XI. However, at home, I assume they'd want to give their fans a top performance. If that's the case, I think Villa +1 at +104 is pretty good odds considering N'Golo Kante may not start after coming off early midweek.
This is arguably the biggest match of the final weekend because both teams need to win. Even if they draw, there's a decent chance Leicester don't get a UCL spot and Tottenham don't get one in the UEL. That being the case, these teams should both be in full attack mode. There's a chance they play things tight and wait for the perfect moment to win 1-0, but that's not the kind of team Tottenham are. While I think there's value in Tottenham as an underdog, I'd rather find value on the favorite. That led me to a same-game parlay of Leicester to win and both teams to score at +255 (this number was at +250 then +230 and now +255). I think there will be goals, but I didn't want to lose value with over 2.5 goals at -165.
Unfortunately, the odds moved heavily toward Liverpool after Wednesday's matches, as they opened at -455 to win. This feels like a perfect win to nil bet, but Palace seem to score against everyone and it's almost guaranteed Christian Benteke scores (if healthy) in Roy Hodgson's final match. That again points me to what I did with Leicester, taking Liverpool to win and both teams to score at +160. However, after looking at prior results (Liverpool won the prior two 11-0), I'm going with a Liverpool big win and taking them -2.5 at +123. This means you'll still be happy when Liverpool are up 4-0 and Palace score late to ruin Alisson Becker's clean sheet.
Prior to Everton's win over Wolves, Man City were a -315 favorite in this match. That number is significantly down with the Toffees still in play for a Europa League spot. The only way I'd bet against Man City is if they start a couple of their youth players. Otherwise, their second-team players have been winning matches all season and, unlike Man United, City have almost a full week before the Champions League final. Even then, it's not expected guys like Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus will start the final (so they can start Sunday), meaning I can't trust Everton, who gave up 70 percent possession in the prior meeting. There isn't much value in the total, so I'm taking both teams to score at -118. This way, you can capitalize on the recent poor play of Man City's back line along with their inevitable goal because Everton never make things easy for their supporters.
The odds haven't changed a ton, but West Ham opened at -130, so they've slowly crept up after beating West Brom. I don't think this is a guaranteed win for West Ham, so I'd pause if considering it in a moneyline parlay. The Hammers have had a good season, but they've slipped up the last month and haven't looked like the same team. Beating West Brom and Burnley is nice, but they've been a bit nervy, and while they'll have fans, their lack of consistent defense remains an issue.
These teams played to a scoreless draw in December when they had identical attacking stats (eight shots), but Southampton had 63 percent possession. Ralph Hasenhuttl doesn't play backups if not needed and I don't think he'll turn to youth players in the finale. That means most of the regulars will probably start for Southampton. Just because West Ham need the match more, isn't reason enough to bet on them to win. However...
I think taking Southampton +123 to win or draw makes sense, but one thing stands out to me, which is why I won't bet this until lineup release. Danny Ings isn't fully fit and there's a chance he doesn't start again with Euros coming up. He played a little more than Hasenhuttl probably wanted midweek because Che Adams came off injured at the break. Throw in Southampton's minus-21 goal differential away from home, second worst in the league (a lot of that is a 9-0 loss, but they also have the third-most away losses), and this is a long way of saying maybe West Ham are the play after all. Instead of taking them on the moneyline, I may wait to see who starts up front for Southampton and if Ings is out, West Ham win to nil is at +215.
These matches have no relevance on the table
Uh. Hmm… Well. Fulham are favored because they're at home with fans and would like to leave the Premier League with a win. They opened at +155, but after some Newcastle injuries, the odds jumped in Fulham's favor. I'm not sure there's anything else to say. They've had trouble scoring all season and I'm not recommending them to win. These teams played pretty open in the prior meeting, a 1-1 draw, but with injuries, I think both will struggle to score. If Allan Saint-Maximin doesn't start, Newcastle aren't the same team and I think that leads to value in under 2.5 goals at +120. Also, "no" on both teams to score is +138.
Leeds opened at -167, so there's clearly a lot of money going their way, and for good reason. They won their last three matches by a combined 9-1 scoreline with their last home game a 3-1 win against Tottenham. They won the prior meeting 5-0, though that was at the nadir of West Brom's season. West Brom have shown some fight, but they've lost their last three and there's likely to be a lack of motivation after losing Wednesday at home. A lot of this depends on starting XIs, since Marcelo Bielsa could rotate, but if he doesn't, Leeds are an option to win big with -1.5 at +112 (opened at +135). The odds aren't great, but this is a match I can see getting out of hand because of the way Leeds play. Of note, Leeds still have a slight chance for Europa League, though a lot of things have to go their way.
This one is unfortunately on the same level as the Fulham v. Newcastle match. Schedule makers likely thought these teams would be battling relegation, but instead, everything is already decided. Again, I don't want to bet on either side to win. Burnley scored a 32nd-minute goal in the first meeting and then defended the rest of the way, as they combined for 12 total shots. Similar to Fulham, I think Sheffield United will want to leave the league with points and that could make this another ugly game. That means either side could get a clean sheet and betting "no" on both teams to score at +117 seems like good value.
I've been against Wolves the last couple weeks because they've had nothing to play for and already integrated youth players into the team. However, with fans at home, they may try a little more to knock off the No. 2 team in the table. All signs point to Man United using their second-team players, like in their recent loss to Leicester City, because the Europa League final is Wednesday. While Mason Greenwood scored from nothing in that game, that was their only shot on target.
Wolves were +235 and a decent home underdog when I started writing this article, and at the time I wrote, "I have no idea why the Red Devils are such big away favorites." Twenty-four hours later and Wolves are now favored. I originally took them to win or draw at -127, but those odds don't exist anymore (they're currently -205). After Wednesday's matches, Wolves were +175 and early Thursday, they were suddenly favored at +160. Instead of taking that route, "no" on both teams to score is +123 and under 2.5 goals is +100. In the case this match goes 1-1, I'm taking the under. No matter who is on the field for Wolves, they're a low-scoring team, which is why this matchup finished 1-0 earlier in the season when Man United played their regulars. Now with a bunch of youth players, I'm not sure these teams can combine for more than two goals. Also in favor of this bet, there have been two goals scored in total between these teams in the last four meetings.