EPL Fixture 24: Underdog Value Picks

This weekend, the Premier League’s Big Six have all been paired against mid to bottom-table sides. That leads to two things: (1) some pretty lop-sided odds, and (2) a good chance to find underdogs.

A handful of big-name clubs are looking shaky at the moment, which means the time is ripe for an upset. Let’s see where the value is, based on the odds currently available at Bet365 on January 16, 2018.

Arsenal (-200) vs Crystal Palace (+450), Draw (+375)

Date: Saturday, January 20th

By the time you read this, Alexis Sanchez may have already signed with Manchester United or, if the initial rumors prove true, Man City. Either way, there’s a slim chance he’ll take to the field when Arsenal (11-6-6, 39 points) meet Crystal Palace (6-7-10, 25 points) this Saturday.

The Gunners were left reeling last weekend after losing 2-1 to Bournemouth. Héctor Bellerín opened the scoring early in the second half, but Arsenal never appeared confident with the lead. As we’ve seen so many times before, the squad capitulated under pressure and dropped what should have been three easy points. Callum Wilson equalized in the 70th minute, and the winner came just four minutes later.

Once again, Sanchez was excluded from the line-up. It’s safe to assume he’ll be jumping ship very soon. With a top-four finish becoming increasingly unlikely and club morale at an all-time low, can you blame him? The Gunners haven’t recorded a win in five games. Coincidentally, their most recent victory was against Palace in late December, but it was keyed by Sanchez, who scored two goals in rapid succession to give the Gunners a 3-2 win. Without him, they could have easily lost. There isn’t anyone on the Arsenal roster who can replace the Chilean at the moment. Olivier Giroud has only started one league match this season, and Alexandre Lacazette still doesn’t look at home at the Emirates.

Crystal Palace opened the season with seven consecutive losses in the Premier League, but they’ve since clawed their way up the ladder to 12th place. Their most recent performances have been particularly impressive. They’ve won their last two league games, beating Burnley (1-0) and Southampton (2-1). Before that, they broke Manchester City’s 18-game winning streak by holding them to a 0-0 draw.

With recent losses to clubs like Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth, Arsenal have shown that they are capable of losing to absolutely anyone at the moment. Crystal Palace are in great form and have only lost one of their last 12 league games. Palace at +450? Yes please!

Value Bet: Crystal Palace (+450)

Another reasonable bet is Crystal Palace + Draw (+119) on SportsInteraction, especially in light of Palace’s ability to hold Man City to a scoreless draw.

Man United's Romelu Lukaku and Everton's Wayne Rooney
Man United’s Romelu Lukaku and Everton’s Wayne Rooney (Photo credit: Ardfern (Wikimedia) CC License)

Everton (+120) vs West Brom (+280), Draw (+190)

Date: Saturday, January 20th

Everton (7-6-10, 27 points) are on a four-game losing streak, and West Brom (3-10-10, 19 points) just ended a 20-game winless run. These are dire times for both clubs, who will clash this weekend at Goodison Park.

With Alan Pardew at the helm, West Brom are slowly improving and could soon be clear of relegation. There are plans to make the most of their limited budget over the January window. Pardew is prepared to offload a few players in order to make room for new signings. We don’t know how that will play out, but at least there’s a vision for the future.

Back in November, Everton showed Ronald Koeman the door and welcomed Sam Allardyce, and for a while things were improving. Big Sam started his Everton tenure with a seven-game unbeaten run, but his team has reverted back to its old ways and is now winless in its last six, though the last three were against top tier sides: Man U, Liverpool, and Spurs.

West Brom and Everton met recently, playing to a goalless draw on Dec. 26. Both sides landed three shots on target, but Brom totaled 17 attempts on goal to Everton’s seven. Give them credit for creating so many opportunities; only a lack of composure in front of goal cost Albion the win. As we’ve come to expect, Everton didn’t pose much of a threat moving forward. Their defensive resilience is the only thing keeping them afloat.

If Salomón Rondón or Craig Dawson had been a little bit sharper on the night, or a little bit luckier, West Brom would have claimed all three points. There’s a decent chance that they’ll find the back of the net this time; they have scored in four straight games, including potting four goals over their last two fixtures (all competitions). Even at Goodison Park, West Brom at +280 is pretty good value.

Pick: West Brom (+280)

Eaton Thatcher

Eaton used to write for MTS predominantly about boxing but also about soccer, football, tennis and basketball.

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