After seven rounds of the Premier League, the elite teams have somewhat separated themselves from the pack. This weekend is a break from domestic football as the players ship off for a week of international games. When we pick back up, the Premier League has some interesting games on offer.
First and foremost, undefeated Manchester United (6-1-0) will get their first real test of the year when they travel to Anfield to face an underperforming but still dangerous Liverpool (3-3-1). There’s also a colossal mismatch on the schedule as point-less Crystal Palace (0-0-7) host defending champion Chelsea (4-1-2), plus an intriguing game between Burnley (3-3-1) and West Ham (2-1-4), two sides that are defying expectations in the most opposite of ways.
Seven matches is enough of a sample size to get a sense of a team’s true nature, and looking at the betting lines available at our trusted sportsbooks, there’s value to be had. Here are my best bets for the EPL’s eighth set of fixtures.
2017-18 English Premier League: Best Bets for Eighth Round
Liverpool (+166) vs Manchester United (+180), Draw (+246)
Ah, the North-West Derby!
Liverpool (3-3-1, 12 points) host Man United (6-1-0, 19 points) on October 14th in the latest edition of one of the most bitter rivalries in Europe. Liverpool had a rough start to the season and are currently in seventh place, while Man United are level with Man City at the top of the table.
So why is Manchester United the underdog in this match-up? First, there’s no denying that Liverpool’s home-field advantage will be a factor. But perhaps more importantly, United’s Paul Pogba may not be match-ready in time for the clash.
Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool are one of the best attacking sides in England, but they’re atrocious on defense. They concede an ungodly number of goals and even struggle to hold onto leads against bottom-table teams. That’s a recipe for disaster against a Mourinho-led Man United. The Red Devils’ backline should be able to neutralize the pacey Liverpool attack, and Romelu Lukaku has a knack for punishing sloppy defending.
Pick: Manchester United (+180)
Crystal Palace (+900) vs Chelsea (-250), Draw (+410)
Not only have Crystal Palace (0-0-7, 0 points) lost all seven of their Premier League games, they’ve failed to score a single goal. With a whopping 17 goals conceded and zero scored, what chance do they stand against the defending champions from Chelsea (4-1-2, 13 points)?
The Blues will be missing their new star striker, Alvaro Morata. But that shouldn’t make much difference. Morale is at an all-time low at Crystal Palace, and they’re going to have to wait at least one more round before notching their first point of the season.
Take the easy money. Pick Chelsea.
Pick: Chelsea (-250)
Burnley (+170) vs West Ham (+195), Draw (+230)
West Ham (2-1-4, 7 points) have had a particularly poor start to the season considering the players they brought on over the summer. They picked up Stoke’s top striker, Marko Arnautovic, England keeper Joe Hart, and former Man United star Chicharito. But the investments haven’t paid off yet. They opened the season with three straight losses and are currently hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone.
On the other hand, Burnley (3-3-1, 12 points) have had a great start. They’ve drawn against top-flight sides Liverpool and Tottenham, and most recently defeated Everton. Their success is hard to explain; on paper, they’re a mediocre side at best. Yet they’re sitting in sixth place after seven games and have faced a few of the best English teams along the way.
I truly believe that West Ham just needs some time to find their footing. After the squad irons out the kinks, they’ll be a formidable team and should finish in the upper-half of the table. But unfortunately, they have some way to go. Burnley are firing on all cylinders at the moment and their fairytale run should last at least one more game.
Pick: Burnley (+170)