Premier League Odds: Man City puts unbeaten record on the line

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The megabucks transfer of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool to Barcelona has sway over a couple of English Premier League lines – one immediate, one long-range.

As league play resumes, undefeated Manchester City is a +120 favorite away at Coutinho-less Liverpool, who comes back at +205; the draw offers +260 on the three-way moneyline and the total is 3.0, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Whether it is relevant that Man City’s last win at Anfield in 2003 is debatable, since City has become such a well-heeled club in the years since. But this could be a tricky matchup for the Citizens since key midfielder Kevin de Bruyne will likely to be marked by the physical Emre Can.

The loss of Coutinho notwithstanding, Liverpool still has firepower with the EPL’s No. 2 scorer, Mohamed Salah, along with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. The 5-0 scoreline from the teams’ first league game at City was an anomaly, as Liverpool was a 10-man side after a red card in the first half.

The 3.0 total pays -120 for the over, and there’s probably just too much potency in each team’s attack for anyone to record a shutout. If one is going chalk with a City pick, then Raheem Sterling with his knack for late-game tallies is worth a side bet in goal scorer props.

Huddersfield Town (+160) has not lost at home this season against a lower-placed team, but West Ham United (+190, +200 draw) is on an uptick with a win or draw in six of its last seven games. Five of the last six games in this matchup have had fewer than 2.5 goals. The 2.0 total pays -110 either way.

Watford (+135) is in a funk with one win in six league fixtures, but Southampton (+195, +230 draw) is winless in nine. These sides’ last eight games have had a combined 34 goals (4.25 per match), so the 2.5 total with over paying -105 is very good value.

Chelsea (-375), off a short turnaround from a Carabao Cup match, hosts Leicester City (+1000, +475 draw). Chelsea will have captain Gary Cahill on its back line, but its finishing has been problematic lately. Leicester, which has both conceded and scored in 14 of 22 games, is even money on the goals line at +1.5.

Bournemouth (+355) let Arsenal (-145, +310 draw) off the hook during their 2017 fixture by blowing a three-goal lead. Bournemouth, with striker Callum Wilson up front, offers great value for the upset. In any event, there should be scoring; the over on the 3.0 total pays 2.5.

Meantime, Man City’s 15-point cushion on second-placed Man United has destroyed any value in EPL champions futures, as it’s dropped to -10000. The best futures prop might be for top goal scorer. Tottenham’s Harry Kane (-185) is the homegrown favorite, but he has only one more goal than Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (+400), who at 4-to-1 offers enticing value. Liverpool, which is 6-2-1 without Coutinho this season, should still have sufficient playmaking support to get Salah his scoring opportunities.

City’s Sergio Aguero (+500) and the aforementioned Sterling (+2000) are four and five goals behind Kane respectively, but they could cancel each other out and also get spotted in league games if City continues advancing in the Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup competitions.

World Cup Odds: Portugal offers value against rival Spain

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With each team dealing with distractions, it might be worth taking a chance on Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo against rival Spain in the big matchup on the first full day of World Cup action.

Spain is listed as a +105 betting favorite on Friday’s World Cup odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com with Portugal coming back at +305, while the draw is priced at +225 on the three-way moneyline and there is a 2.0 total.

Favored Spain had a shake-up on Tuesday when manager Fernando Hierro was airlifted in after the shock firing of Julen Lopetegui. Spain’s defensive strength is also touch-and-go with right-back Dani Carjaval (hamstring).

That said, form in international play over the last year points to Spain, which is 7-0-3 (wins/losses/draws) in its last 10 international games whereas Portugal is 1-2-2 in its last five.

Being in Group B with the aforementioned European squads means Morocco (+120) and Iran (+280, draw +195) will each need to play to win in their matchup in St. Petersburg. The over on the 2.0 total is enticing at even money.

Uruguay (-185) faces Egypt (+600, draw +275) in Yekaterinburg. Egypt has failed to win any of its last six outings and might not have a fully healthy Mohamed Salah (shoulder), suggesting a likelihood of Uruguay grinding out a result in a game that finishes under the 2.5 total.

Argentina (-300) will ride the Lionel Messi effect against Iceland (+900, draw +400) in a Saturday World Cup betting matchup in Moscow. Iceland, with an attack built around Johann Berg Gudmundsson of Burnley, won’t roll over easily and the over on the 2.5 total should hit.

France (-425) is among the contenders on the overall odds to win the World Cup, while Australia (+1000, draw +550) will be looking to exasperate Les Bleus with defensive tactics in their matchup at Kazan. It might not come easily, but France has a strong chance to cover the minus-1.5 goals line.

Denmark (+135) is favored, but Peru (+220, +220 draw) takes a 15-match unbeaten streak into the matchup in Saransk, compared to the Danes’ four-game streak. Denmark’s last four matches have all finished below this match’s 2.5 total and a well-played 1-1 draw seems eminently possible.

Croatia (-135), paced by Barcelona midfielder Luka Modric, will be looking for a statement win against Nigeria (+400, +265 draw) at Kaliningrad. Nigeria is winless in its last four outings. Eight of Croatia’s last 10 matches and six of Nigeria’s last 10 have finished with fewer than 2.5 goals.

Defending champion Germany (-205) begins its quest for a repeat against Mexico (+575, +345 draw) at Moscow on Sunday. Since reunification, Germany is 6-0 in opening games with a 23-2 goal differential, so the form would suggest manager Joachim Low’s side can win convincingly.

There isn’t much value on playing Brazil (-245) for a likely win against Switzerland (+750, +370 draw) at Rostov-on-Don, but the favorites come in having recorded a clean sheet in seven of their last eight matches. Switzerland has also had clean sheets in five of six outings, suggesting it’s unlikely both teams will score.

The matchup between Serbia (-110) and Costa Rica (+360, +225 draw) in Samara stacks up as projection vs. past performance. Serbia and Aleksandar Mitrovic of Newcastle United fame are overdue to convert age-group success to the senior level, while 2014 quarterfinalist Costa Rica has lost key defender Ronald Matarrita (hamstring) to injury.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top World Cup betting news check out the OddsShark FC podcast with Andrew Avery, Rob Trites, and Craig Cormier. Listen to it at OddsSharkFC.libsyn.com.

Lionel Messi, Neymar Betting Favorites for World Cup Golden Boot

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Capturing the World Cup’s Golden Boot award for scoring the most goals in the tournament is not linked to being on the winning team, or even being a household name.

Three weeks before the tournament kicks off in Russia, Argentina’s Lionel Messi is a +850 favorite on the World Cup Golden Boot odds with Brazil’s Neymar a narrow second favorite at +900 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The award includes all games in the tournament, group and knockout, so it is not surprising that 18 of the 20 recipients of the award have played for a team that finished either first, second or third. Eleven of the 18 played on the third-place team, whose final game typically will have more scoring and less cautious play than the final.

Ronaldo (Brazil, 2002) is the only Golden Boot winner in the last nine World Cups who also played for the winning team.

That history might work against Messi, whose Argentina team is not being given much of a  chance to make a deep run. Neymar is also working his way back from a knee injury, raising concern about how much Brazil will turn him loose, particularly in the group games. Brazil teammate Roberto Firmino (+6600) of Liverpool fame could be worth a darkhorse pick on the Golden Boot betting lines.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (+1200) was second in goals scored at Euro 2016 and his country is likely to make it into the knockout round, although it has to contend with being in the same group as Spain.

The aforementioned “first, second or third” theory likely strikes wagering on England’s Harry Kane (+1600). Germany’s Timo Werner (+1600), whose team is the favorite on the odd to win the World Cup, has a much stronger likelihood of playing a full seven games. Germany typically also plays with only one striker, meaning service from the midfield won’t be split between two forwards.

France and Belgium are each being touted as strong possibilities to be semi-finalists, if not more. Antoine Griezmann (+1400) is the top Les Bleus player on the board, but young Kylian Mbappe (+3300) could have more breakout potential.

Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku (+2000) has the lowest odds of any Belgium player, but Dries Mertens (+3300) of Napoli in Italy’s Serie A is worth considering as a longshot due to his speed and skill as a winger.

Colombia’s James Rodriguez (+5000) is the reigning Golden Boot winner. No player has ever won twice.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.