Manchester City’s odds halved in EPL futures after first loss

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Manchester City looking human — to the point it came away empty-handed in a league match for the first time in 2017-18 — has restored some value to English Premier League futures.

Manchester City is now a -3300 favorite on the EPL futures boards, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Citizens still have a 12-point cushion with 15 matches left in the season, so it would have to collapse in order to be overtaken by second-place Manchester United (+3300) or Liverpool (+4500) and Chelsea (+10000), who are level in third place at 15 points back.

Manchester United being the apparent winner of the Alexis Sanchez sweepstakes as the forward prepares to leave Arsenal does alter Top 4 odds. United (-600) is likely a shoo-in and Liverpool (-500) showed in its win against City that it can adapt to life after Philippe Coutinho.

However, losing out on Sanchez, or losing him period, respectively puts Chelsea (-450) and Arsenal (+700) on shaky ground. Tottenham Hotspur (even) could be poised for a run.

Matchweek 24 commences early Saturday with Brighton and Hove Albion (+525), which has just one win in five games, hosting Chelsea (-170, +275 odds on the draw), who will need Michy Batshuayi to cover the scoring with Alvaro Morata and Pedro Rodriguez serving suspensions. Chelsea might have to grind for the win, which is why the under on the 2.5 total is deep into minus money at -150.

West Ham United (-110), with Marko Anautovic having five goals in as many games, hosts Bournemouth (+290, +250 draw), which also been in good form. West Ham should have no reason for a letdown playing at home against a just slightly lower-placed team. The 2.5 total seems low for a game where it’s unlikely anyone plays for the 0-0 or 1-1 draw.

Arsenal (-210) has likely seen the last of Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette is mired in a goal drought, so Crystal Palace (+575, +350 draw) could create some interesting results if it strikes on the counter-attack. The over on the 3.0 total is priced at -110.

Leicester City (-125) is on an upward tick with a four-match unbeaten streak in all competitions, while Watford (+330, +275 draw) has regressed. Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez has four goals in as many games against Watford. Neither team is a great candidate for a clean sheet, so the over (-135) on the 2.5 total is a good pick.

Stoke City (even) will try to get the new-manager bump under the command of Paul Lambert is it hosts Huddersfield Town (+295, +225 draw). Dollar-store sports psychology might suggest that between Stoke’s fragile confidence and 14th-placed Huddersfield knowing the teams between them and Stoke all have tough matches this weekend, a draw and the under (-150) on the 2.5 total are pragmatic plays.

And Southampton (+450) is winless in 10 matches, while Tottenham Hotspur (-165, +290 draw) and Harry Kane are on a strong run where they have won six of eight games and scored 23 goals coming into their Sunday betting matchup. Tottenham pays +110 for the minus-1.0 goal line and the over on the 2.5 total is even money. Until a team stymies Kane (eight goals in his last five), he’s a strong play in goal scorer props.

Betting Favorite France Still Offers Value on World Cup Final Odds

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No matter how much the betting line moves into minus money, favored France offers plenty of value against Croatia in the World Cup championship game this weekend.

With the biggest sporting event in the world down to the last two teams, France is a -115 favorite on the World Cup final odds with Croatia coming back at +375, while the draw is priced at +230 and there is a 2.0 total, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

France went through the arguably tougher half of the knockout draw to make it to the final Sunday at Luhzniki Stadium in Moscow, defeating Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium. Croatia outlasted Denmark, Russia and England in knockout games that were tied 1-1 after regulation time, a World Cup first.

Six of the last seven World Cup finals have produced a clean sheet. However, with the playmaking talent on both side – think Paul Pogba for France, or Luka Modric of Croatia, who might be the world’s best midfielder – there’s a chance this won’t be the usual cautiously played final. The both teams to score / over 2.5 goals scored prop is priced at +220.

France has kept forward Antoine Griezmann and winger Kylian Mbappe supplied with scoring chances throughout the tournament, so they are 1A and 1B in all goal-scorer props. Bettors who are confident of France winning the midfield battle – which boils down to Pogba and N’Golo Kante against Modric and Ivan Rakitic – might want to back France at +275 to beat the minus-1.5 goals alternate spread.

Croatia defender Ivan Strinic (groin) has an injury issue and is slated to play across from Mbappe, which might make it worth taking a flier on the French teenager to add to his World Cup account.

Croatia has had a remarkable run, as it conceded the opening goal in each knockout game – a pattern that might continue Sunday – before rallying to pull out the win. Modric controls a game as well as anyone, while forward Mario Mandzukic (+300 to score anytime) has shown he doesn’t need a high volume of chances to get on the board.

The main question hanging over the first-time World Cup finalist is whether Croatia has enough left to go toe-to-toe with France after basically playing an extra game  – the 30 minutes of extra time, multiplied by three – to reach the final.

Bettors who believe they can hold France might want to pore over the method-of-victory prop, where a France extra-time win pays +850 and a Croatia extra-time win is priced at +1800. For victory by penalty kicks, it’s France at +900 and Croatia at +1000.

Mbappe (+300) has top prop to be man of the match, followed by teammate Griezmann (+600) and Croatia’s Modric (+750).

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. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsSharkFC.libsyn.com.

World Cup quarterfinals betting preview: Brazil among odds favorites

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It could be a case of bettor beware in the first set of World Cup quarterfinals, since neither of the favorites have reached what is believed to be its peak form.

Brazil is the +110 betting favorite with Belgium coming back at +265 while the draw is priced at +235 on the three-way moneyline, and there is a 2.5 total in their World Cup quarterfinal matchup in Kazan, Russia on Friday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

History – Brazil is a five-time World Cup champion and Belgium last advanced past the quarterfinal in 1986 – might favor Neymar and the talented South Americans. The form, at least with each team’s comparative offensive efficiency during the tournament, might say otherwise.

Brazil has not allowed a goal during open play in its four matches (the only goal it has conceded was via a corner kick). It has been less than the sum of its parts – Neymar, Roberto Firmino, et al. – offensively, however. Belgium, with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne generating opportunities in the midfield, is one of the highest-scoring teams in the tournament and has the potential to pull off an upset.

The amount of natural offense on both sides means taking the over, at even money, is advisable. Both teams’ attacks have tended to heat up after halftime and there is a +175 prop on no goals being scored in the first half.

France (+100) will encounter the tautest defensive team left when it faces Uruguay (+350, draw +210) in Nizhny Novgorod in another quarterfinal matchup on Friday.

Uruguay’s defending built around center backs Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin give it a reasonable chance of holding France for the regulation 90 minutes or perhaps the 120 that would trigger penalty kicks. The draw with under 2.5 goals offers +250 on the World Cup odds.

England (-110) takes a curious history against Sweden (+370, draw +225) into a Saturday matchup in Samara, having won only two of the last 15 matchups since 1968. England has the edge in depth and potent scoring through Harry Kane – who is +105 to score any time, and +275 to score the first goal – and Raheem Sterling. Sweden’s ability to suppress deeper opponents warrants looking at the -120 under on the 2.0 total.

And Croatia (+120) hosts Russia (+285, draw +205), and each survived 120-minute marathons and penalty shootouts in the Round of 16. That outcome could happen again. Taking Croatia and midfielder Luka Modric requires a small leap of faith that they have a level to their game they did not show in their last fixture against Denmark.

Russia’s strategy will be containment. Croatia offers +135 for a clean sheet and +220 to win-to-nil, compared to +200 and +400 for Russia respectively.

During the Round of 16, favorites advanced from six of the eight matches. England, however, needed penalties against Colombia, while Belgium needed a three-goal comeback capped by a stoppage-time deciding goal against Japan.

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. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsSharkFC.libsyn.com.