Chelsea hosts Tottenham as betting favorites in highlight EPL match

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Chelsea has so thoroughly owned Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge that one wouldn’t expect that to change when the Blues have a chance to re-open the race for a top-four spot in the English Premier League.

Chelsea is a +135 favorite with Tottenham Hotspur coming back at +205 while the draw offers +230 on the three-way moneyline for this English Premier League betting matchup set for Sunday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Chelsea is unbeaten in its last 30 home matches against Tottenham, dating back to February 1990. The Spurs are unbeaten in their 10 most recent away matches (five wins, five draws), but forward Harry Kane (ankle) will probably not be at 100 percent match fitness if he’s able to play.

Willian, the Blues’ Brazilian winger, has been a bright spot amid some recent struggles for Chelsea. Each team is among the top six in the EPL in scoring and the over on the 2.5 total is well-priced at -105.

Relegation-threatened Crystal Palace (+550) host Liverpool (-205, draw +340) in one of the Saturday betting matchups, with Liverpool no doubt preoccupied with a Champions League quarterfinal first-leg match against Manchester City on April 10. Third-place Liverpool isn’t in position to take a game off, though, and Romelu Lukaku has been scoring at more than a goal-per-game pace over his last 10 appearances. Crystal Palace is even money at plus-1 goals, which conjures up a scenario where they almost manage to cadge a 0-0 or 1-1 tie.

Watford (+125) and Bournemouth (+210, draw +230) are sitting tied for 10th place, so it is imperative for the Hornets to get the win at home. Watford’s Troy Deeney has four goals in his last three starts against Bournemouth. Watford has also allowed the most goals at home in the league, so the -120 over on the 2.5 total has good value.

Manchester United (-475) had some starters nicked-up during the recent international break, but it has won its last four home matchups, while Swansea City (+1300, draw +500) has generated little offense on the road all season. United’s injuries might well push Alexis Sanchez into a bigger role and the -120 on its minus-1.5 goals line is good value.

West Ham United (+180) finds itself a slight underdog for its first home game since a pitch invasion by frustrated fans three weeks ago, taking on Southampton (+160, draw +215), who is one place below it in the relegation zone. Southampton may regain striker Charlie Austin (hamstring) and are worth taking, perhaps on the double chance.

Arsenal (-325) is on a three-win streak and has an April 5 Europe League match on its plate, while Stoke City (+850, draw +475) comes into this Sunday betting matchup on a seven-match winless skid in league play. With the 19th-placed Potters likely to play desperate, there’s a distinct possibility of the teams trading chances and both scoring, so the over on the 3.5 total is attainable.

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.

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.