Matches are oddly spread out this week, due to the other competitions going on mid-week in England. It’ll go back to normal in Gameweek 27 (Feb. 22) with a large EPL DFS Saturday slate. We’ll have plenty of opportunities to make profit in this Gameweek 26, however, with six different slates between Feb. 8 Feb. 17. Let’s break down these matches and get you set with some fantasy Premier League thoughts for Saturday.
The goal of this article is to give you a view of the matches at hand from a technical/matchup point of view. Are the odds in line with the most likely outcome? Who’s in/out for each team? How does their current form reflect how they perform in the match at hand? Hopefully I can answer these questions while giving you the best chance at making consistent profit on soccer. (Note: sometimes the best bet is no bet. Don’t force it if it’s not there.) Scroll to the bottom for a summary.
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Friday, Feb. 14
Leicester City (+185) at Wolverhampton (+150)
In the midst of a bit of a disappointing season, Wolverhampton have a lot on the line here as their terrible start forced such. They’ve been hot and cold with questionable results even of late. They can compete with almost anyone on their best day, though, which is why they’re slightly favored at home against the piping hot Leicester City. The only relevant team news is Wilfred Ndidi returning to full fitness which should tidy up Leicester’s back line.
In a crucial match for both sides, the ninth-place Wolves will keep things compact against third-place Leicester. They know that a deficit to the likes of Jamie Vardy and James Maddison would be deadly, as the Wolves being forced to push forward (in order to level the score) would open space on the counter where Leicester thrives. The tighter the better as Wolverhampton sees it. This match is tough to predict, as a goal from either side would change things heavily. I don’t see Wolves overperforming from their mean and they will settle for yet another draw.
Best Play: No play
Saturday, Feb. 15
Burnley (+400) @ Southampton (-145)
Burnley has reason for optimism after putting in a solid performance against Arsenal 10 days ago despite a draw. Before that, they were able to rattle off two strong wins against Manchester United and Leicester City. The strikeforce of Jay Rodriguez and Chris Wood is playing well at the moment. As for Southampton, expect them to come out hot as they’ll be disappointed in themselves after being demolished by Liverpool. They’ve been in almost every match they play, so at home against Burnley, this will look like a must-win in their eyes.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who and what Burnley are. They’ll play defensively and compact as long as possible while countering when the opportunities present themselves. Southampton will surely see this as a must-win and should go out and control the pace of the match. Burnley’s attack has shown signs of life as well. As such, I absolutely love both teams to score and the over 2.5 goals.
Best Play: Over 2.5 goals (-106)
Alternative: Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 Goals (+155)
Liverpool (-325) @ Norwich (+800)
I’ll really be going out on a limb in saying that the undefeated Liverpool will earn a win or draw against Norwich who allow the third most shots, third most crosses, and fourth most chances created. I could see them putting up a fight with not much to lose at this point and coming in with a little bit of confidence, but Liverpool will be too dominant to cope with. At the moment, Liverpool matches are difficult to handicap. Although we expect them to get the win, it’s tough to say by what margin and/or if they concede. There’s no value with the straight up win, so it’s a pass for me this week. Both sides should start their first choice lineup with Emi Buendia due back for Norwich and Sadio Mane due back for Liverpool.
Liverpool have an important clash in Spain against Atletico Madrid next Tuesday, so Liverpool coming out flat to start isn’t out of the question completely. In my opinion we’ll see shades of that, but the team who are far superior gets the job done in the end.
Prediction: 2-1 Liverpool
Best Play: No Play
Sunday, Feb. 16
Tottenham (-130) @ Aston Villa (+340)
There’s a small window for Aston Villa to nab their first win against a top tier side this season. With lofty aspirations and big signings, it hasn’t exactly worked out, sitting just a point above relegation, but they’ve shown time and time again that they can hang around with the best despite the final result not being there. Spurs will surely have their eyes set on Wednesday’s clash with RB Leipzig, as we see so often with Champions League clubs. Villa are no slouches and will undoubtedly be looking to attack, attack, attack; especially through Jack Grealish who has been heavily linked to transferring to Tottenham in the past.
Harry Kane is still out and they’ve been forced to start a makeshift fullback in Japhet Tanganga. It’s not the Spurs we’ve known of past seasons. We should see each team hit the scoresheet, but I like the value with the home win.
Prediction: 2-1 Aston Villa
Best Play: Aston Villa to win (+316)
Monday, Feb. 17
Manchester United (+360) @ Chelsea (-130)
The Bruno Fernandes era in Manchester was lackluster to say the least, but at least they got a result to the tune of a 0-0 draw. I’m a big believer in Fernandes’ ability, but the Premier League could take some adjusting to for the Portuguese. In reality, United are nothing special at the moment despite the aura of the club, and have shown no signs of improvement. Chelsea should win this.
The mediocrity of United is frustrating. With a two week break, it’s possible that Fernandes gets more adjusted into the team and provides a flare that hasn’t been there. There aren’t many exploitable matchups on either side, and this one feels like a cagey match with a moment or two of brilliance from one of the creators to ultimately decide the outcome.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Best Play: No play
Wednesday, Feb. 19
West Ham (+2200) @ Manchester City (-1000)
There’s no need to make a big scene here. It’s City all the way. The only outcome here is a City domination slash breaking out party slash statement game. They aren’t catching Liverpool in the title race, but you best believe Guardiola will get his men back on track. They have their eyes set on the Champions League. It’s been a few weeks since we saw City dominate a match in all aspects. There are a few injury concerns with Benjamin Mendy and Raheem Sterling, but whoever Pep sends out will put in a strong performance.
Update: This was written about a week ago before the match was postponed (weather) and moved to Wednesday the 19th. Massive news has just broke that City are banned from Champions League participation for the next two seasons due to ‘financial fair play regulations’. They are still eligible to participate in this season’s competition. It’s hard to tell how the news will impact this weeks match against West Ham. I planned on placing City -2.5 goals, but honestly I couldn’t blame them if their spirits are simply crushed. I’ll pass, but expect City to win regardless.
Prediction: 4-1 City
Updated Prediction: 3-1 City
Best Play: No play
Burnley @ Southampton – Over 2.5 goals
Recommended Stake: 4 units
Tottenham @ Aston Villa – Aston Villa to win
Recommended Stake: 2.5 units