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Fine Margins: EPL Matchday 7 best bets



Leeds v Nottingham Forest (Monday 12 September, 3 p.m. ET)

Jesse Marsch’s army have touched greatness and badness in equal measure at times this season and it is perfectly mirrored in their statistics; played six, won two, drawn two, lost two, goals for, 10, goals against, 10.

It’s the type of symmetry that makes us almost annoyed that it’ll be interrupted by the visit of Nottingham Forest on Monday, but we’ll be backing Marsch and his band of American brothers to see off a Nottingham Forest team that are overrated by the market.

Leeds are better at home than they are on the road, having taken seven points from nine at Elland Road, and if they’d taken their chances against Everton last time out, it could have been all three.

But this is less about Leeds being good and more about Forest being particularly bad, and the market is yet to catch on. They may have made 22 signings but that’s now way, way, way too many. They have pushed the balance of the squad too far in the opposite direction and the market is seeing this as a positive when, in fact, it appears to be a negative so far.

Manager Steve Cooper’s strengths lie in effective coaching and molding of a tactical philosophy, but it’s difficult to do that with so many incomings. This is effectively still a new team, getting to know one another. And it’s not happening quickly enough.

The capitulation to Bournemouth - another equally poor team - at the weekend when 2-0 up suggests fractured confidence and a team that needs to find itself, and fast.

But it won’t be fast enough. Leeds’ odds are too good to turn down and even though you’ll need to wait until Monday, it will be worth it.

Pick: Leeds to win (-129, Caesars)


Arsenal v Everton (Sunday, 11 September, 9 a.m. ET)

Key Injury News: 

  • Arsenal: Thomas Partey a major doubt
  • Everton: Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford out with hamstring injury

Arsenal are still smarting after their 3-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford last Sunday. The Gunners performed well but lost control in the latter stages and indeed, after a strong start, they have relinquished spells in their last three matches ahead of Everton’s visit on Sunday.

They have picked up nine points from nine at home, but have conceded in all three matches and four in total. Their defensive unit, with William Saliba slotting in nicely, has been roundly praised but they are far from fallible at the back.

So we think Everton might score, then, which is at odds with their record so far. Frank Lampard’s side have scored just four in six games, but expected goals shows they’ve been a little unfortunate (7.2 xG) and so we want to keep them onside on the goal front.

We’re still not particularly convinced that Everton are a good team, however.

And what could compound their problems is an injury to arguably their standout player of the season, Jordan Pickford. The goalkeeper has been in hot form. His post-shot expected goals is interesting; this statistic shows which goalkeepers have saved more goals than expected based on the quality of shot they face. The higher the positive number, the better they have played. Pickford’s +3.4 means he’s basically personally prevented over half a goal per game for his team - way ahead of the rest of the league.

And now he’s out, which means we want to get Arsenal onside, but bring goals into the mix, too. Arsenal have struck eight in their three home EPL matches so far, and therefore we like Arsenal to win and both teams to score. It would have landed in every home match so far, and given the stats mentioned above, we are happy to side with the selection here.

Pick: Arsenal to win and both teams to score (+220, Bet 365)


Man City v Tottenham (Saturday, 10 September, 12.30 p.m. ET)

The game of the weekend should be a cracker at the Etihad, and if this one matches the drama of last season, then we are in for another treat.

Harry Kane produced one of his best performances in a Tottenham jersey as Spurs won 3-2 that day and he does seem to like the counterattack opportunities afforded to him by City’s style of play.

Kane has had a total of 17 shots in his last four matches, eight of which have landed on target. This Tottenham team under Antonio Conte have the ability to cause problems. Crystal Palace, though they would ultimately lose 4-2, showed that there are opportunities to score available. Kane will likely be at the center of that and his price of +333 to have over 1.5 shots on target certainly appeals.

And let’s add in Erling Haaland to score any time at -150. With the rate he’s going, these odds are too good to turn down. Given he’s struck in six of his seven matches this season, the likelihood of it happening again is on our side.

Doubling up gives us a tasty +650. Have some small stakes fun with this one and enjoy the match!

Pick: Haaland to score, Kane over 1.5 shots on target (+650, Bet365)