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Sunday’s Premier League schedule is a tantalizing one for supporters, with all four matches carrying significant weight in the European races and the fight to avoid relegation.
After previewing Saturday’s slate, let’s dive into the second half of Matchday 35, starting with the game of the weekend.
Arsenal (+165) at Tottenham (+150), Draw (+225)
Sunday will mark the first north London derby for new Tottenham and Arsenal managers Jose Mourinho and Mikel Arteta after Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery oversaw the 2-2 draw at the Emirates in early September.
Spurs lost their swagger long before Mourinho’s arrival, but he’s done little to help them rediscover it. The side still lacks sufficient inventiveness, initiative, and confidence, and now fatigue is starting to creep in. It was visible against Bournemouth, and Tottenham’s glaring predictability and lethargy in possession were concerning.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have enjoyed a positive run of results, but Arteta still has his work cut out for him. The Gunners at least appear to have the right man in charge, which can’t currently be said of Spurs. With some patience from Arsenal and a few transfer windows under his belt, it will be exciting to see the team’s transformation under Arteta. Of the two rivals, Arsenal are the ones headed in the right direction.
That said, this match isn’t being played six months down the road; the outlook matters little here. Spurs have more quality in their side at the moment and will be considered favorites to claim a crucial three points, but talent alone won’t be enough.
Belief will play a bit part in this match, and the Gunners certainly have more of that right now. They also have an advantage in the form of two extra days of rest. The significance of that edge can’t be understated in this typically physical derby, especially after fatigue hindered Spurs at the Vitality Stadium on Thursday. It should be enough for Arsenal to steal a point, maintain their unbeaten run, and remain ahead of Tottenham in the table.
Pick: Draw (+225)
Crystal Palace (+225) at Aston Villa (+115), Draw (+220)
With both Watford and Bournemouth picking up points this week, Villa will be seriously feeling the pressure. Dean Smith’s side has been trying to dig itself out of this hole for a while now, and one has to wonder what sort of mental toll it’s taken. Play restarted relatively recently, yet Villa already look like they need a break.
That’s a serious concern, and it’s a major reason why I believe they’ll be relegated. The other issue is in attack, where they’ve been miserable of late. Villa have scored just twice in six matches since the restart, and one of those tallies was the direct result of a goalkeeping error.
Perhaps Palace’s injuries in defense will help Villa find a bit of a rhythm going forward, but the visitors still pose a much greater threat on the front foot. The Eagles have nothing left to play for and are in the midst of a dreadful run of results, but their performances have been better than the scorelines suggest. They have too much quality and discipline to be turned over by a toothless Villa outfit. All signs point to a 0-0 or 1-1 finish in West Midlands.
Pick: Draw (+220)
(Odds source: BetaSoccer Bet)
Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for BetaSoccer. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.