Brian’s Picks, Sunday October 18th
No way to sugar-coat it, yesterday’s picks were trash. After a strong end to last season’s Premier League and Champions League picks, I went 0-4 Saturday. I feel much more confident about Sunday’s slate of games, though. Here are my picks for the remaining Premier League games as well as three MLS games that I feel strongly about.
West Ham @ Tottenham
I happen to think that a Tottenham win (-165) is way overpriced, and I like a value pick to at draw (+335), and a bit less so for a West Ham win (+460). The Spurs optimist feels like their last two monster wins (6-1 vs ManU and 7-2 against Maccabi Haifa) is the sign of a team that’s maybe again living up to its talent. And yes, they’ve had bursts where they look absolutely incendiary going forward, but if you’re banking on a Jose Mourinho team being high-flying and swashbuckling, you haven’t been watching soccer the last 15 years. And if you think that Tottenham can maintain its peaks and not begin to stumble inexplicably, you’ve not been watching Tottenham for the last forever. That said, while I do like a draw as a value buy, if I’m making a pick, it’s Tottenham.
PICK: Tottenham (-165)
Fulham @ Sheffield
My goodness, this one is a stinker featuring the two worst teams in the Premier League. The Sheffield squad that earned promotion into the Premier League and pleasantly surprised by finishing 9th is certainly a distant memory. Sheffield has lost five matches in a row, three of them shutout losses. Fulham is has also gone winless, and their point differential (-8) is tied for worst in the League. Both teams are so inept that Fulham’s (+260) to win seem quite appealing; certainly moreso than Sheffield’s odds to win (+105). I would walk from this dog poop, but if you really feel like putting down some money, I like Fulham to win.
Pick: Fulham (+260)
Crystal Palace (175) – Brighton (175)
This has “walk away” written all over it. Gun to my head, I would put money on a draw (+230) between these two evenly matched teams, but I don’t see anything in here suggesting that one team has a distinct tactical, talent, or form advantage over the other. But since I gotta make a pick…
Pick: Draw (+230)
Leicester – Aston Villa
This one is the easiest game of the weekend. The better team playing at home at (-105)? Yes please.
Pick: Leicester (-105)
LA Galaxy – Vancouver
Vancouver hasn’t looked great of late. They’re coming off consecutive 2-1 losses to LAFC and RSL preceded by an indefensible 3-0 loss to San Jose. And yes, perhaps the rigors of a peripatetic Odyssian season are wearing on the WhiteCaps. That said… bruh… I mean, really… the Galaxy are in full collapse. Their last win was September 6th, and in the 7 games since they’ve scored 5 goals and given up 19. They’ve surrendered 10 (!!!) goals in their last two games. That, plus the fact that Vancouver has won its last two versus the Galaxy and still has something to play for, and I see this as a very good bet for Vancouver to win (+450).
Timbers – LAFC
Timbers had a 5-match winning streak broken by RSL, and I think this team gets right back on the horse. When Sebastian Blanco went down for the season with a knee injury, it was fair to ask whether an aging Valeri could still do enough to spark the needed offense. The offense is back, as evidenced by 10 goals in the last three games. Of equal importance, the Timbers have been disciplined on defense. We know how this game will play out: LAFC will possess and attack, and the question is whether the Timbers can keep their shape and counterattack smartly. I think they do… good enough for a draw at home. I really gave consideration to a Timbers outright win (+140), but in the end I couldn’t justify it.
Pick: DRAW (+270)
San Jose – Seattle
West-leading Seattle is a solid bet, especially at (+115). San Jose has gone through a dire stretch, and the Sounders are playing good ball. This one doesn’t seem hard.