Corner Picks’ holiday hiatus is over, and here’s to hoping a change in the year will lead to a change in results because we limped to the finish line in 2020. Actually, the term limp is probably being generous. It felt more like I was being dragged from the back of a horse over a field of broken glass.
I’ve been picking out shards for weeks.
Anyway, now that the Premier League is getting back to a more typical weekly schedule, it’s time for Corner Picks to get back to work. And since it’s been so long, I’ve even got a bonus pick from Serie A this weekend. All odds are via the William Hill Sportsbook.
1. Leeds United vs. Brighton
There comes a time when you have to realize that not every team will regress to the mean. For Brighton, this is that time for me. It’s become more apparent in recent weeks that Brighton isn’t going to start scoring a bunch of goals no matter what the expected goals metric says. No, it turns out that Brighton is a team that takes a lot of shots and racks up the xG, but doesn’t have enough finishing power.
Players like Neal Maupay, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Connolly and Leandro Trossard just aren’t clinical finishers. So, even against a defense as soft and welcoming as Leeds United’s, I’m betting the goals won’t flow. Leeds’s defending has been much better at home this season, and I know they can score, so I’m going to rely on them to win this one as Brighton firmly establishes itself in a relegation battle. Pick: Leeds (+115)
2. Liverpool vs. Manchester United
I was initially tempted to take the over in this one, but the juice was a little too high. Instead, I’m going to go with the option that makes a bit more sense because the reason I was so interested in taking the over is that I can’t see either one of these teams holding the other without a goal in this matchup.
Liverpool’s defense has tightened up in recent weeks, as they haven’t allowed more than 1.0 xG against in any of their last five matches. Of course, those five matches came against Crystal Palace, West Brom, Newcastle United, Southampton and a literal group of teenagers in Aston Villa jerseys (and one of those teenagers managed to score). Manchester United will pose much more of a threat. I’m hoping this one lives up to the potential. Pick: Both Teams to Score – Yes (-150)
3. Manchester City vs. Crystal Palace
Picking Manchester City to win is boring, and picking against both teams to score didn’t offer a great price. So why not combine the two? Ignoring its current place in the table, Crystal Palace is not good, and I’m expecting them to creep closer and closer to the bottom three as the season goes on. Away from home, an attack that’s already mostly lifeless is even more so. If we remove the five-goal performance Palace had against West Brom in early December, the Eagles have scored three goals in their last seven away matches.
Now they’re in a position where they’re facing a…
Read More:Corner Picks: Best bets for the Premier League weekend, now with Bonus Serie A