Manchester City suffered its first Premier League defeat of the season, and it was against Tottenham Hotspur, whose fans — at least, some of them — are now thinking of a possible title challenge. Things just got a bit hotter in the world of Premier League betting, so let's look at some of the best odds and picks for the matches on October 15-17.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15
Chelsea vs. Leicester
Chelsea got back on track against Hull City, though that was an expected 2-0 victory over a team that has considerably less in the way of firepower and financial resources. Leicester, with its summer reinforcements throughout the team, is still a team trying to regain its swagger of last season, and in many ways this is a meeting of two works-in-progress.
Chelsea's defence has shown itself to be vulnerable to pace, and Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton will fancy their chances of causing an upset at Stamford Bridge.
Top Bet: 11/2 with Paddy Power for a Leicester City win
Arsenal vs. Swansea City
A clinical and hard-won victory over Burnley moved Arsenal up to third in the table, and it seems like it might be time to get optimistic about the long-term prospects for this exciting attacking team. Theo Walcott says hard work on the training ground is what has changed him from a bit-part winger to an essential striker, while his partnership with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil speaks volumes about keeping a team together for as long as possible.
Swansea's new boss, the much-travelled American Bob Bradley, has the whole international break to try and address the problems with team spirit, goalscoring and defending in the Swans team, but he may need more time than that.
Top Bet: 11/17 with 10Bet for Arsenal to win by two or more goals
Bournemouth vs. Hull City
Bournemouth began this season as one of the teams tipped to be relegated, but with two wins and two draws from seven games, Eddie Howe's team looks more than capable of staying up again, as it stands at the moment. The addition of Jack Wilshere on loan didn't help much against an improving but inconsistent Watford last time out.
With Hull having conceded 14 goals in seven games while picking up a reasonable total of seven points, and Bournemouth having let in 11 so far, it's fairly clear there will be goals in this game. It's possible these two sides might cancel each other out.
Top Bet: 13/5 with Betfair for a draw
Manchester City vs. Everton
It says something for how hyped Manchester City had been this season that defeat to Tottenham's high press was seen as a shock. However it might help City in the long term, given that Spurs exposed a weakness to the table-toppers' passing game, notably that it's possible for very good, fast, players to break down the passing movements using extreme pressure.
Everton had a good start to the season but has lost and drawn its last two games, and Ronald Koeman has spoken about some players needing to review faults in their game, most notably Ross Barkley. There's a good chance of Everton, with Romelu Lukaku having scored five times thus far, putting the ball past Claudio Bravo, but this still seems like a City win.
Top Bet: 21/10 with Paddy Power for Lukaku to score anytime
Stoke City vs. Sunderland
The two bottom clubs, who have scored 11 goals between them and conceded 29 in total, meet with each looking for a first win. It's really been a desperate season so far, particularly for Stoke, a team which looked to have bought well in the summer, also keeping key attacking resources like Marko Arnautovic and Bojan.
Both Stoke and Sunderland grabbed draws last weekend, and in this game, the fear of making a crucial mistake that will prey on both teams runs the risk of causing a similar result.
Top Bet: 13/5 with Betway for a draw
West Bromwich Albion vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs, on a high after beating Manchester City, heads to the Hawthorns for a different kind of challenge. Spurs are great at pushing attacking teams into making mistakes, and then transitioning quickly, but West Brom is a team that also prefers to counter-attack, somewhat nullifying the visitors' gifts.
It would be an unlikely victory for West Brom over a Tottenham team in this kind of form, with Son Heung-Min playing so well as a makeshift striker. The chances are that West Brom, which has drawn its last two league matches, will put up a fight but eventually lose out to Spurs' attacking quality.
Top Bet: 17/5 with BetStars for a half-time/full-time result of draw/Tottenham
Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United
Three wins and a draw have catapulted Palace from just above the relegation zone, up into the top half of the table. The team is too reliant on Christian Benteke for goals, but the Belgian is responding well and has three for the season.
West Ham needed a piece of Dimitri Payet magic to draw with an underperforming Middlesbrough at the London Stadium, and with Palace's attack working far better at the moment than Boro's, an understaffed Hammers defence could be in trouble. Nonetheless, West Ham looks to be gradually improving, and should have enough to draw this game.
Top Bet: 5/2 with BoyleSports for a draw
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16
Middlesbrough vs. Watford
Boro has won only once in its last six games, and its entire defence was bamboozled last time out by improvisational magic from Payet. Even a strikeforce as blunt as Middlesbrough's (Alvaro Negredo and Jordan Rhodes are both struggling) should be able to grab a goal against goal-leaking Watford, which has let in 13 so far.
However, Troy Deeney is back on the goal trail, and with Isaac Success having opened his own account for the season, Success can bring good fortune to the visiting team.
Top Bet: 12/5 with Ladbrokes for a Watford win
Southampton vs. Burnley
A confusing season for Saints, which has had to bed in a number of new players and adjust to the different demands of manager Claude Puel, might have turned the corner. Notwithstanding the draw against Leicester last weekend, Southampton's preceding wins over Sparta Prague (in Europe), Swansea, Crystal Palace (in the League Cup) and West Ham, as well as a goalless draw with Hapoel Beer Sheva, were all clean sheets.
All this means that Southampton, defending fantastically, should be able to overcome Burnley's onslaught of good old-fashioned long passes and carve out a narrow win.
Top Bet: 11/4 with Bet365 for a half-time/full-time result of draw/Southampton
MONDAY OCTOBER 17
Liverpool vs. Manchester United
Liverpool is beginning to look a bit freewheeling under Jürgen Klopp, something that cements the German's reputation as a top manager. Roberto Firmino, who scored in the 2-1 win over Swansea last weekend, is brimming with confidence, while most of the manager'as judgement calls, such as putting James Milner at left-back, seem to have worked out well.
United might be faltering at times, with two losses, a win and a draw leading into this game, but there are signs that Jose Mourinho has found his best team after chopping and changing in early weeks. There is rarely any quarter given in these fixtures between two bitter rivals, and there will be precious little to choose between the sides here.
Top Bet: 12/5 for a draw with Ladbrokes
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