I'm going through something of a personal crisis right now, but I'm sure I'm not alone. You see, we've had a year straight of soccer. The pandemic caused leagues to shut down last March, but it was a year ago this week that the Bundesliga returned to action. Other leagues would soon follow, and it led to a compacted schedule that gave us matches nearly every day, let alone every weekend.
Then we had one of the shortest offseasons in history before another compacted regular season began. Now we're here a year of nearly non-stop soccer later, and we're staring the offseason in the face. This week's Corner Picks is the penultimate column of the season because it all ends next week.
Sure, the summer will bring international tournaments like the Euros, and I'm looking forward to them, but international soccer isn't quite the same, especially from a gambling perspective.
So I guess all I can do is hope to finish strong. All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.
Juventus vs. Inter Milan, Sat. 12 p.m, ESPN+
I don't think the books are thinking this one through. On the surface, it makes all the sense in the world to make Juventus the favorite. Not only is it Juventus, but they have all the motivation they need right now. Juventus not only saw its run of Serie A titles come to an end this season, but are currently outside the Champions League places. Meanwhile, Inter is the team that ended Juventus' run. They're Serie A champions with seemingly nothing to play for, but there's something else these odds don't consider.
Inter and Juventus hate each other. Inter had the title wrapped up last weekend when it beat Sampdoria 5-1. It was wrapped up on Wednesday when Inter beat Roma 3-1. Inter manager Antonio Conte -- who used to manage Juve! -- was seen yelling at Lautaro Martinez on the sideline because he felt Martinez wasn't playing hard enough.
Believe me when I tell you that the only thing better than winning Serie A for Inter this season would be to win the league and help keep Juventus out of the Champions League. There's far too much value on Inter at this price. The Pick: Inter (+215)
Roma vs. Lazio, Sat. 2:45 p.m, ESPN+
Roma's issues against the top teams in Italy are well-known, but I don't think Roma's getting enough credit at these odds. Lazio aren't exactly a juggernaut, and if we look at the expected goal (xG) differential on the season, we see that Roma are at +0.50 per match this season while Lazio are at +0.27.
Also, if we go back to the first meeting between these two, Lazio won that meeting 3-0, but the results were somewhat misleading. As far as xG is concerned, Roma won 1.3-1.0. Lazio was just lethally efficient with their shots and cruised to a win because of it. I don't expect the second edition of the Derby della Capitale to finish with as lopsided a scoreline. The Pick: Roma or Draw (-160)
Tottenham vs. Wolverhampton, Sun. 9 a.m, NBCSN
I could throw a bunch of numbers at you to explain this pick, and there are plenty to support it, but the heart of the matter is, I think Tottenham's checked out. Yes, they're still alive for a Europa League spot, but it's not likely to happen. They're a team without a manager, and they know that Ryan Mason, the person in charge now, won't be in charge by the end of next week.
It's only natural for players to start looking ahead to the offseason after what's been a very long year for everybody, and I wouldn't be shocked at all to see a Tottenham team playing at half-speed on Sunday. That makes a play on Wolves getting a result enticing. The Pick: Wolves or Draw (+145)
This week's money line parlay pays at (+170).
- Atalanta (-470)
- Liverpool (-430)
- Borussia Dortmund (-225)
- Barcelona (-400)