I am on the hottest soccer betting run of my life. Now, keep in mind I didn't start following soccer closely until 2010, and I didn't start betting on it until roughly three years ago, but the point stands. I'm hotter than ever.
Between the weekly Corner Picks column and the special Champions League Corner Picks editions, I've been doing nothing but turning a steady profit. It's awesome. It's also a warning to all of you that every run comes to an end eventually. But you know what? It's not going to be this weekend.
Honestly, I had difficulty limiting the column to only three matches this weekend, but any good bettor knows that discipline is essential. So I'm limiting the column to three, and then I'll probably just end up betting seven or eight and lose money because of it. But I'll have fun doing it, and in the end, that's what matters. All odds are via William Hill Sportsbook.
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1. Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Saturday, 3 p.m, beIN Sports
Ordinarily, I order the weekend's picks chronologically, but I'm breaking the rules this week because this is El Clasico, and I'm not putting El Clasico last. We're talking about Real Madrid and Barcelona here! Of course, this time, things are slightly different. For most of the last decade, it's been the matches between these two giants that decided who would be Spain's champion, as they were the two teams normally at the top of the table. That's not the case now. Both sit behind Atletico Madrid. In a way, that makes this match even more important. The winner has a legitimate shot at winning La Liga, while the loser will find themselves in third place and little time left to make up ground. A draw doesn't do much for either.
So what's going to happen? Well, I've made a point of betting against Barcelona in matches like this all season. Don't get me wrong, they're still one of the world's best clubs, but this year's iteration is what I refer to as bumslayers. Barcelona beats up on the teams they're better than and loses to those on its tier or above. Barcelona have played 10 matches against teams that advanced past the Champions League's group stages, and won only three of them, with two of those wins coming against Sevilla. They've lost to Real Madrid 3-1 earlier this season. Madrid, on the other hand, is playing the best soccer of their season with five straight wins, including a 3-1 win over Liverpool during the week. They've picked up 10 wins out of 12 matches and haven't lost since January 30. Finally, even in empty stadiums, Barcelona's been better at home than on the road, so every way I look at this match, I see Real Madrid winning. The Pick: Real Madrid (+190)
2. Parma vs. AC Milan, Saturday, 12 p.m, ESPN+
The new year has been rough for AC Milan. They finished last season strong and carried that momentum into the new one. As the calendar flipped from 2020 to 2021, the Rossoneri found themselves atop Serie A. Now, in early April, as the end of the season approaches, Milan are 11 points behind rival Inter and just hoping to hold onto a place in the Champions League spots. Part of that's due to regression, and a lot of it is due simply to Inter playing spectacular football, but there's also Milan's defending. It hasn't been great all season, but Milan scored enough that it didn't matter as much. Now the goals have dried up a bit, but the defense remains.
And it's a defense that has kept a clean sheet (shutout) in only two of its last 16 matches. It's that defense we're counting on to show up Saturday against a Parma side that's in a fight for its Serie A livelihood, but also a side that's been unlucky at home. Parma have scored only nine goals in 15 home matches despite an expected goals (xG) of 16.7. Meanwhile, Milan have allowed only 13 goals in 14 away matches despite an xG allowed of 18.4. Something's got to give, and it will on Saturday. The Pick: Both Teams to Score (-125)
3. Tottenham vs. Manchester United, Sunday, 11:30 a.m, Peacock
The first meeting between these two back in October was one of the craziest Premier League matches of the season. Tottenham came out of nowhere to blitz Man United 6-1 at Old Trafford, and it wasn't some kind of fluke performance. However, a lot of time has passed since then, and time moves a lot slower when you live under Jose Mourinho. This is a Spurs team that, at times, looks like it just wants the season to end, but it's also a Spurs team that has enough talent to be in the top four race anyway.
But it's also a Spurs team that has cooled off considerably since that 6-1 win and their early-season success against England's best. In Spurs last seven league matches against England's "Big Six," Tottenham's won only once (a 2-0 win over Arsenal), drawn once (0-0 to Chelsea) and lost the other five by a combined score of 11-3. Meanwhile, Manchester United's only loss since late January came in the FA Cup quarterfinals. I'm backing the Red Devils on Sunday. The Pick: Manchester United (+145)
This week's parlay pays out at +184, and we're hoping nobody pulls a Chelsea and loses to freaking West Brom.
- Bayern Munich (-200)
- Inter (-390)
- Juventus (-400)
- Monaco (-490)