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The first week of the Premier League season (or any league) is hilarious. The offseason is filled with speculation about players coming and going around the league, how they'll fit into their new teams, and what those new teams will look like. Then the first match is played, and since it's the only legitimate evidence we've seen to that point, everybody commences the process of overreacting to it wildly.

A team nobody saw as a relegation candidate loses to a newly-promoted team? Now that team is in danger of relegation, it needs to fire its manager. A new signing scores two goals in his debut? The single-season scoring record is in trouble!

No matter what team you support, you saw overreactions to last week's opening match. Liverpool fans believe Manchester City's already won the league. Arsenal fans are planning trips to next year's Champions League final. Aston Villa fans started putting together lists of Steven Gerrard replacements before their loss to Bournemouth finished.

It happens every year, but when it comes to betting, you have to ignore it. While you have more information to work with based on what you saw, that's all you have: slightly more information. Liverpool are still very good, Arsenal still have flaws, and Steven Gerrard isn't getting fired soon. Just relax, and go through the same process you do every week. I write this as a tip for you and a reminder to myself. Let's see how good I am at following my own advice.

All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.

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Arsenal vs. Leicester City

Date: Saturday, Aug. 13 | Time: 10 a.m. ET | Watch: Peacock

OK, so I just told you Arsenal have flaws, and I immediately begin the picks by taking Arsenal. I promise this is not an overreaction to anything last week. If anything, it's a reflection of my concern about Leicester City. Before the season began, I took out a future on Leicester to be relegated. It's not a ticket I expect to cash, but it's a possibility I find to be more likely than the odds offered.

Leicester haven't done anything in the transfer window except lose players from last season's team, and they could lose more before the window closes. While it's more of a long-term issue, it doesn't do much to help the Foxes in the short-term, and while I'm not ready to declare Arsenal as a top-four team this year, I do think they're a much-improved team over what we saw last year, and I like their chances of winning their home-opener. Pick: Arsenal (-185)

Chelsea vs. Tottenham

Date: Sunday, Aug. 14 | Time: 11:30 a.m. ET | Watch: USA

Early in the season, we don't have much data to work off of, so there are a lot more vibes that go into my thought process, and I don't like the vibes at Chelsea right now. Todd Boehly bought the club in May, and he's giving me a bad impression. When you're taking over a club from Roman Abramovich, I understand that you want to make the fans feel better by showing that you're willing to spend money too, but I don't understand Chelsea's plan over the summer. There was interest in Ronaldo that made no sense, and then, after Marc Cucurella was linked to Manchester City all summer, Chelsea emerged late to snap him up. Cucurella is a good player, but why are Chelsea spending $73 million on a player who plays the same position as Ben Chilwell, whom they spent $55 million to get in 2020?

I'm getting strong Manchester United vibes from Chelsea at the moment, meaning that the plan seems to be "hey, I recognize that name, and other teams like him, so let's buy him," without regard for need or how the player fits. Meanwhile, Antonio Conte knows precisely what he wants and has forced Tottenham to get it for him since he took over, and as a result, Tottenham's been the third-best team in the league since he stepped in. I think Tottenham will be the better team Sunday as well, but I'm going to hedge a little by taking them to get at least a draw. Pick: Tottenham or Draw (-160)

Monza vs. Torino

Date: Saturday, Aug. 13 | Time: 2:45 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+

Promoted teams don't tend to fare well in Serie A, but Monza are not your typical newly-promoted team. They're owned by former AC Milan owner and Italian president Silvio Berlusconi, who has put enough funds into the club to help it climb from Serie D to Serie A in five years. Since earning promotion, Berlusconi and Monza have added good players with plenty of Serie A experience in Stefano Sensi and Matteo Pessina. They're also expected to bring in Andrea Petagna from Napoli soon.

Torino finished mid-table last season but saw Serie A Defender of the Year Gleison Bremer depart for Juventus. Andrea Belotti, who led the team in goals last season and six of the last seven seasons, is gone as well. While I don't think Torino are in danger of relegation, replacing your focal point in attack and best defender in the same summer doesn't usually lead to improvement. It definitely doesn't early in the season. Monza are the promoted team most likely to stick around Serie A, and there's a good chance the campaign begins with three points this weekend. Pick: Monza (+155)

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Weekend Parlay

This weekend's parlay pays +102. Hopefully it's still alive by 8:30 Saturday morning, unlike last week. Thanks, Liverpool.

  • Barcelona (-510)
  • PSG (-1300)
  • Bayern Munich (-700)
  • Fiorentina (-270)



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