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The five substitute rule is coming to the Premier League, and it saddens me. I understood why leagues adopted the change during the COVID seasons, when they played condensed schedules, but I feared that they would become permanent because I don't like what they do to individual matches.

The best teams will separate themselves from everybody else throughout an entire season. It's a result of those clubs not only having more talented players but having more players who are talented. Top teams from across Europe have benches full of players who could compete for Champions League spots if they were to form their own teams. Having five subs per match only widens the gap between those teams in a match as well.

Now, when some upstart smaller club takes a shocking 1-0 lead on a bigger club and has outfoxed and outplayed them, the bigger club's manager can just change half his team to get things right. The smaller club won't have that benefit because it usually won't have five players worth subbing on to begin with.

It gives certain managers a chance to quickly fix their mistakes in-match rather than dealing with the consequences, and it's going to lead to fewer of the exciting upsets you see during a weekend. If you're a fan of a club that isn't a Champions League regular, those wins are what you remember. They've already taken your ability to compete for trophies from you; now they're taking your little moments of triumph too.

All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.

Juventus vs. Inter Milan

Date: Sunday, April 3 | Time: 2:45 p.m. ET | Watch: CBS Sports Network/Paramount+

This is a massive match in Serie A. Not just because it's between the two clubs that have dominated the league for so long, but because it's almost a must-win for each if they want to entertain the idea of winning the league this season. Inter are six points behind rival AC Milan in the table (with a match in hand), while Juventus are a point behind Inter. Fortunately for both, it seems they're secure in the fight for a Champions League spot with a sizable gap between the fifth place, but nothing is guaranteed there, either.

The international break couldn't have come at a much better time for either because Inter had been in a rut, winning only two of their last nine matches across all competitions. Juventus had won four straight Serie A matches, but they were all against bottom-dwellers, and the underlying defensive numbers weren't pretty. With all that's on the line in the league, and with both teams trying to tighten up leaky defenses, I anticipate seeing both teams take a more pragmatic approach this weekend. Pick: Under 2.5 (-125)

Wolverhampton vs. Aston Villa

Date: Saturday, April 2 | Time: 10 a.m. ET | Watch: CNBC

When we last met here in Corner Picks two weeks ago, I told you how Aston Villa had struggled against the teams above it in the Premier League table. Wolverhampton are one of those teams, and they beat Aston Villa 3-2 earlier this season. That score does not tell the entire story. Aston Villa had a 2-0 lead after 80 minutes before Wolverhampton scored three goals in the final 15 minutes (Ruben Neves' game-winner came in the fifth minute of stoppage time). It was an incredible comeback, and one of the final straws for Dean Smith at Aston Villa before Steven Gerrard replaced him.

Aston Villa have been a much better team under Gerrard, particularly defensively. While they struggled in attack their last two matches, it was primarily due to not having Lucas Digne. Digne is a crucial part of how Gerrard has his team set up to attack, and he's expected to return this weekend. Meanwhile, Wolverhampton will be without Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez. Neves is still dealing with a knee injury, while Jimenez is suspended for picking up a red card against Leeds. Those are two crucial parts of what Wolverhampton do in attack, and while they've been one of the best defensive teams in the Premier League, the metrics suggest they can't stay as "lucky" as they have been for long. Villa is a terrific value at this price. Pick: Aston Villa (+155)

Atalanta vs. Napoli

Date: Sunday, April 3 | Time: 9 a.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+

Another Serie A match that feels like a must-win for both parties. Napoli need a win to keep pace with AC Milan in the race for the league title, and a loss here would likely destroy their chances of doing so. If Atalanta want to keep any hope alive of catching Juventus and getting back into the Champions League next season, they can't afford to drop any more points either. Where this match differs from the Juventus clash against Inter clash is that I don't expect either of these teams to get conservative.

Atalanta only know how to play one way, and that's all out. Napoli can be more conservative, but they've struggled defensively when facing Italy's stronger teams. All of which should lead to a high-scoring affair. When these two met in Naples earlier this season, Atalanta won 3-2. That's nothing new between these two, as there have been 22 goals scored in the last five league matches between them. Let's bet on that trend continuing. Pick: Over 2.5 (-105)

Weekend Parlay

The three-leggers have been good to us lately, so we're sticking with them for another weekend. It pays +135.

  • Eintracht Frankfurt (-225)
  • Atlético Madrid (-265)
  • PSG (-550)



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