I like to consider myself a good person, or at the very least, a person who is not actively bad. There are occasions when I have a thought pop into my head and then realize it's purely selfish and unsympathetic to any other human being.
For example, let's look at what's happening at Chelsea. Roman Abramovich was planning sell the club because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and what the British government would do to him if he didn't. Though, before he could, the British government went ahead and dropped sanctions on him, freezing his assets, including Chelsea. So, we have a situation where Ukrainians are dealing with an invasion, Chelsea fans are dealing with uncertainty surrounding their greatest passion, and Chelsea players have no idea what's to become of them and what it all means (and who is going to pay their salaries). So many lives are being impacted by this -- some far greater than others, of course -- and do you want to know my first thought?
"I wonder how this will impact the Chelsea/Newcastle line on Sunday."
So, yeah, like I said. I don't think I'm actively bad, but I do sometimes wonder if I'm good. If not, let's hope my handicapping skills are. All odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Date: Saturday, March 12 | Time: 12:30 p.m. ET | Watch: Peacock
It's a battle between the two clubs everyone loves to make fun of, and I think it will be a fun match to watch. It's damn near impossible to predict what either of these teams will do from week to week, but Tottenham seem to have found the right gear under Antonio Conte. While there was the 1-0 loss to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, I don't know that Tottenham care much about the FA Cup right now. However, if we look at their last two Premier League matches, we've seen Tottenham outscore Leeds United and Everton 9-0. Granted, it's two clubs fighting to survive in the Premier League, but the fact Tottenham treated them as such is what's encouraging. There have been too many times when this team has played to the level of its competition and let matches like these slip past.
As for Manchester United, the results have not been good lately, but the team hasn't been as bad as the narrative surrounding it would have you believe. Remove the Atlético Madrid and Manchester City matches, and United has averaged 2.23 expected goals (xG) over their last seven matches. Defensively, they've been fine in every match except last week's against City, but City can pick anybody's defense apart. Saturday's match sets up to be an entertaining and high-paced affair. Pick: Over 2.5 (-130)
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Arsenal vs. Leicester City
Date: Sunday, March 13 | Time: 12:30 p.m. ET | Watch: USA
Arsenal are good again. This is excellent news for Arsenal supporters but horrible news for Corner Picks enthusiasts who remember how profitable our Fade Arsenal Principle was last season. It's a relic of the past now, but don't worry, we'll find something else to replace it. For now, let's just bet on a lot of goals being scored in this one. While Arsenal have turned a corner and climbed to fourth place, winning four straight, it's been due to their overwhelming attack. In those wins, Arsenal scored eight goals on 7.9 xG and allowed four goals on an xG allowed of 3.9. Those are good numbers, but they also show that Arsenal are still vulnerable defensively.
This weekend they face a Leicester team that's won four straight as well and have been scoring goals in bunches. The Foxes have failed to score in only one of their last 22 matches. They've scored eight goals during the latest win streak, and while they've posted three straight shutouts, they had an xG against of 2.9 in their two matches against Burnley and Leeds (I don't have xG numbers for Europa Conference League matches). That luck is due to run out against a stronger side like Arsenal. Pick: Over 2.5 (-160)
Udinese vs. Roma
Date: Sunday, March 13 | Time: 1 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+
Considering Jose Mourinho's pragmatic nature as a manager, it shouldn't surprise that Roma has performed better on the road this season than at home. Being on the road allows Mourinho to let his team play the way he wants them to, and it's been effective for the most part. While Roma have allowed 20 goals in 13 away matches in league play, their xG against is only 14.8, and their xG differential (xG minus xG allowed) is 0.86 per match. That's the best mark in Serie A. Roma is playing well right now, winning three straight matches without conceding after a rough patch in early February.
They're facing an Udinese team that's been uninspiring all season. I knew this team would miss Rodrigo De Paul after selling him to Atletico Madrid, but it's been worse than expected. Of their seven Serie A wins this season, only one has come against a team in the top half of the table, and even that win was against 10th place Sassuolo on Nov. 7. Pick: Roma (+135)
We're keeping it a little smaller again this week, but the payout is still nice at +129.
- AC Milan (-285)
- Borussia Dortmund (-370)
- Atalanta (-300)