I love the January transfer window. It's much more ridiculous than the summer window when the rumors you hear have a hint of realism to them. That's not the case in January. In January, the only players you see move are typically malcontents and players who have fallen out of favor with their manager. Yet, that doesn't stop you from hearing rumors about mega deals being made.
That's not to say they don't happen, but they're rare. So keep that in mind every time you hear the latest rumor about Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic going to either Arsenal or Juventus. Fiorentina knows they have Vlahovic for a limited time. However, it's also a club still in the hunt for a Europa League spot in Serie A, and Vlahovic is under contract, so what motivation do they have to sell him for anything less than a dumb offer?
And by "dumb offer," I don't mean the rumors of Juventus swapping Dejan Kulusevski and money for Vlahovic (though that's a dumb offer); I mean Newcastle United's new owners throwing $200 million at Fiorentina for him. Unless that happens, bet on Vlahovic -- and every other big name you hear -- finishing the season with their current team. After you bet on that, bet on these matches with me. All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Date: Sunday, Jan. 23 | Time: 11:30 a.m. | TV: None | Live Stream: Peacock
Chelsea just beat Tottenham 3-0 across two legs in the Carabao Cup semis, and I think that's impacting the line for this one a little too much. Outside those two matches, Chelsea haven't been at their best lately. They've been struggling in attack -- outside of a match against Chesterfield, anyway -- and not creating many chances. That was why Chelsea lost to Manchester City last week and could only manage a draw against Brighton on Tuesday. Then there's the match congestion, which is likely playing a role in these struggles. This will be Chelsea's seventh match in January, so they're playing a match once every three days after playing nine matches in December.
Then there's Tottenham. While they lost two cup matches to Chelsea, they haven't lost a Premier League match since Antonio Conte took over, and they're flying high after a miraculous comeback against Leicester on Wednesday. While momentum doesn't exist in sports, confidence does, and Tottenham look like a team that believes in itself for the first time in a long time. It pays off Sunday. Pick: Tottenham or Draw (+110)
AC Milan vs. Juventus
Date: Sunday, Jan. 23 | Time: 2:45 p.m. | TV: None | Live Stream: Paramount+
Juventus got off to a terrible start to the season, and it could cost them a Champions League spot, but they've been playing much better since the end of November. They've only lost one of their last 11 matches (eight wins), and that loss was a 2-1 loss to Inter in the Supercoppa. Granted, a lot of this has to do with competition. Juve have been beating up on teams in the bottom half of the Serie A table, but they've also managed a win and a draw against Roma and Napoli.
Meanwhile, Milan seems to be in a bit of a funk. The 2-1 loss to Spezia on Monday was the result of bad luck and bad officiating, but Milan is less than 100% right now and missing key players. I just cannot shake the feeling that these two clubs are trending in different directions right now, so I will take the one trending up. Pick: Juventus (+175)
Manchester United vs. West Ham United
Date: Saturday, Jan. 22 | Time: 10 a.m. | TV: None | Live Stream: Peacock
It wasn't in the column last week, but I bet Aston Villa to beat Manchester United. The match finished in a 2-2 draw thanks to a late comeback by Villa, but United lost the xG battle 2.1-1.0. Villa were the better team. On Wednesday, I bet Brighton to beat United too. That bet also lost, but the xG battle was much closer, as United won 2.3-2.2. The point you should take away from this is that United's defense is an absolute mess at the moment, but David De Gea has played out of his mind and saved his team's hide repeatedly.
The run comes to an end this weekend against West Ham. West Ham are a better team than Man United! They might not have the brand name, and they might not have the players the whole world knows, but they're a better team, and have been for a while. Whether looking at traditional stats or newer "advanced" metrics, it's hard to find one that says Manchester United is the better team in this match, so if I can get the Hammers at this price, there's no way I'm passing it up. Pick: West Ham (+280)
This week's parlay pays +112.
- Inter (-900)
- Arsenal (-300)
- Real Madrid (-650)
- PSG (-420)