One game dominates the Premier League schedule this weekend: The clash between title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea are in the driving seat in the title race, but this game represents a fantastic opportunity for Manuel Pellegrini's defending champions to close the gap.
Here's a look at the best value bet in that match along with three others taking place this weekend, including Liverpool-West Ham, West Bromwich-Tottenham and Arsenal-Aston Villa.
Chelsea (home) vs. Manchester City
Asian handicap: Chelsea -0.5 (+108) vs. Man City +0.5 (-116) 3-way line: Chelsea +108 / Man City +289 / Draw +253 PickCenter public consensus money line pick:64 percent Chelsea Total: 2.5 (Over -104, Under -104)
It may be overstating things to say this game will decide where the Prem title ends up this season, but if Chelsea win, they'll take some stopping. A victory for Jose Mourinho's side over their nearest challengers would put Chelsea eight points clear at the top with only 13 games to play. And given how Chelsea have performed this season, it's hard to see them throwing away that sort of lead.
Welcome to the second edition of Insider's Premier League Forecaster, an end-of-season table projection fueled by ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI), a regression-based algorithm designed to predict soccer matches. SPI simulates the remainder of the season 10,000 times, using the odds of each projected match, with the end result presented in the table below.
If you missed the inaugural version two weeks ago, click here for a primer and the previous table. (Note: The previous table forecast was incorrect due to a projection error. Chelsea, not Manchester City, should have been the projected favorite to win the league leading up to matches Jan. 10.)
With a lull in Premier League action last week due to FA Cup and Capital One Cup matches, in this edition we break down table risers and fallers over the past few weeks and preview what promises to be one of the most important matches of the season: Chelsea versus Manchester City on Saturday.
Here's a look at the latest forecast for all 20 Prem teams, along with breakdowns of the title, Champions League and relegation battles.