The week's biggest Premier League fixture is between London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, with each side aware that defeat would deal a considerable blow to their title hopes. The fact at least one side will come out of the game with one or fewer points hands Manchester City and Liverpool the chance to strengthen their positions near the top, although other games offer better betting opportunities.
Each week, I deliver my picks for the best bets of the weekend, incorporating numbers from ESPN Insider’s Soccer PickCenter.
Here's a rundown of the weekend's top picks.
Chelsea (home) vs. Arsenal
Asian Handicap: Chelsea -0.5 (-111) vs. Arsenal +0.5 (+110)
3-Way Line: Chelsea -105 / Arsenal +360 / Draw +260
PickCenter public consensus money line pick: 65 percent Chelsea
Total: 2.5 (Over +105, Under -110)
If there's one element of Chelsea's season that manager Jose Mourinho might be unhappy about, it’s the number of home games when his side have conceded a goal. Many of Mourinho’s contemporaries would be delighted with a record of seven clean sheets from 15 home fixtures, but as a man who draws great pride from shutting out the opposition, Mourinho is more likely to take a glass-half-empty viewpoint about those figures.
The combination of Chelsea’s excellent home record (13 wins, two draws, zero losses) and their relative inability to keep clean sheets is the reason 10 of 15 Prem fixtures at Stamford Bridge have featured three goals or more. Nine of Arsenal’s 15 away games have contained three or more goals, too. In a game where Chelsea will play to win and Arsenal will surely do the same -- even though a draw would be a good result for them -- over 2.5 goals is the selection....