Following an opening write-up weekend that went very successful, we’re definitely excited for yet another full slate of English Premier League action this coming weekend. Two weeks ago saw our featured selection Stoke City run all over Middlesbrough. Boro are currently mired in the thick of a tense relegation battle, and if they don’t get their act together down the stretch, they’ll likely be heading back down to the Championship League (England’s second tier). And while we can’t always promise weeks just like the 3-0 debut, there are some solid edges appearing down the stretch.
Gameweek 29 features a full 10-game slate, with intriguing match-ups scattered throughout Saturday and Sunday. As international obligations and various club competitions begin to wind down, more focus is put on establishing positions within the domestic Premier League. Some teams will be vying hard for European places for next season, while others will be clawing to stay up in England’s top flight. Making yourself aware of that and the specific motivational edges are a necessity when handicapping late-season soccer. Without further ado, read on below for the Week 29 edition of our Premier League Picks here at The Sports Geek, featuring our highlighted match-up between Crystal Palace and Watford in what will surely have relegation implications by season’s end.
Crystal Palace vs. Watford Betting Odds:
Crystal Palace (-110)
Over 2.5 (+110)
Under 2.5 (-130)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Crystal Palace vs. Watford Pick:
After firing Alan Pardew midway through Crystal Palace’s disappointing 2016-2017 campaign, new coach Sam Allardyce hasn’t really been able to bring in the desired results either. That said, despite the mediocrity of Palace this season, recently they’ve shown signs of life and some better overall form. This is especially true on their home field at Selhurst Park in South London, and their loyal fans will surely be raucous for the visitors from Watford this Saturday.
As of now Crystal Palace only sits a point up from the relegation zone as per the league table. It’s going to be a fight to the finish and truthfully one nobody involved in Palace’s management predicted. This was and still is a talented group that just has not played to its potential. Watford meanwhile have punched above their weight all season long, and sit at 31 points, comfortably in 13th place. It’s not shocking to suggest that this game means a lot more to Palace than it does to Watford. It’s desperation time in South London for the famed red and blue outfit.
Palace will be looking for their third straight victory in the EPL this Saturday, and expect them to get in. Since settling on a three-man backline they’ve been stellar and looking very dangerous in attack. They possess a plethora of speed and skill and this is the type of talent Watford will struggle to match up with. Watford’s bench boss Walter Mazzarri has warned his side to be prepared mentally and physically for a much-improved Palace squad, especially because the Hornets do not fare well on the road. It also won’t help that Watford may be without their key midfielder in Etienne Capoue who is battling illness and may not make the trip. Capoue has started in every game for Watford this season, and without him in the holding role, expect Palace to have a lot of time and space to control the middle of the pitch and set up prime scoring chances on Saturday afternoon.
There is also the matter of Palace’s upcoming schedule. Though they have been stellar of late, time is running out on the season and they know that they still must face the top-6 teams in the league coming up. This makes these types of games against lesser opposition, virtual must-wins if they are to stay up in the top flight. Ultimately, expect Palace to continue their torrid form and pull away from Watford. The Hornets enter with some severe injury concerns, and frankly this game doesn’t mean nearly as much. Palace oozes talent and it finally seems to be coming together nicely. The likes of Cabaye and Zaha should be able to find open space in the midfield and feed the ball up front to Palace’s beast Christian Benteke. With so much riding on this, look for Palace to win this one at a nice price.
PICK = Crystal Palace (-110)
Bonus Pick #1 – Manchester United (-140)
The Reds are back under Jose Mourinho, and although the hill is steep to climb for a guaranteed Champions League spot for next year, Man U is a much better side than Middlesbrough. They just have too much pace in their lineup and the depth they possess should allow Mourinho for some creative lineup schedules to balance their involved schedule. United have their sights set on finishing in the Premier League’s top-4.
Bonus Pick #2 – Tottenham Hotspur (-145)
Even though it does look like Harry Kane will be absent for one or two fixtures, the Spurs still have more than enough talent to get by. The Spurs need this match to cement their place in the top-four and are still holding out hope that they can make this title race more interesting. Southampton really doesn’t have much to play for, as their minds are more likely occupied on external competitions. Expect their old coach Mauricio Pocchettino to have his Spurs ready to prove they’re more than just star striker, Harry Kane. Spurs win in a wild one.