Everton, Leeds and Leicester City vie for 1 Remaining Seat in EPL
The Premier League season ends with 10 Sunday games playing simultaneously. But attention will be on three of them, determining which two teams join already-relegated Southampton in the Championship next season.
All good things must come to an end, which includes the 2022-23 Premier League season. It likely also includes Leeds United’s tenure back at the pinnacle of English soccer.
It’s been a slice, gentlemen, watching you run through managers like J-Lo runs through husbands. Three since February? Impressive impulse control. Here at Three Bets, we’ve seen 3-year-olds at naptime show more self-control.
On the flip side of Leeds’ toddler-esque impulse control in the dugout, we find Nottingham Forest, which kept Steve Cooper despite going 11 games and 2.5 months without a win. Proving patience can be virtuous, Nottingham Forest scrapped its way to a 1-0 victory at league runner-up Arsenal last week.
This improbable result gave Forest a chair for the 2023-24 Prem campaign, one week before the music stops. That leaves one 17th-place chair for three candidates: Everton, Leeds and Leicester City.
Have we said lately how much we love a good relegation scrap?
And that’s what we have here, with two of our Three Bets games this week, along with a return to MLS, where we discover an expansion powerhouse.
Parking the Bus Keeps Everton Safe
Remember Everton’s reputation as steady, reliable and an upper mid-table mainstay? The history books sure do. A founding member of the Football League in 1888, Everton has competed in the top division of English soccer a record 120 seasons. It hasn’t missed top-flight football since the 1953-54 campaign.
But if the Toffees don’t beat a what-are-we-playing-for Bournemouth side that is safely assured of Premier League football next year, the trap door to the Championship opens for Everton, which precariously sits in 17th place, two points ahead of Leeds and Leicester City. The Toffees’ goal: preventing Bournemouth from scoring goals, which plays right into the capable mind of Everton manager Sean Dyche, one of the masters of trench-warfare, park-the-bus soccer. Five of Everton’s seven victories came at home—and all came with clean sheets.
Dyche will park a convoy of buses and dare a Bournemouth team that hasn’t scored in its last two games to find a way through. Good luck with that.
Prediction: Bournemouth Under 0.5 goals (+125 at UniBet)
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Goals Should Be Live at Leeds
You would think that desperation for Premier League riches would provide inspiration for Leeds United. And you’d be wrong, because we’re talking about a squad that hasn’t won since beating Crystal Palace—on April 4. That was eight games and two managers ago. Enter Sam Allardyce, central casting’s prototype for “grizzled veteran coach who keeps teams up.” Even this bit of desperation casting hasn’t brought the usual bounce the defensive-minded Big Sam brings troubled teams, considering Leeds allowed only two goals in his three games. But its allowed a league-worst 74 goals. This is why Leeds can’t have nice things—like guaranteed Premier League survival or clean sheets, the last of which came February 25 against relegated Southampton.
Tottenham, meanwhile, hasn’t exactly been a defensive fortress in its underachieving season. Spurs have allowed 62 goals this season, sixth worst in the league and the worst goals-against total of the top 14 teams. This is one of many reasons why Tottenham and its 66 goals are in eighth place, despite Spurs outscoring all but five teams. Forget about Leeds’ impending doom. Throw all of this into the mixmaster and pounce on the juicy over these two promise.
Prediction: Over 3 goals (-110 at BetMGM)
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Meet Us in St. Louis
We’re back in Major League Soccer again, where teams keep popping up like mushrooms in May. Your newest mushroom: St. Louis City SC, which not only opened 2023 as the 29th MLS team, but opened it as the first female majority-owned team in MLS. Forgive yourself if you think you’re watching the Bundesliga when you hear names like João Klauss (Hoffenheim), Joakim Nilsson (Arminia Bielefeld), Roman Bürki (Borussia Dortmund) and Eduard Löwen (Hertha Berlin).
Also, forgive yourself for wondering how expansion St. Louis is tied for third in the Western Conference with 22 points and a co-MLS leading +13 goal differential. This is how: St. Louis City became the first expansion team in MLS history to win its first four games. This is also how: St. Louis City’s 26 goals is second in the league behind Atlanta United’s 28. And this is also how: the 26 goals came from 10 different players, with injured striker Klauss’ five leading the team. St. Louis’ balanced attack produced three goals or more in all four home victories. That included last week’s 4-0 bludgeoning of I-70 rival Sporting KC that has everyone connected with the team very pleased with themselves. And why not? There’s plenty to like here, especially against a Vancouver team miserable on the road (0-3-3). Who are we to spoil this parade?
Prediction: St. Louis City (+115 at BetMGM)
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