EPL Matchday 3 best bets: Chelsea test title credentials at Anfield
Matchday 3 houses the season's first showdown between title contenders and is the last heading into Tuesday's transfer deadline. This is also the final weekend before players travel to their respective national teams ahead of the campaign's first international break.
Here's what's on tap for this weekend:
|Manchester City (-425)||Draw (+500)||Arsenal (+1050)|
|Newcastle (+150)||Draw (+235)||Southampton (+165)|
|West Ham (-175)||Draw (+290)||Crystal Palace (+480)|
|Norwich City (+345)||Draw (+245)||Leicester (-140)|
|Brighton (+135)||Draw (+220)||Everton (+215)|
|Aston Villa (-105)||Draw (+265)||Brentford (+260)|
|Liverpool (+145)||Draw (+235)||Chelsea (+180)|
|Burnley (+205)||Draw (+240)||Leeds United (+130)|
|Tottenham (-265)||Draw (+365)||Watford (+730)|
|Wolverhampton (+410)||Draw (+265)||Manchester United (-145)|
Newcastle vs. Southampton
Aug 28, 10 a.m. ET
One can't help but feel that Southampton's 1-1 draw with Manchester United last weekend skewed this line. But the fact is Saints were trounced 2.26-0.59 on expected goals, largely riding their luck to preserve a point. Defensively they've been a wreck since selling Jannik Vestergaard, conceding 4.65 expected goals through two matches - only Arsenal have allowed more - and new signing Lyanco won't be available just yet.
Meanwhile, Newcastle dropped both opening matches and were bounced from the League Cup on Wednesday. Pressure is mounting on Steve Bruce already - and it's not even September - but the Magpies always seem to rally for a big result when Bruce needs it. Back in front of the Geordie faithful, where they were really impressive before collapsing late against West Ham, they're excellent value to pick up their first win of the season against a Southampton side that's lost four in a row at St. James' Park.
Pick: Newcastle (+150)
Norwich vs. Leicester
Aug 28, 10 a.m.
Norwich predictably struggled through their impossible campaign openers, losing a combined 8-0 against Liverpool and Manchester City. It's hard to make many judgments about the Canaries based on those outings, and it's not all bad for Daniel Farke's side, either. Norwich were terrific in a 6-0 win over Bournemouth in the League Cup on Tuesday, and it looks as though they will retain both Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell.
The schedule doesn't get much easier for the Canaries with Leicester visiting Carrow Road, but they were much better in their 3-0 opening weekend defeat to the Reds than the scoreline suggests. Norwich lost just 1.79-1.33 on xG and typically play a brave, more refreshing brand of football on home soil.
Norwich will be able to carve out chances against a Leicester defense that has struggled early on without Wesley Fofana. Fofana's replacement Vestergaard remains out with a knee injury, leaving the unimpressive Daniel Amartey to deputize once again. The Foxes have managed just 0.67 and 0.63 xG in their two league matches this season - and will be without the suspended Ayoze Perez here - while conceding 3.62. This is a much trickier trip for Brendan Rodgers' side than it appears.
Pick: Norwich +0.5 (+120)
Liverpool vs. Chelsea
Aug 28, 12:30 p.m.
Both sides have made perfect and identical starts to the campaign, registering 3-0 and 2-0 victories, respectively, to kick things off. Ultimately neither were tested much, but the prospect of an early-season showdown between the two title hopefuls is even more tantalizing thanks to the starts they've made.
Chelsea will likely have N'Golo Kante back to start his first game of the campaign, while Andy Robertson and Fabinho are expected to return for Liverpool. Romelu Lukaku will lead the line again for the Blues, and his duel with Virgil van Dijk will be truly fascinating. It's also going to be a treat seeing how Liverpool's three-headed monster in attack fares against an incredibly stingy Chelsea defense.
But truthfully, I'm not sure we'll learn a whole lot about either club here. With the starts they've individually made and the international break looming, both sides will focus a bit more on avoiding defeat than gunning for the three points. Liverpool were uncharacteristically poor on home soil last season but are close to impossible to beat at Anfield with the stands packed, as they will be on Saturday. A Chelsea win on Merseyside would be quite the statement, but don't bank on it.
Pick: Draw (+235)
Alex Moretto is theScore's supervising editor of sports betting. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.