EPL Matchweek 1 best bets: Spurs to start hot

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The EPL returns to action this weekend with a full slate of games to look forward to.

Let's dive into a few plays that stand out, starting with the 2022-23 season opener.

Arsenal (-120) @ Crystal Palace (+320)
Aug. 5, 3 p.m. ET

This figures to be one of the more enticing games of the weekend.

Arsenal finished last season on an extreme high, winning 11 of their final 17 games while ranking fourth in points and expected points during that stretch.

While intriguing new faces like Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Fabio Vieira should further improve the club this season, there may be a bit of an adjustment period integrating several key players.

Furthermore, Crystal Palace is no pushover. From Feb. 1 onward, they ranked sixth in expected points and conceded fewer expected goals than all but Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal.

They're a competent side - especially defensively - and they'll no doubt be ready to put their best foot forward in their home opener.

Arsenal may carry the run of play, but I think Palace will provide some challenges defensively; they'll be structured and limit chances in the high-danger areas.

I see a draw here, perhaps 1-1.

Bet: Draw +270

Southampton (+650) @ Tottenham (-275)
Aug. 6, 10 a.m. ET

Southampton has serious issues on the defensive side of the ball. They conceded 38 goals over their final 19 games of the season and allowed fewer expected goals than only Norwich and Leeds during that span.

While most of their summer transfers were made to improve defensively, their biggest expenditure was a $15-million goalkeeper. They didn't add any impact player who, in isolation, can help the team drastically tighten up without the ball.

That spells trouble against a Tottenham side that fired on all cylinders in the second half last year.

They netted 47 goals in 2022, putting them one behind Man City to top the league. That was no fluke; they finished fewer than 2.5 expected goals behind City once the calendar flipped.

The Spurs were generating chances in bulk and finishing at a high rate - as you'd expect given the talent they have leading their front line.

I expect these two sides to be at opposite ends of the table when the season concludes, and that gap should be quite evident on Saturday.

Bet: Tottenham -1.5 (+100)

Chelsea (-155) @ Everton (+425)
Aug. 6, 12:30 p.m. ET

If you haven't noticed from all the season preview content, I am quite high on this Chelsea team - even with the rumored unrest over how the team is attacking the transfer market.

They're strong defensively, they have an excellent manager, and Raheem Sterling will breathe new life into their offense.

Only Liverpool and Manchester City lost fewer games in the second half of last season's campaign, and for good reason. The Blues ranked fifth in expected goals for and third in expected goals against during that time. They were excellent at both ends of the pitch.

I'm not overly concerned about the noise surrounding the organization right now, at least not in an opener against Everton.

Everton played close to a relegation level for much of last season. There was a time it seemed possible - if not likely - they'd be heading down.

While they avoided disaster with a few strong results at the end of the season, there isn't much reason to expect good things in 2022-23. Their underlying metrics were worrisome last campaign, and their only notable transactions were selling Richarlison and signing Dwight McNeil - netting the club more than $40 million.

They don't have the pieces to really threaten this Chelsea side, nor are they potent enough defensively to keep a clean sheet.

Back the Blues to grind out a road victory.

Bet: Chelsea (-155)

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

EPL Matchweek 1 best bets: Spurs to start hot
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