While soccer has been on an international break -- because what the sport needs during a crazy, congested schedule with the World Cup looming is Nations League matches -- the last few weeks, Corner Picks was on its own brief hiatus.
I recently moved, which was planned and had been planned for a while. What wasn't planned was the sewage backup into my basement following a big storm a few weeks ago. I tell you, if packing up and moving your entire life to a new location isn't stressful enough, try doing it while dealing with an unexpected disaster in your current home simultaneously. On the bright side, I had less stuff to pack afterward! The water in my basement made some of the decisions of what to keep and get rid of a lot easier.
Anyway, that's all behind me now. I'm in the new place, and Corner Picks is back this weekend and every foreseeable weekend. All odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Inter vs. Roma
Date: Saturday, Oct. 1 | Time: 12 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+
The stat nerd inside me awaits justice to prevail for Roma. Roma lead Serie A with an xG (expected goals) of 14.8 through seven games but has scored only eight, which ranks ninth in the league. Furthermore, the team's xG of 0.13 per shot is also the best in the league. So, any way you look at it, Roma has been unlucky and should've scored more goals than they have at this point. The theory is that it should correct itself within time, but while I think that's the case here, there's another factor to consider. Tammy Abraham takes more shots than anybody on this team, and he's consistently performed below his xG for his entire career. In NBA terms, he's somewhat like Russell Westbrook in that he scores a lot of points, but he takes a lot of shots to get there.
Whether Roma's luck balances out doesn't matter for this match. I don't expect it to correct itself against Inter because Roma have also been much better at home to start the season than on the road. Its lone road wins this season have come against Salernitana and Empoli. They have a road draw with Juventus and have lost road matches to Udinese and Ludogorets by a combined score of 6-1. Meanwhile, Inter have been much better at home this season, and if I'm going to bet on one of these two underperforming Serie A sides this weekend, it will be Inter every time. The Pick: Inter (+107)
Arsenal vs. Tottenham
Date: Saturday, Oct. 1 | Time: 7:30 a.m. ET | Watch: USA | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
There's been a lot made of Arsenal's improvements this season. I've written plenty about it here, as I've repeatedly taken the over in Arsenal matches. I'm not doing that this weekend, but the reasoning behind those overs is at the core of this pick. Arsenal have improved drastically in understanding what Mikel Arteta wants them to do when they have the ball. Based on what I've seen, this team is still struggling to understand what to do without the ball. As a result, Arsenal have looked like world-beaters against teams that have allowed them to dominate possession. When facing squads with the ability to force Arsenal to defend, they don't look nearly as solid.
Tottenham is likely to let Arsenal have the ball plenty. Soaking up pressure and quickly countering is the core of every Antonio Conte team. In a tactical clash like this one, I will bet on the far more experienced Conte. With Arsenal's struggles getting into and staying in shape defensively, I can see Tottenham wreaking havoc with their counters. While I still like the over, there's far more value on Tottenham to win outright. The Pick: Tottenham (+250)
Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Date: Sunday, Oct. 2 | Time: 9 a.m. ET | Watch: Peacock
I'm really excited to watch this match because, while it's not what Erik Ten Hag wants in his ideal world, I've been impressed by how much more competent and organized Man United have looked since a rough start to the year. It is not yet close to a team that could compete with Manchester City for a league title, but it's a team that can compete with City for 90 minutes, and that has not been the case much lately.
But just because I think they're capable doesn't mean I think they will. Sorry if it feels like I pulled the rug out from underneath you, but City have been dominant at home this season. In three Premier League matches, they've allowed a total of 0.6 xG against. Sure, those matches were against Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace, but Forest and Palace have shown an ability to get shots on net against others. They had no prayer against City. So, while I think United is headed in the right direction, I don't think they're far enough along just yet to ignore the value on betting City to win by at least two goals. The Pick: Manchester City -1.5 (-115)
This week's parlay pays +164.
- Leipzig (-400)
- PSG (-675)
- Lazio (-255)
- Real Madrid (-310)