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High Press 10

High Press 10

High Press 10 covers general global soccer stories and news. He / she finds the quality of soccer in Bend It Like Beckham to be on par with u8 rec.

High Press Soccer Podcast with Diego Maradona Documentary Director Asif Kapadia

High Press 10 September 30, 2019

HBO’s Diego Maradona documentary premiere’s Tuesday, October 1st at 9pm ET.

The documentary is directed by Academy Award winner Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna). Produced by Bill Simmons (among others), it’s being hailed as one of the greatest sports documentaries ever made.

High Press Soccer was fortunate to catch up with Asif to discuss the critically-acclaimed doc on Monday.

Tyler Everett leads the way in this special edition of the High Press Soccer Podcast. Listen below or subscribe and download via the Apple Podcast Center.

Listen to “High Press Soccer Podcast Episode 28: Diego Maradona Director Asif Kapadia” on Spreaker.

This Álex Collado Goal for Barcelona B Is Sick (VIDEO)

High Press 10 September 29, 2019

We pride ourselves at High Press Soccer on getting in early on young talent and teams on the rise.

We haven’t seen enough from Álex Collado to know if he’s got top team staying power, but if you can score a goal like this, you’ve got a chance. Here’s a stunner Collado scored for Barcelona B.

Who is Álex Collado?

Alex Collado is a 20 year-old attacking mid and forward for Barcelona B. The Spaniard has one senior team appearance for Barcelona.

Liverpool Are Perfect This Season and Have Won 16 In-A-Row and Are STILL NOT Title Favorites and Some Top 4 Finish Values

High Press 10 September 29, 2019

Liverpool, champions of Europe, gutted out a 1-0 victory away at Sheffield United on Saturday. The win kept Liverpool perfect for the season at 7-0-0. Going back to last season, they’ve won 16 domestic games in a row. That’s the third longest Premier League streak ever.

They’re also the fifth best team of all-time according to ClubElo (and approaching fourth). After 7 games, they’re 5 points clear of FFP and human / women’s rights violating Manchester City.

And they’re still not favorites to win the 2019-20 Premier League title.

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Updated 2019-20 Premier League Title Odds

Yes, there are 20 teams currently in England’s top flight. However, when it comes to title odds, there are really only two.

Manchester City -125 Liverpool +115

The next closest batch of competitors (Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea) are at +10000. None of the other four major domestic leagues (we don’t count Ligue Ugh) have such a top heavy titles future market.

Premier League Top Four Odds

There’s at least a little intrigue here. While Liverpool and City’s odds for at top 4 are off the board now, the next batch of teams is closely bunched.

TeamTop 4
Tottenham -150
Arsenal+110
Chelsea +130
Manchester United+225
Leicester+300
West Ham+2500
Bournemouth+10000

If you’re looking for value, Manchester United have been unlucky this season and have the metrics of a top 4 squad. That +225 is appealing. Leicester have been the third best team in the EPL since the start of 2019. Their +300 is decently priced.

Where to Bet Premier League in the US

In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook

Liverpool Player Ratings vs Sheffield United (Premier League Matchday 7)

High Press 10 September 28, 2019
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Liverpool travel to play The Blades today. Sheffield United are among the block of teams with 8 points in the Premier League table. They’re no pushover. Blades fans are out in full voice today. It’s rainy. This will be a rough and rugged affair.

Sheffield learned from Norwich’s win against City. They’re not parking the bus and being passive. The Blades are pressing and counter-attacking. Liverpool will have to earn this one. The Reds go into the half dominating possession (73%) and total shot (7 to 4) but have zero on target (Mane’s strike against the post = not on target). Liverpool’s press was starting to break down Sheffield by end of the half but nothing to show for it.

Second half was the same story as many Liverpool games all season. They did just enough to earn 3 (albeit, thanks to a Dean Henderson howler). The game went somewhat as we expected from our preview. United lack quality finishers and that showed. xG indicates Liverpool were unlucky not to get 2 past the Blades.

The 1-0 win keeps them perfect. They’re only the third team to ever start a Premier League season 7-0-0. 

Liverpool Player Ratings

Manager

Jurgen Klopp (6.5) –  No rotating to see here! Rolls out his preferred starting XI again. Klopp has pulled all the right strings at HT for a year now, he’ll need to today.

While the play post-half wasn’t necessarily better, the introduction of Origi and Milner were the right calls although could’ve come sooner. Should’ve yanked Mane sooner too. 

Goalkeeper

Adrian (8) – Like what I’m seeing from Adrian in his distribution. Calm, steady and on point. In the second half, was just awesome. How did we get him on a freebie??? Did well to get down on Norwood’s low bouncer. Got off his line alertly to make a clearance. Bravo, Adrian.

Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arndold (5) – Stronger defensively in the first half. Nice clearance in the 12th to thwart a Sheffield cross. Won an aerial to clear a threat as well. Clearly wants to improve his FIFA rating. Poor second half though. Services found no one. The worst of the backline today, though he did lead all players in touches and possessions. 

Virgil van Dijk (8) – Seems like his big noggin is clearing every threat in the first half. Sent a great ball in to Mane that the Senegalese heavy touched the hell out of it. Was a monster in the back though. Won an absurd 12 (!!!) aerials. His best match of the season.

Joel Matip (7) – Contributing well offensively, wonderful through ball in the 16th. Solid defensively, dispossessing in the 19th minute. Looked to join in after the half though not with much success. Still, another great showing. 

Andy Robertson (6.5) – Good effort defensively early, but touch and feel offensively is off. Came up huge though to block John Fleck in the second half. Potential 3-point saving effort. 

Midfielders

Jordan Henderson (5) – Effort / ambition was there early but no results to show for it. Came off in the 64th for Origi. Hendo seems yet again to be struggling to find his role. Klopp needs to let him or Gini be more of a driving offensive player. 

Fabinho (5) – Quiet first half from the Brazilian. I mean, he’s there. He’s fine. No real key passes or impact though. Not his typical solid form. 

Georginio Wijnaldum (6.5) – He does better when he asked to take a more offensive role. Can’t Klopp just do that more regularly? Appreciated his shot attempt in the 16th, off-foot volley at least shows ambition. Wonderful interception and pass to Salah to spring a counter in the 43rd that should’ve led to a goal. He was lucky to get the goal today but…he was trying to get goals. So he did what the lads needed. You make 0% of the shots you don’t take. 

Forwards

Roberto Firmino (5) – Bobby maybe should’ve taken the shot in the 43rd instead of feeding Mane, but still Sadio should’ve finished it. He had to drop back in the second half to get involved. Rough afternoon. Came off for Milner in the 87th but could’ve and should’ve come off sooner. 

Sadio Mane (4) – The heavy touch version of Mane apparently is back. 🤦‍♂️ Muffed a great opportunity sent in by VVD. Hit the woodwork in the 43rd for what should’ve been the opener. Hoping he hasn’t returned to the poor late-2018 form. That Sadio is not a good Sadio. Never seen an elite player have his touch abandon him game-to-game like Mane. Came off in stoppage for Ox and should’ve come off sooner. 

Mohamed Salah (6) – One of those “sloppy but good effort” games from Mo. He’s pressing too hard for results instead of keeping it simple. He’s over-thinking things instead of just playing soccer. Still though, good effort. 

Substitutions  

Divock Origi (6.5) – Came in for Hendo in the 64th. Was the burst of life the squad needed. Almost set up the opener right away. Good showing. 

James Milner (NR) – Helped close the game off by coming in for Bobby late. After his Carabao Cup showing, deserved a little more run. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (NR) – A stoppage-time killing sub. 

 

MAN OF THE MATCH

VVD. This was big Virg’s best match of the domestic season. Was probably our best offensive and defensive player. 

2019-20 UEFA Champions League Matchday 2 Game Lines

High Press 10 September 26, 2019

We’re less than a week away from the next round of 2019-20 UEFA Champions League group stage matches.

While the first matchday had us re-evaluating some teams (and oddsmakers overreacting to others), overall it’s mostly status quo. The teams who were 2019-20 UEFA Champions League title favorites barely moved.

Any more slip-ups though, particularly by Liverpool, Juventus, or Barcelona, and that may change. Here are a look at the next batch of group stage lines.

2019-20 UEFA Champions League Group Stage Game Lines

HOMEDATEAWAY
Tuesday, October 1st
Real Madrid -500Draw +600Club Brugge +1250
Atalanta +105Draw +265Shakhtar Donetsk +260
Red Star Belgrade +205Draw +235Olympiakos +140
Galatasaray +825Draw +400PSG -286
Manchester City -1250Draw +1050Dinamo Zagreb +2500
Juventus -215Draw +330Bayer Leverkusen +650
Tottenham +190Draw +280Bayern Munich +125
Locomotiv Moscow +480Draw +250Atletico Madrid -148
Wednesday, October 2nd
Genk +550Draw +385Napoli -225
Slavia Prague +325Draw +300Borussia Dortmund -129
Barcelona -200Draw +350Inter +510
Valencia +125Draw +255Ajax +210
Lille +255Draw +245Chelsea +110
Liverpool -260Draw +500Red Bull Salzburg +900
Zenit St Petersburg +135 Draw +240Benfica +205
RB Leipzig -143Draw +310Lyon +360

Odds & Ends

  • The lack of oddsmaker respect for Ajax at this point is almost comical. Of every single UCL fixture this coming matchday, they are the only one where FiveThirtyEight has them as a probability favorite to win and oddsmakers have them as an underdog. Ajax is the better team. Grab their long odds.
  • Monitor the Messi groin injury closely. If he doesn’t play, which is the most likely scenario at this point, Inter pulling out a draw or win (+510!!!) seems much more likely than the Catalans cruising to victory.
  • Red Bull Salzburg just put 6 past Genk. Liverpool lost away to Napoli. Should Erling Braut Haland and co. really be +900 at Anfield? Yes. Yes they should.
  • Has Chelsea shown anything at all this season that would give you confidence they can defeat Lille on the road? Chelsea’s youth makes them a minute-by-minute inconsistent rollercoaster. That +245 draw seems like a fair play.

High Press Soccer Podcast Episode 27: Barcelona Struggles, Real Madrid Steadies, and Spurs Are Softies

High Press 10 September 24, 2019

The latest High Press Soccer Podcast is live! Listen below or subscribe and download in Apple’s Pod Center.

Topics covered in this pacy episode include:

  • Barcelona continues to struggle. Can we just all concede the manager is the problem?
  • Real Madrid rebounds. Are they stable now?
  • As Liverpool and Manchester City continue to separate, are Spurs just too soft to compete for titles?

Listen to “High Press Podcast Episode 27: Barcelona Struggles, Real Madrid Back on Track, and Are Spurs Too Soft?” on Spreaker.

2019-20 Carabao Cup Title Odds: Where to Bet

High Press 10 September 23, 2019

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If you’re a serious degenerate who absolutely has to bet on soccer during the week but thinks its a bad look to make wagers with parents over your kid’s youth games–then we have great news! The EFL Cup (i.e. Carabao Cup) starts in earnest this week!

Known as the Caribou Coffee Cup within the non-existent office of High Press Soccer, last year’s Carabao Cup was won by an insecure-and-desperate-for-affirmation-at-all-costs Manchester City squad.

They’re obviously favorites again this season. Here’s a look at some of the key title odds. We’ll update the table as the year progresses.

Carabao Cup Title Odds

Manchester City +300Liverpool +750
Tottenham +1000Manchester United +1100
Chelsea +1200Arsenal +1400
Everton +1800Leicester City +1800
Wolves +2000West Ham +2800
Watford +3300Aston Villa +4000
Bournemouth +4000Brighton +4000
Southampton +4000Sheffield United +5000
Nottingham Forest +10000Stoke City +10000
Luton +12500Preston +12500
Sheffield Wednesday +15000Reading +15000
Portsmouth +25000Sunderland +25000

What is the Carabao Cup?

Great question! The Carabao Cup (or the EFL Cup /League Cup if you go by the non-sponsor name) is a totally meaningless cash grab tournament open to any team in the top 4 English divisions. It started in 1960. A total of 92 teams compete in it.

Liverpool have the most EFL Cup trophies with 8 (their last being in 2011-12). Only Premier League teams like Manchester City go all out really trying to win this now from the get-go. Seriously they’ve won four of the last five. It’s kind of adorable how much the Carabao Cup means to them as an organization. That happens when you keep bottling in the Champions League.

How to bet the Carabao Cup in the US

Oh wait, you’re still here?

In the US, you can legally wager on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook

 

2019-20 Premier League Matchday 7 Lines

High Press 10 September 23, 2019

Another Premier League weekend has passed and all it did was reaffirm what we already know: it’s Liverpool and Manchester City and everyone else is far, far behind them.

Liverpool are five clear of Manchester City. They are 10 (!!!) clear of Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea.

The only thing that should change this week is either Man U or Arsenal (or both if they draw) will fall further behind. Here’s a look at Premier League Matchday 7 lines.

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2019-20 Premier League Matchday 6 Lines

HOMEDATEAWAY
Saturday, September 28th
Sheffield United +850Draw +410Liverpool -305
Aston Villa +135Draw +235Burnley +200
Bournemouth +135Draw +275West Ham +180
Chelsea -230Draw +350Brighton +600
Crystal Palace +100Draw +255Norwich +275
Tottenham -245Draw +360Southampton +750
Wolves -112Draw +260Watford +300
Everton +900Draw +450Manchester City -335
Sunday, September 29th
Leicester -195Draw +300Newcastle +600
Monday, September 30th
Manchester United +125Draw +260Arsenal +205

Odds & Ends

  • Monday’s match between Manchester United and Arsenal has to be the marquee fixture of the week right? Two major brands in decline, yes. Both suck at 8 points after 6 games and 10 behind Liverpool, yes. Both desperate for a manager-affirming win, yes. However, while we’re on record with xG/xGA/xPTS having some flaws, Man U have been exceedingly unlucky this season. Their underlying stats have them at over 13 points, good for second in the EPL (ahead of Liverpool). So Man U will win this home game, right? Nah. It’ll be a tied. UPDATE: On Friday, reports that Pogba, Rashford and Martial will miss this mean it’s another L for Man U.
  • Speaking of the fifth best team of all-time, Liverpool travel to play a frisky Sheffield United team. We’ll preview this later in the week, but expect another dogfight and gritty close game. Manchester City travel to player the EPL’s homeless man’s version of Barcelona: Everton (i.e. a talented squad with a manager not up to snuff).
  • The unstoppable losing force vs the immovable losing object face off as Wolverhampton try to get on the board with their first win against a down-beaten Watford. Wolves will prevail…unless they tie…just to extend their fan’s misery.
  • And the match we’re most excited about is actually…Bournemouth vs West Ham? You bet your ass it is! One of these two squads will solidify their status as a top 4 contender. Tune in to this one, it’ll be fun.

Where to Bet Premier League in the US

In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook

Record-Setting Manchester City Crush Watford 8-0; Loss to Norwich from Last Week Still Counts Though and They’re in Second Place to Liverpool

High Press 10 September 21, 2019

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Zero-time European champions Manchester City obliterated a hapless Watford 8-0 at the Etihad today.

It was a FFP-rules breaking record-breaking day for City on multiple fronts:

  • They became the first Premier League team to score five goals in the first 18 minutes of a match.
  • Sergio Aguero becomes the first player in Premier League history to score a goal in each of the first six games.
  • And while not necessarily a record, Kevin de Bruyne has recorded more EPL assists than Mesut Ozil (who once had 19 in a season and 52 total)…in 41 less games.

Despite the inferiority-complex affirming win, Manchester City’s billion euro squad still trails game-in-hand Liverpool by 2 points.

Watford not immediately relegated…

Here’s the thing: if you lose by 8 goals to any Premier League squad, even one that broke financial fair play regulations in its billion euro assemble, you should automatically be relegated. No if ands or buts. It shouldn’t be up for debate.

At a minimum, you know when you’re golfing from the pro tees, and you fail to hit the ball past the ladies’ tee, and you’re supposed to walk the rest of the hole with your junk out of your pants? Well that’s what Watford should be forced to do in their next Premier League match against Wolverhampton.

…nor is Watford the favorite to finish last

Despite being in last place with a -14 goal differential (WHICH IS 9 WORSE THAN ANYONE ELSE AFTER JUST 6 GAMES), Watford are not the bookies favorite to actually finish in last.

Over at FanDuel Sportsbook, Newcastle United is the choice to finish 20th at +340. If that’s not an indictment on Steve Bruce, we’re not sure what is. Watford is priced at +500.

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Champions League Podcast: Liverpool Are Just Fine, Real Madrid Are Not, and More UCL Takeaways from the High Press Soccer Podcast

High Press 10 September 20, 2019

Was the penalty call against Andy Robertson that gifted Napoli a Champions League win ridiculous? Yes. Will it ultimately determine if Liverpool advances out of Group E? No.

Is Real Madrid’s season under Zinedine Zidane really this big of a goat rodeo? Yes. Are they in danger of not advancing out of Group A? No.

Chops and Tyler Everett break down all of the major Champions League games from this week in the latest High Press Pod:

  • Atletico Madrid vs Juventus (1:00)
  • Tottenham is missing something. What? (4:30)
  • PSG looks LEGIT (6:45).
  • Real Madrid being nothing but drama and in trouble (9:00).
  • Liverpool vs Napoli and why Liverpool will still advance and Napoli won’t (13:30).
  • Napoli having the most annoying fans in Italy (18:00).
  • ERLING BRUAT HALAND (20:30).
  • Ajax should be group favorites (28:00).

Listen to “High Press Pod Episode 26: Liverpool Is Just Fine, Real Madrid Is Not, and ERLING BRAUT HALAND” on Spreaker.

Of course, you can subscribe and get it on the Apple Podcenter as well.

2019-20 UEFA Champions League Title Odds (UPDATED)

High Press 10 September 19, 2019

Editor’s Note: This post will be updated after each matchweek is completed throughout the season.

Qualification for the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is underway. The first matchweek is completed. PSG and Red Bull Salzburg shined. Liverpool and Real Madrid came away with poor results. Still, there’s a lot of soccer to be played. 

2019-20 UEFA Champions League Title Odds

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The following are 2019-20 UEFA Champions League title odds.

There was some real movement in the odds when the Group Stage draw results occurred. With another cakewalk to the knockout rounds, Manchester City improved from +450 to +300. The “Group of Death” didn’t hurt Barcelona (they actually moved from +600 to +500), but Borussia Dortmund (+3300 to +4000) and Inter Milan (+5000 to +6000) fell. RB Leipzig’s early season form and winnable group saw their odds leap from +8000 to +5000. Lyon also gets a Group G bump from +12500 to +6000.

After the first matchweek, despite a poor result at Napoli, Liverpool’s odds did not move. However, Napoli jumped from +6000 to +2500 (settled down, settle down, they’re not winning the UCL). Red Bull Salzburg’s hammering of Genk improved their odds from +40000 to +8500. The always underrated Ajax go from +8000 to +5000.

Odds to Win Champions League(As of September 19th, 10:00am ET)
Manchester City +333Barcelona +550
Liverpool +700PSG +800
Juventus +900Bayern Munich +1100
Real Madrid +1400Atletico Madrid +2000
Napoli +2500Tottenham +3000
Borussia Dortmund +4000Chelsea +4000
RB Leipzig +4000Ajax +5000
Inter +6000Valencia +6000
Lyon +8000RB Salzburg +8500
Atalanta +15000Zenit St Petersburg +20000
Bayer Leverkusen +20000Benfica +25000
Shakhtar Donetsk +35000Lille +35000
Dinamo Zagreb +40000Red Star Belgrade +60000
Galatasaray +60000Club Brugge +75000
Olympiakos +75000Lokomotiv Moscow +100000
Genk +150000Slavia Prague +150000

Where to Bet on Champions League in the US

In the US, you can legally bet on soccer in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook.

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What are the 2019-20 Champions League Group Stage Brackets?

A total of 32 teams are split into 8 groups of 4. The top 2 teams from each group advance to the knockout round. 

GroupPot 1Pot 2Pot 3Pot 4
Group APSGReal MadridClub BruggeGalatasaray
Group BBayern MunichTottenham Olympiacos Red Star Belgrade
Group CManchester CityShakhtar DonetskDinamoAtalanta
Group DJuventusAtletico MadridBayer LeverkusenLokomotiv Moscow
Group ELiverpoolNapoliRed Bull Salzburg Genk
Group FBarcelonaBorussia Dortmund Inter MilanSlavia Prague
Group GZenitBenficaLyonRB Leipzig
Group HChelseaAjaxValenciaLille

 

2019-20 Premier League Matchday 6 Lines

High Press 10 September 18, 2019

Seven Premier League teams play European soccer this week. However, only two of those teams play each other this weekend.

All eyes will be on Sunday’s showdown between Chelsea and Liverpool. However, there are plenty of intriguing matches this weekend. Here’s a look at the lines.

2019-20 Premier League Matchday 6 Lines

HOMEDATEAWAY
Friday, September 20th
Southampton +100Draw +265Bournemouth +265
Saturday, September 21st
Leicester +205Draw +250Tottenham +130
Everton -155Draw +275Sheffield United +475
Burnley -106Draw +285Norwich City +260
Manchester City -835Draw +800Watford +1800
Newcastle +150Draw +215Brighton +200
Sunday, September 22nd
West Ham +235Draw +265Manchester United +110
Crystal Palace +185Draw +225Wolves +155
Arsenal -265Draw +400Aston Villa +700
Chelsea +270Draw +260Liverpool +100

Odds & Ends

  • Tottenham visits Leicester on Saturday. Both teams are sitting at 8 points in the table, though Spurs lead on goal differential. Spurs haven’t lost on the road this season. Leicester hasn’t lost at home. Obviously, they’ll draw 2-2.
  • We already did a West Ham vs Manchester United preview, so we’ll try not to get repetitive here. If Man U is fully fit, they should have enough to scrape by with a win and sole possession of third place.
  • Wolves will be desperate for a win Sunday on the road at Palace. That +155 oddly feels like one of the better bets of the week.
  • And finally, Chelsea vs Liverpool. Both squads were unfortunate not to come away with a point in their opening Champions League matches. Expect both squads to come out lively. Liverpool has more quality. They’ll gut out a road win.

Where to Bet Premier League in the US

In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook

Napoli Are Now Odds-On Favorites to Win Champions League Group E and Other Oddsmaking Overreactions

High Press 10 September 18, 2019

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So Liverpool lose on the road to a good Napoli team because of a phantom foul called on Andy Robertson when José Callejón launched himself into the Scot on as flagrant of a dive as you’ll ever see, and they’re no longer favorites to win Group E?

According to DraftKings Sportsbook NJ, that’s right!

Napoli are now odds-on favorites to win Group E, priced at -125. Liverpool drop to +125. Red Bull Salzburg, who obliterated Genk 6-2, jump from +1700 to +1100.

Nothing that happened today changes this: Liverpool will win Group E. Salzburg will also advance. Napoli will join the Europa League (again) and play with Manchester United and Arsenal👍.

Other oddsmaking overreactions

Chelsea lost 1-0 to team-turmoil Valencia. Naturally, Chelsea have dropped from Group H favorites to third at +300. Valencia, whose management makes the Trump White House look sane and steady, are favorites at +120. Ajax, who were the absolute class of the group today, are +200.

Chelsea and Ajax will advance.

Erling Braut Haland, who we wrote about earlier today as a breakout player, literally broke the fuck out. The 19 year-old recorded a first-half hat-trick in RBS’ aforementioned depantsing of Genk. Haland went from not listed as a potential top goal scorer to THIRD FAVORITE AHEAD OF SERGIO AGUERO at +900.

Finally, Napoli, who will be playing in the Europa League come January, is now 9th favorite to win the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League at +2500. They were +6000 before Callejón projectiled himself into Andy Robertson’s leg and belly flopped like Joe Gatto from Impractical Jokers into a pool on a cruise.

Nonsense.

Liverpool’s Champions League Group E Preview: This Is the Real “Group of Death”

High Press 10 September 17, 2019

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League starts today!

Unlike with Manchester City, who yet again get the most favorable possible draw (🤔how does that always happen), Liverpool were done no favors. All of the attention has been given to the Barcelona-Borussia Dortmund-Inter Milan pairing as the “group of death” this season.

But guess what group is actually more difficult?

FFS with this already, right?

Napoli and Red Bull Salzburg are no push-overs (as for Genk, they may not be either). That’s right, Group E is statistically the most difficult group according to FiveThirtyEight and ClubElo.

Here’s a deeper dive into a deceptively tough Group E and where the Liverpool landmines may be.

Napoli 2019-20 UEFA Champions League preview

Last Season: Eliminated in UCL group stage (by Liverpool)
League: Serie A (Italy)
Nickname: Gli Azzurri (The Blues)
Manager: Carlo Ancelotti
Best Players: Dries Martens, José Callejón, Lorenzo Insigne, Kalidou Koulibaly
Odds to Win Group: +200

As we wrote in our Napoli vs Liverpool Champions League preview, Gli Azzurri are no joke.

They’re fourth in Serie A this season. Most notably, they lost a 4-3 barn-burner vs Juventus on August 31st that may go down as one of the most exciting matches of the year.

Napoli are creative, skilled distributors who will absolutely create chances. Think of them as an Italian version of Tottenham or Arsenal. They’re going to score. They’re going to be scored on.

For whatever reason, Liverpool has struggled against Napoli recently (including a 3-0 shellacking that wasn’t really that close in a summer friendly in Scotland). Having said all of that, Napoli shouldn’t be considered the lock to advance from this group as oddsmakers think. They’re -500 for a top 2 finish. There’s a team in the group not named Liverpool that analytic models like FiveThirtyEight and ClubElo like just as much or more…

Red Bull Salzburg 2019-20 UEFA Champions League preview

Last Season: Eliminated in UCL playoff by Red Star Belgrade, in Europa League Round of 16 by Napoli
League: Austrian Bundesliga
Nickname: Die Mozartstädter (The Mozart Townspeople)
Manager: Jesse Marsch
Best Players: Erling Braut Haland, Dominik Szoboszlai, Maximilian Wöber, Hwang Hee-chan
Odds to Win Group: +1700

If you’re looking for a good value play, Red Bull Salzburg at +275 to finish top 2 is solid.

These guys are going to score. It’s hard to say how good their defense is just yet as the Austrian Bundesliga is filled with teams that are more “MLS quality” than “top flight Europe quality.” The best we can do is look at last season’s Europa League for some hints. It’s not apples-to-apples, but it’s a start.

In group stage matches, they advanced in first despite having Celtic and RB Leipzig in their group. They advanced with a +11 goal differential. Their 17 goals in group play was tied for second most. From there, Salzburg got past Club Brugge (who are in the UCL this season) by a 5-2 aggregate in the Round of 32.

However, in the Round of 16 they lost to Napoli by a 4-3 aggregate.

So basically, they were close with Napoli last season. Napoli hasn’t necessarily improved this season. Salzburg has. Led by Erling Braut Haland (read about him as one of our Champions League players to watch), it would surprise no one here (particularly me) if Salzburg advance. Keep an eye on these guys.

Genk 2019-20 UEFA Champions League preview

Last Season: Lost to Slavia Prague in Europa League Round of 32
League: Belgium Pro League
Nickname: Racing or Blue-Whites
Manager: Felice Mazzu
Best Players: Joakim Maehle, Jhon Lucumí, Sander Berge, Mbwana Samatta (when fit)
Odds to Win Group: +5000

Here’s the deal with Genk: they might not suck!

They have some young talent that will be playing in the major European domestic divisions within the next two years. Maehle (right-back, 22), Lucumi (center-back, 21) and Berge (defensive mid, 21) make up an exciting young core. At 26, Samatta is the elder statesman. He’ll be among their top goal scoring threats though and he’s set to become the first Tanzanian to play in the UCL. So that’s kinda interesting [if you’re from Tanzania].

Also…Genk’s roster is worth over $132M! That’s more the Red Bull Salzburg ($102M) as well as Sheffield United and Norwich City (who just beat Man City).

Genk won’t win this group. However, if this is the real “group of death” than is their +800 for a top 2 that crazy?

Where to Bet Champions League in the US

In the US, you can legally bet the Champions League online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook

High Press Soccer Podcast Episode 25: Why Aren’t Liverpool Premier League Favorites??? And Champions League Watchability Preview

High Press 10 September 16, 2019

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The latest High Press Pod is up in the Apple Pod Center (subscribe!) and streamable at the end of this post.

Joining Chops is Tyler Everett. The two discuss the past weekend’s Premier League and La Liga action.

Listen to “High Press Pod Episode 25: Why Aren't Liverpool Premier League Favorites? And Champions League Watchability Preview” on Spreaker.

Despite Loss to Norwich, Manchester City STILL Odds-On Favorites to Win Premier League

High Press 10 September 14, 2019

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Raise your hand if you saw that coming!

Manchester City lost at Norwich today 3-2. Over on DraftKings Sportsbook NJ, Norwich was +1500 underdogs.

Norwich City’s Alexander Tettey (left) and Sam Byram celebrate at the final whistle after the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

Unlike when they drew Tottenham, City actually deserved to drop points today. They committed several individual errors. xG favored City but not by an unreasonable amount (1.74 Norwich to 2.34 City). As a whole, Norwich’s players performed better.

After five games, City are now five points (!!!) behind Liverpool. When most of us saw the 2019-20 Premier League schedule, consensus opinion was that City would coast until they traveled to Anfield in November. Suddenly, City’s match at Anfield may be an absolute must-win for their title hopes.

City are still favorites…because why?

Over at FanDuel Sportsbook, City are still ODDS-ON FAVORITES to win the Premier League, though not as heavily as previously.

Manchester City -180 Liverpool +140 Tottenham +3200


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Why?

FiveThirtyEight probability models have them even with Liverpool.

Liverpool have won 14 straight Premier League games (tied for 4th all-time). They’re the fifth based team EVER based on ClubElo. They’re reigning European champs. Um, they’re FIVE CLEAR of City already.

City very clearly missed Aymeric Laporte today. The backline is not the same without him. Laporte will potentially miss the remaining 2019-20 campaign. With razor thin margins for error (remember, Liverpool were 11 millimeters from winning the EPL last season), Laporte being out may be the difference in this year’s title race.

Liverpool definitely miss Alisson, but he’s coming back next month and Adrian is holding down the fort just fine for now.

Regardless, despite appearances before the season began, we most certainly have a title race. Despite what oddsmakers say, it is Liverpool’s to lose.

What Player Ratings Did FIFA 20 Surprisingly Get Right?

High Press 10 September 11, 2019

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So much attention is give to what player ratings EA’s FIFA title get wrong, nobody ever gives credit for ones they surprisingly nailed.

FIFA 20 had a few ratings that just made us do this:

Here’s a list of ratings that FIFA 20 made us nod our head in approval.

Zlatan Ibrahimović (85)

Zlatan is just awesome. His feud with Carlos Vela has reinvigorated him. He scores goals so easily it’s like he’s playing a different game than MLS defenders. He could and should go back Manchester United in January, where he’d be a productive addition.

Hakim Ziyech (85)

Ajax probably deserved one or two other squad members in the top 100 (Donny van de Beek? David Neres?) but Ziyech works for now. He’s arguably the best player in the Eredivisie this season and was inarguably the best last season.

Fabinho (85)

Liverpool’s #6 is the central nervous system of the squad. He’s always in the right place. He usually leads the team in passes per game. He’s a moster at dispossesing and tackling. He does the dirty work that often doesn’t get recognized. FIFA did. 👏👏👏

Andy Robertson (85)

Robbo should’ve been joined by his right flank partner Trent Alexander-Arnold, but it’s impossible to ignore the Scot’s impact on Liverpool’s offense. And the tenacity he brings to Liverpool’s defense. As he showed in the Champions League semi-finals, he’s supplanted Jordi Alba as best left-back in the world.

Dries Mertens (87)

Fans of Serie A are familiar with Dries’ work. The masses might not know the 32 year-old Napoli striker as well. His 16 goals and 11 assists are Hazard-esque. He’s every bit his 87 rating.

Hugo Lloris (88)

Lloris has earned a lot of credibility this season for an under-performing Spurs squad (is there any other kind of Spurs squad?). He’s the highest rated keeper in the Premier League so far this season. He should be rated higher than David de Gea (89) in FIFA, but he at least got deserved elite consideration.

Kevin de Bruyne (91)

After suffering an injury-plagued 2018-19 campaign, dropping KdB down into the high 80’s would’ve been understandable. Instead, de Bruyne is tied for 4th highest rated. With Eden Hazard (also 91) gone to La Liga, KdB has started 2019-20 as the player most likely to assume his Belgium country-mates’ status as best player in the EPL.

Lionel Messi (94)

If anything, the GOAT should be higher. Messi had another historically great season for his historically great career. He’s every bit deserving of the top spot in FIFA 20.

High Press Soccer Podcast Episode 24: The US Men’s Soccer Program Is a Catastrophe

High Press 10 September 10, 2019

We’re coming in hot on the latest High Press Soccer Podcast!

Chops is joined by Tyler Everett to discuss the latest black eye on the US Men’s soccer program. After Mexico spanked the USMNT 3-0, it’s time to start asking some hard questions. Or more specifically:

  • Why US Soccer’s men’s program is such a catastrophe (00:30)
  • What in Gregg Berhalter’s coaching past indicates he’s the right man for this job? (2:40)
  • The juxtaposition of Berhalter vs Tata Martino (4:30)
  • Has US Soccer done anything recently to suggest they’ll get the men’s program right? (9:30)
  • Then we shift to more pleasant discussions around FIFA 20 and player ratings (19:00)
  • Previewing Barcelona vs Valencia and Lionel Messi’s potential return (24:30)
  • Preview Premier League matchday 5 and Manchester United vs Leicester (27:50)

Listen below or subscribe in Apple’s Podcast Center.

 

Listen to “High Press Pod Episode 24: The US Men’s Soccer Program Is a Disaster” on Spreaker.

 

FIFA 20: 20 Player Ratings They Got Wrong

High Press 10 September 10, 2019

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FIFA 20 released their top 100 player ratings. Earlier in the day we wrote about what players were the most underrated and overrated.

We’ll take this one step farther now by identifying 20 players they got plain wrong.

20. Trent Alexander-Arnold

TAA didn’t even crack the top 20! The best right-back in England is not considered one of the 100 best on FIFA 20! Alexander-Arnold led Liverpool with 12 Premier League assists last season. “Corner taken quickly” will be a phrase said at Anfield for a century. He was by any measure a more productive player than Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal last season, who rated an 85.

19. Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Speaking of under-appreciated right-backs…

A leak came out that AWB rated a 79. While Wan-Bissaka isn’t in TAA class just yet, he’s a superior defender. His record right-back transfer fee was a record for a reason. The 21 year-old has proven to be worth it so far for Manchester United this season.

18. Jadon Sancho

Why does EA value aging vets over supernova youngsters? EA is like Manchester United before this past transfer window. “Is he over 30 and on the decline? Give him a 90!”

Sancho rates as an 84. He’s the best player on the second best team in the Bundesliga. He has the highest market value of any player in the Bundesliga.

17. João Félix

The theme continues: young players who aren’t rated appropriately. Atletico Madrid is not losing an ounce of sleep over making Felix a record teenage signing. He’s helped guide Aleti atop the La Liga table. Who would you rather have on your squad: Felix (rated 80) or that little dickhead Mauro Icardi (rated 85)? 98 out of 100 manager would pick Felix, right?

16. Romelu Lukaku

We here at High Press Soccer are very much on Lukaku’s corner. He was unfairly bashed at Man U. He’s a proper striker. He’s just not an 85. 82 or 83, all day long. It’s a small nit, sure. But again, would you take Lukaku over Sancho? Nobody would.

15. Matthijs de Ligt

Alright FIFA, so the one youngster you do highly rate is the one struggling the most in top tier football? De Ligt was putrid in his one game for Juventus so far.

One game does not make a season. However, de Ligt didn’t statistically rate as well as Felix, Sancho, or other young stars he outranks on FIFA 20. We’re not saying de Ligt isn’t going to be a beast–he is–but his FIFA rating this year doesn’t match his actual productive yet.

14. Marcelo

Another over-valued older player.

Statistically, Marcelo has been on a steady decline the past two seasons. He’s still a world-class defender, he’s just not an 85. Maybe outside of his home club, Real Madrid, is there another team in the world that would take Marcelo over fellow 85-rated-left-back Andy Robertson? There’s not.

13. Philippe Coutinho

He’s rated an 86. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

If BVB called Bayern Munich tomorrow and said, “He, we’ll swap Jadon Sancho for Philippe Coutinho…” here are the 7 things that Bayern would do:

  1. Feint
  2. Bang head on desk while feinting
  3. Get a concussion from hitting head on desk and then hitting the ground
  4.  Get put on an ambulance after head swells from concussion
  5. While in the ambulance on a fucking respirator, call BVB back and ask, “Hallo hast du mir gerade Jadon Sancho für Philippe Coutinho angeboten?”
  6. When BVB answers “Ja,” start crying tears of joy
  7. Literally flood the ambulance with tears from crying — never has such joy been felt

12. Ivan Rakitić

Rakitić is fine. He deserves the 86 rating more than Coutinho. It’s not that far off. But do the Jadon Sancho test to Barcelona like we just did with Coutinho to Bayern. The Catalans wouldn’t feint and cry a river of tears of joy, but they wouldn’t hesitate making that deal.

11. Roberto Firmino

He’s the most important player this season on the fifth best team of all time. FIFA should have him at a 90 and make him as big of a joy to play as he is to watch.

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10. Jan Vertonghen

Get the fuck out with Jan Vertonghen as an 87.

Is Vertonghen terrible? No. Not at all. Is he an 87? Let’s put it this way: if Liverpool called Tottenham today and said, “Hey Spurs, you guys look great this season. Really thought you were better than City that day. How did City draw you? Probably cheated. Anyway, we’ll swap you Joel Matip (rated 82) for Vertonghen…” Does Klopp even get to the third syllable of Ver-tong-hen before Spurs say yes?

9. Toby Alderweireld

Who did Tottenham blow at FIFA to get their 30 year-old+ center-backs rated so highly?

Alderweireld was averageireld all last season. Why were Spurs games such open shootouts? Why did collapses always feel imminent? Because Toby and Jan were locking down the opposition?

8. Jordi Alba

Another 30 year-old coasting on reputation. He’s rated 87. Andy Robertson is 85. Andy Robertson was clearly better than Alba in the UCL semi-finals. Let’s not over-complicate this. He’s still great. Other LBs are better.

7. David de Gea

Last season was de Gea’s worst in the Premier League. As noted earlier, he’s rated the same as Alisson. They were in different universes last year.

6. Sergio Busquets

If a 💩 emoji was wearing a Barcelona jersey, would it automatically get an 85 rating by FIFA? This is no besmirchment on Busquets. While last season was a bit of a down year for him, he’s still a top tier midfielder. He’s just not 89 level. That’s rarefied air.

5. Raheem Sterling

[Deep exhale] Ok, Sterling is rated 88. He should be more like a 90. He’s among the global elites. Painful to say. Gotta keep it real.

4. Sergio Ramos

Ramos belongs in jail the FIFA hall of fame. He’s an all-time great thug center-back. He’s also 33. He’s very clearly on the decline. Is he still among the best 20 center-backs in the world? Yes. Is he among the best handful in the world like his 89 suggests? Not any more.

3. Kylian Mbappe

He’s the third best attacking player in the world. Is that even really up for discussion? Believe it or not, Neymar, despite all of the distractions and injury issues, is still a statistically better player than Mbappe. However, Mbappe > Ronaldo.

He’s also the most valuable player in the world. That should matter.

2. Luka Modric

He’s 34. That’s old. Last season was his worst statistical domestic season since…EVER. He’s a legend. Don’t even have a problem with the Lifetime Achievement Ballon D’or he won. He’s not one of the 10 best players in the world any more as his 90 rating would suggest.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Just sticking to the soccer stuff…he’s still great. He’s still elite. He’s not the second best player in the world any more. Messi is better. When healthy, Neymar is better. Mbappe is better. When healthy, yes Kevin de Bruyne is better. Yes, Mo Salah is better. Last season he declined. This will be Ronaldo’s worst season he’s had ever. Next season will be even worse.

Father time always wins.

Except when it comes to FIFA ratings.

2019-20 Premier League Matchday 5 Odds

High Press 10 September 8, 2019

Premier League matchday 5 has a number of interesting and important match-ups for future finishing positions.

Is Leicester a real threat for the top 4? We’ll know more after they visit Old Trafford and play Manchester United.

Does Crystal Palace, who currently sit 4th, actually have a chance to finish in the top 6? No. They don’t. They have no chance. But if they manage to wrangle a point from Tottenham on the road, you’ll start to pause and at least think about it as opposed to pausing and laughing about it.

Chelsea and Christian Pulisic visit Wolverhampton. Wolves are still searching for their first win. Chelsea has struggled, sitting 11th. Something has to give. One team will propel their season forward with a win.

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2019-20 Premier League Matchday 5 Game Odds

With that out of the way, here are your Premier League matchday 5 game odds. All lines as of 09/08/19 on DraftKings Sportsbook NJ.

HOMESaturday, September 14AWAY
Liverpool -770Draw +750Newcastle +1900
Sheffield United +155Draw +220Southampton +190
Tottenham -286Draw +400Crystal Palace +850
Brighton +120Draw +225Burnley +245
Manchester United -134Draw +275Leicester +380
Wolverhampton +195Draw +225Chelsea +250
Norwich +1500Draw +750Manchester City -670
Sunday, September 15
Bournemouth +210Draw +250Everton +125
Watford +280Draw +265Arsenal -106
Monday, September 16
Aston Villa +160Draw +250West Ham +165

Odds & Ends

  • Manchester United are not as bad as their 8th place standing indicates. They have a +3 goal differential and have been unlucky both in xG and xGA. In fact, their xPTS place them 2nd in the EPL. Having said all of that, look at the +275 draw in their match against Leicester.
  • Speaking of unlucky teams, Wolves and Chelsea both are wanting in xG & xGA. Both are under-performing by xPTS as well. One of these squads will break through this week. Chelsea at +150 seems like the right bet.
  • Liverpool are the biggest favorite of the week, priced at -770 at home vs Newcastle. Spending $770 to win +100 may not seem like a lot of fun, but it’s easy money.

Where to Bet Premier League in the US

In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook

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