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Premier League Football: Mark Noble & Declan Rice vs. Adama Traoré - West Ham vs. Wolves (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

The UK just surpassed its COVID-19 count to date so who really knows how much longer we will be able to enjoy weekends of Premier League football. But, until installment two of Premier League lockdown returns, there is still plenty of money to make.

Here are this weekend’s locks:

EVERTON -0.5 (+110) VS. CRYSTAL PALACE +0.5 (-135)

EVERTON

It’s becoming a weekly trend at this point for Everton to be involved in the lock of the day, but the oddsmakers just keep handing people free money with their odds when it comes to Everton.

The in-form side in the Premier League, Everton will look to make it 3 wins from 3 on Saturday. James Rodríguez is reminding many how much he made them fall in love with the game all those years ago. And Dominic Calvert-Lewin has apparently got one of the hottest boots in Europe at the moment.

CRYSTAL PALACE

In their way are Crystal Palace, who are coming off the end of a shock victory away at Manchester United last weekend. I think the odds set for this one are a little bit of an overreaction to that result, which is why I think this is a perfect game to throw money on. Yes, defeating Manchester United, who hadn’t lost a league game since January, was a massive achievement. But the reality was that Manchester were more dreadful than Crystal Palace were good. Crystal Palace are not a bad side at all. And I don’t doubt that that win will probably give them some momentum in this game. But Everton are going to prove tougher than United.

+110 is an absolute steal. I can’t see anything other than an Everton win, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was by more than one as well. Sure, the Everton hype train will be stopped in its tracks at some point. For now, however, it’s full steam ahead for a good while longer.

Pick: Everton to cover. They are a better team, they’ve got momentum, they’ve got individual quality, and they are the real deal. Palace will fight, but there’s a gulf in class between the two at the moment and that is going to shine brightest.

WEST HAM +0.5 (-130) VS. WOLVES -0.5 (+110)

Another strange one from those who make the odds. Wolves really should win here. They’ve just lost one of their star men in Diogo Jota, but they’ve also added Nélson Semedo and Fábio Silva.

WEST HAM

West Ham, meanwhile, is like a new episode of a soap opera each week. A team that seemingly lives on the brink of crisis, West Ham were hit with more headaches this week as manager David Moyes, as well as two players, were diagnosed with COVID-19 moments before their League Cup fixture in midweek. Luckily enough, it appears as though nobody else in and around the club has been infected.

Even aside from that, West Ham have been making a right mess of things. Their upper management has been called out by club captain Mark Noble. They remain vulnerable to losing arguably their best player in Declan Rice to Chelsea. And the millions and millions they spent on acquiring a new stadium looks more of an embarrassment than an achievement as the club seem more likely to flirt with relegation than any sort of success.

WOLVES

As for Wolves, they don’t really appear to be any different from how they were last season. They enjoyed a comfortable win to start the season before losing to Manchester City in what was still a decent performance.

A few have questioned Wolves’ ability to sustain their top half status since, aside from coming close to European places and silverware in the past two seasons, they’ve got nothing to show for it, not even the Europa League this year. They’ve proven that they are capable of defeating any of the Premier League Big 6 clubs on their day. But the next frontier is going to be consistency. In particular, they need to find a way to break down lower-tier opposition who set up to defend in deep blocks. Too many times last season Wolves threw away points against teams they’d been expected to defeat. And given how tight things were among the Champions League places last season, those results ultimately cost them.

West Ham fall into that category of lower-tier opposition at this point. And this is exactly the type of game that Wolves can be vulnerable in. But I’m backing them here purely because Wolves normally should win this game and West Ham are in shambles right now.

Pick: Wolves to cover. It may be a long season for West Ham. For their sake, I hope they find a solution because, on paper, their squad really isn’t bad at all. Wolves, on the other hand, I don’t expect to really be much worse or much better than last season. They’ll surely be top half, but it’s up to them to not be their own worst enemy if they want to truly kick on and jump into that category of elite clubs.

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4 comments

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