Manchester City vs. Sunderland and Pick to Win
Date:Saturday, August 13, 2016
Where: English Premier League Etihad Stadium, Manchester, UK
by Keith, Professional Soccer/Football Handicapper, Predictem
Match Odds: Manchester City 1/4, Draw 6/1, Sunderland 14/1
Moneyline: Manchester City -400, Draw +600, Sunderland +1400
Over/Under Best Market: UNDER 1.5 (47/10) – +470
The Pep Guardiola era is set to kick off in Manchester, as the highly heralded manager will take the reins of Manchester City, hoping to catapult the Cityzens to the top of the English Premier League after they parted ways with Manuel Pellegrini in 2015. Manchester City comes in with heightened aspirations, the Blues finished fourth in the English Premier League in the 2015/16 campaign, earning qualification yet again to Champions League play.
The Cityzens will play host to Sunderland, a unit from the Tyneside that barely survived relegation as they saw their arch rivals across town, Newcastle United sent off to Football League Championship, dodging the bullet by two points. Sunderland enters as an anticipated lackey, a squad serving as a sacrificial lamb to catalyze the ceremonious beginning of the Guardiola era, the odds reflect that and the reaction from the public has followed suit.
We will note that some late steam has come in on Sunderland, shortening the odds from 15/1 to 14/1 as seemingly the price is tantalizing to some punters. However, Sunderland winning at the Etihad while certainly possible is no gift at these odds. Bookmakers are especially sharp this year with the events surrounding Leicester City last year, so one must believe the chances of this outfit actually winning a game in Manchester is very unlikely. However, taking back odds of 1/4 on Manchester City is a very hazardous venture. The book is asking for players to throw down $400 to make $100, we have seen this free money narrative torpedo the bankrolls of many eager bettors before. By no means are we going to recommend or ever support such a play, especially considering the fact the Guardiola schematic has yet to be deployed on a pitch in English Premier League competition. Even if Manchester City were to master the system and proliferate some extravagant results, the opening fixtures will likely showcase a learning curve and thus the Cityzens may be all the more prone to let-downs. The market sets up perfectly for such a situation to occur and thus it may be most prudent to lay both sides and go for the draw.
At 6/1, a chance of a draw is certainly plausible. Sunderland will likely be entering this game with a chip on their shoulder as if they have something to prove on a large stage. Sunderland has been written off before Manchester City has ever set foot on the pitch, this creates a lack of pressure for Sunderland and enormous expectation for the Blues. With this being said, Sunderland will likely enter this contest with nothing to lose and may go for the win outright. Let us not forget that Sunderland in their last five outings, drew Borussia Dortmund and Stoke City, while owning wins outright over Chelsea and Everton. Not too shabby for an outfit cast as a heavy pooch against an EPL titan. Nevertheless it is hard to imagine a monumental upset occurring like this at Etihad Stadium, but the first week would likely be the best venue for such a phenomenon to occur. Price dictates play, Manchester City requires too much juice and Sunderlands offering seems too good to be true. The draw is the call in this opening Premier League collision.
Once again, scoring may be kept to a minimum with the implementation of a new offensive scheme on Manchester Citys side. Sunderland has had issues scoring all through 2015, so there would be little expectation for that to change here and now against one of the English Premier Leagues finest squads. Nevertheless at 47/10 or 4.7 to 1, there is a strong chance that even if Manchester City were to win, there is an excellent chance it may only be by a margin of 1-0. Calls will certainly go in the Cityzens favor and Sunderland assuredly has their hands full. However, this does not mean that this contest will be a walk in the park. Regime changes often are bumpy at first and thus the Blues may find themselves peddling by if they are not in sync.
Manchester City Recent Form
L Arsenal 2-3
D Borrusia Dortmund 1-1
L Bayern Munich 0-1
D Swansea City 1-1
D Arsenal 2-2
Sunderland Recent Form
D Borrusia Dortmund 1-1
D Watford 2-2
W Everton 3-0
W Chelsea 3-2
D Stoke City 1-1
Keith’s Prediction for the Game: Draw 6/1 and UNDER 1.5 (47/10)