Predicting the beautiful game can be a fool’s errand, but fortune favors the bold. Yahoo Soccer has run the stats and analyzed the form books for five of the biggest games this weekend …
Tottenham vs. Liverpool
Liverpool will make their first visit to Tottenham’s new stadium this weekend, seeking their 12th consecutive Premier League win. That winning streak, incidentally, began when Tottenham visited Anfield in October.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are 13 points clear atop the table with a game in hand, and have only lost one of their last 26 matches in all competitions (the poorly timed League Cup defeat to Aston Villa, which shouldn’t really count anyway).
To say the Reds are on a hot streak is something of an understatement.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are not in such rude health. Jose Mourinho’s highly inconsistent team boasts just a single win in its last five outings and hasn’t kept a clean sheet in seven games.
Spurs are also on the less favorable end of the head-to-head stats: They have lost each of their last four meetings with Liverpool — including the 2019 Champions League final — and have only beaten them once in their last 16 meetings, dating back to 2012.
Harry Kane’s injury, which led Mourinho to bemoan his lack of strike options after last weekend’s draw with Middlesbrough, won’t help the hosts. And neither will The Special One’s historical record against Klopp: He’s beaten the German only twice in 10 meetings.
Accordingly, Liverpool are priced as the heavy favorites here. Mourinho’s Spurs have lost to all “Big Six” competition they have faced so far, and there is little to suggest that pattern will change.
Prediction: Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool
Best Bet: Liverpool to win to nil at +220 on BetMGM. The Reds have kept clean sheets in their last five matches and Tottenham are limited in their attacking options.
Manchester United vs. Norwich
The latest episode of “The Continually Underwhelming Adventures of Manchester United” airs this weekend when the Red Devils invite rock-bottom Norwich to Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are winless in their last three outings and are facing increasing injury problems — Harry Maguire is the latest player to be unavailable for selection.
Even more troubling is United’s recent record against struggling teams. They have lost three of their last five matches to sides starting the day in the relegation zone, and are developing a reputation for poor performances against teams lower than them in the table.
Norwich have a tendency to over-perform against big sides (they have taken points from Manchester City, Leicester and Arsenal) and the Canaries won 2-1 in their most recent trip to Old Trafford in December 2015.
Solskjaer’s side are heavy favorites for the win at -304 on BetMGM, but this match offers great value for an upset. Admittedly, Norwich may be without star striker Teemu Pukki, but they are an incredible +775 at Bet MGM for the win at Old Trafford.
Given United’s troubles and the Canaries’ recent form, this is too tempting not to back.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-2 Norwich
Best Bet: Norwich to win and both teams to score is priced at a massive +1250 on BetMGM. United have kept only one clean sheet in their last 16 league games and Norwich have only failed to score in one of their last 10 matches.
Roma vs. Juventus
Inter Milan have let their lead at the top of Serie A slip in recent match weeks, so reigning champions Juventus sit behind them only on goal difference as the calcio season reaches its 19th round.
This weekend, the Old Lady visits the Stadio Olimpico to face Roma, who are looking to consolidate fourth place and stay on the heels of co-tenants Lazio.
Juve are the narrow favorites in this one, which belies their away form against Roma. They have beaten Lazio on each of their five trips to the Stadio Olimpico, but haven’t mustered a league win over Roma at the stadium since May 2014.
In their most recent meeting, Roma emerged winners thanks to unanswered goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Edin Dzeko. However, this match was in May when Juventus had already wrapped up the league title.
Inter face a tough challenge in Atalanta this weekend, so Juventus will be yearning to return to the top of the table with a win. Maurizio Sarri’s side are in better form (four wins from five, while Roma lost at home to Torino last weekend) and they are well-positioned to end their streak of misfortune away to the Giallorossi.
Prediction: Roma 0-1 Juventus
Best Bet: Juventus to win and under 2.5 total goals at +450 on BetMGM. Five of the last six league encounters between these sides have featured under 2.5 goals.
PSG vs. Monaco
Ligue 1 makes its welcome return this weekend, and the headline match sees Paris Saint-Germain host Monaco.
The Parisians sit seven points clear at the summit with a game in hand, while Monaco are down in seventh, some five points off the pace for Champions League qualification.
El Cashico was once a well-balanced encounter between two sides who didn’t have to worry about keeping the lights on, but the balance of power has very much shifted toward Paris in recent years.
PSG have won the last nine editions of this rivalry, including both league encounters during Monaco’s title-winning season of 2016-17. Accordingly, the hosts are heavy favorites at -385 on BetMGM and there’s little reason to believe they will not secure another three points this weekend.
With Neymar recovered and refreshed, a lopsided scoreline could be a safe bet in this one.
Prediction: Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Monaco
Best Bet: The multiple correct score of 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0 is good value at +600 on BetMGM. The aggregate score in the last four meetings between the sides is 21-2. In those five games, PSG have kept three clean sheets and scored four or more on three occasions.
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