Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City – 12th May – 15:00 GMT
It’s the final countdown on the south coast as Pep Guardiola and Manchester City’s day of reckoning finally arrives. With their Champions League chances gone for 2019 – Tottenham knocked them out in the quarter-final – City’s holy grail has become a treble of Premier League, League Cup, and FA Cup, and a win in Brighton would seal the former.
They already have the Carabao (League) Cup in the bag and an FA Cup Final with Watford to come on May 18. So, a second successive Premier League title will go a long way towards Pep’s ultimate goal.
Of course, the result at Brighton’s Amex Stadium will be academic if Champions-League-Final-bound Liverpool are unable to beat Wolves at home – just a point separates the Reds and the Citizens at the top of the table. But City will be assuming an Anfield win, and they will therefore want to get the job done in Brighton on their own terms.
On paper, it looks like a straightforward task. The bare facts tell us that City have lost just four times all season. Since Christmas, they have been on what appears to be an unstoppable march to the Premier League title. They have won 13 of their 18 games on the road and scored 34 goals while conceding just a paltry 10. Plus, they haven’t dropped a single Premier League point since their 2-1 defeat at Newcastle on January 29. But what the bare facts ignore is pressure.
TOP TIP! – Brighton and City to draw 1-1 @ 20/121.00+200020.0020.00-0.05 / Murray as anytime scorer @ 18/54.60+3603.603.60-0.28
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On Monday night at home to Leicester City, City laboured for long periods and the Etihad was filled with nerves and apprehension – at least until captain Vincent Kompany strode forward with purpose in the 70th minute and arrowed a 25-yarder into the top corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s net. But until then, it was a very un-Guardiola-like performance, lacking in both flow and precision.
In fact, it needed a glaring miss in the closing minutes by ex-City striker Kelechi Iheanacho to prevent Leicester from grabbing a late point – something which would have handed the title-race initiative back to Liverpool.
So, for betting purposes, let’s not assume this is a given for City. Pressure creates all kinds of issues at the sharp end of the season, as witnessed in both of this week’s Champions League semi-finals. And City are feeling it.
The flip side of that coin is Brighton, who have no pressure. Having struggled against the threat of relegation across the whole second half of the season, they now find themselves with their Premier League status assured and under no stress whatsoever. Almost for the first time since August, they can play with freedom. This was reflected last weekend in their well-earned and unexpected point at the Emirates from a 1-1 draw.
So, while most things point to a comfortable City victory, this will be an occasion unlike almost any other. Brighton manager Chris Hughton will have his team set up to be solid, and he’ll certainly be aiming to spoil the City party. Also worth noting is that City were made to work hard for their 2-0 win at the Etihad back in September.
There is certainly no value to be had in betting on the straight City win 13/1001.13-7690.13-7.690.13, and even the standard 2-0 and 3-0 wins are on offer for as little as 6/17.00+6006.006.00-0.17. But also, we believe this could be a much trickier afternoon for City than many believe. So much so that we’re going to go big and recommend the 1-1 on offer at a particularly juicy 20/121.00+200020.0020.00-0.05bet365. Also well worth a shout is Brighton’s Glenn Murray at 18/54.60+3603.603.60-0.28888sport as an anytime goalscorer.
Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers – 12th May – 15:00 GMT
TOP TIP! – Liverpool to win 4-0 @ 14/115.00+140014.0014.00-0.07 / Mane as first goalscorer @ 15/44.75+3753.753.75-0.27
The Reds will still be buzzing from their midweek exploits in the Champions League when they pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in footballing history. Their 4-0 win over the mighty, Messi-inspired Barcelona saw them overturn a 3-0 deficit from the first leg and qualify for a Champions League Final against Tottenham.
The buzz will still be resonating around Anfield when Wolves walk out to play them on Sunday. This could be a Premier League title clincher if events at Brighton’s Amex Stadium go Liverpool’s way.
For Jurgen Klopp’s men, the task is twofold. Firstly, they need to beat Wolves and then, depending on what is happening in Brighton, they may need to beat them handsomely.
As things stand, Man City have a goal difference of +69 and Liverpool +65, so a turnover of four would be needed for the Reds to win the league if Brighton are able to draw with City. If the Seagulls beat City, any form of Liverpool win would be enough.
The big question is, how much have their midweek heroics taken out of Liverpool? And will they have enough left in the tank for one final assault on the Premier League title?
They will be helped by the fact that Wolves’ season is effectively over as they are guaranteed seventh place. And there was definitely an end-of-season feel to the Old Gold’s 1-0 win last weekend over the already relegated Fulham.
Having said that, this Liverpool side has been relentless in the run-in. Even on the days when things are not clicking and the limbs are weary, they still seem to find a way – Saturday night’s away win in Newcastle being a perfect example.
So, we don’t expect Liverpool to slip up. We think the Red Machine will click into gear, deliver Jurgen Klopp a 4-0 win 14/115.00+140014.0014.00-0.07 @ bet365 that might be enough, and leave the onus on City to win their game in Brighton.
We also expect to see the name Saido Mane on the scoresheet. He missed out against Barcelona, but he will be keen to finish a fine Premier League season with a flourish. The 15/44.75+3753.753.75-0.27bet365on offer for him to open the scoring is well worth a bet.
Tottenham v Everton – 12th May – 15:00 GMT
TOP TIP! – Spurs & Everton to draw 2-2 @ 14/115.00+140014.0014.00-0.07 / Llorente as anytime goalscorer @ 9/52.80+1801.801.80-0.56
Another team who will still be buzzing from their midweek exploits is Tottenham – with their comeback from being 3-0 down on aggregate to Ajax up there on a par with everything that occurred at Anfield.
With fourth-place and Champions League football next season almost assured for Spurs – Arsenal are three points behind them, but they have a far inferior goal difference – their Sunday afternoon promises to be rather less pressurised than that of their Champions League Final opponents. Still, they will want to end the league season on a high.
Everton arrive in decent form – they have won three of their last five – and they will try and enjoy their first visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs were carrying some walking wounded in Amsterdam, including Victor Wanyama and Jan Vertonghen, and they will field a much-changed side. So, we expect Everton to cause plenty of problems and get a result. The Tottenham adrenalin will still be pumping though, and we expect it to be enough to see them grab a draw, with the 2-2 on offer at 14/115.00+140014.0014.00-0.07bet365looking particularly tempting.
Also, one of Spurs’ heroes on Wednesday night, Fernando Llorente, will be desperate to get on the scoresheet and strengthen his claim for a starting place. So don’t ignore the 9/52.80+1801.801.80-0.56 on offer 888sport for him as anytime goalscorer.
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Carl is the original ‘Special One’ and uses his statistical knowledge of football to gain the upper hand over the bookies on a weekly basis. A student of odds and probabilities, ‘Wrighty’ pinpoints the value bets in the top leagues across Europe. A big signing for the SBO.net sports team, Carl brings his vast experience of playing the odds and beating the bookies to a weekly column highlighting the very best football bets.
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