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Free picks in Sunday soccer action: Hull vs. Manchester United – SportsUntapped.com
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Added December 26th, 2009 by David Glisan

Free picks in Sunday soccer action:  Hull vs. Manchester United
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Yep, I handicap soccer too.  I won’t say its my favorite sport to watch, but as a wagering proposition its silly to ignore it.  There’s a ton of European leagues and the same concepts that apply to handicapping US sports apply.  There’s also a ton of ‘public’ action so you can often find good wagering value.  Like NHL hockey, its a low scoring sport–in most leagues, goals are at a greater premium in soccer than in hockey.  That means that its very predictable.  Plus there’s no shortage of sexy girls wearing the uniforms of European soccer teams available on the web, which is a very important consideration as well.  We’ll get more into soccer next year with the World Cup, but for now let’s go to the English Premier League for some Sunday action:

MANCHESTER UNITED VS. HULL FC

First of all, lets get the start time for this game straight.  This game goes at 11 AM Eastern Time/8 AM Pacific on Sunday morning.  You can watch it live in the US on Fox Soccer Channel.  Manchester United will play on the road at Hull FC, and despite the fact that Man U is one of the more ‘public’ teams in the English Premier League we’ve isolated a nice value position on the game.  Now, there’s literally a gazillion different ways to bet on soccer but until I can give you people an in depth explanation of them all we’ll keep it simple.

In many ways, this game is a mismatch.  Man U is in second place in the EPL, four points behind first place Chelsea while Hull is fighting to avoid relegation down in 17th place.  Hull has actually slipped from last year’s performance, and currently has 10 fewer points than they did one year ago.  When they’ve been able to salvage points (you get 3 for a win and 1 for a draw in EPL soccer) they’ve feasted on other weak teams.  In 9 games this year against teams from the top half of the standings they’ve lost all 9 and given up 27 goals in the process (that’s 3 per game, which is a lot).  They’re actually undefeated in their last five games at home (2 wins, 3 draws) but as noted they’ve all come against lower tier opponents.  Their offense has been nonexistant of late–they haven’t scored in their past three games, meaning their last goal was back in November!

Man U is one of those teams that seems to play better later in the season, and that doesn’t bode well for Hull.  Their current form in away games doesn’t look too impressive with 2 wins and 3 losses in their last five but note that those three losses were all to other top tier teams (Chelsea, Liverpool and Fulham) .  In the Fulham game, Man U was missing a lot of top players due to injury so that loss wasn’t entirely unexpected.  Man U has actually played well on the road this year, with 15 points in 9 games which is second only to league leading Chelsea.  They’ve scored 2 or more goals in 12 of their 18 games this season, winning 11 of those games with a +27 goal differential.  They’re +20 in the goal differential column overall while Hull has the worst goal differential in the league at -20.  These teams last played in May at Old Trafford (that’s Man U’s home field) with the home team winning 1-0.

Clearly, Man U needs to pick up points while they can to keep pace with Chelsea (who plays on the road at Birmingham City on Saturday) and their next EPL game on January 9th.  There’s no reason whatsoever they can’t get a win here.  Unfortunately, they’re a high priced favorite both on the moneyline (-265) and on the goal line (-1 -160).  In my view, there are two decent ways to play the game.  One would be to go ‘over’ 2′ -140, which will necessitate Hull ending their scoring drought against a very good defense.  A better value, however, is to play Man U for the first half of the game.  They’ll look to score early knowing the home side’s offensive struggles and the price is a reasonable -115 at Bookmaker.

PLAY MANCHESTER UNITED -115 OVER HULL FC (FIRST HALF)

 
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