Spanish crown awaits one of it's 3 Kings
Thoughts for the games May 7-10
Welcome to the weekend! We have games everywhere and so many with title, promotion, European or relegation impacts. We thought we'd focus on just a few of the key races that we will have our eyes on this weekend.
Spain - La Liga Title Race
What a race we have at the top of the table in Spain. All three of the giant clubs are within two points with just four games remaining. Will Atletico Madrid hold the lead and add an 11th league title to their trophy case or will Barcelona (26 titles) or Real Madrid (34 titles) get the silverware? This weekend will go a long way to answering that question with the two biggest remaining fixtures that will likely decide the title.
Top of the table (76 points) Atletico travel to Camp Nou to take on tied for second (74 points) Barcelona on Saturday. Atletico has had a couple of hiccups in the last several matchdays and allowed this to stay a race to the finish. But Barcelona also had their own shock result with their home loss to Granada two games back. Atleti was very happy to get super striker and former Barcelona man Luis Suarez back in the XI in their win at Elche last time out. For Barca, Messi comes in on great form with a brace in a 3-2 win at Valencia in their last game. This is a must watch game Saturday (9:15 CT here in the US).
Sunday (2pm CT), Real Madrid (74 points) host fourth place Sevilla (70 points) who are not officially out of it either. Sevilla were square in the mix until their own loss on Monday at home to Athletic Club Bilbao. That being said, an upset on Sunday and a draw in the Atleti-Barca match would put them right back in it with an outside shot. Real is coming off their semi-final exit in the Champions League on Wednesday, a game where they looked completely out-classed by Chelsea. With the fixtures stacking up, how will they respond?
Our members are likely to have plays on both of these games
England - Premier League European Race
With the title race set to wrap up as early as this weekend (Man City), the great race in the EPL is for places three through six. The top four secure a spot in the Champions League for next season, spots five and six move into the group stage of the Europa League.
Here's how the table stands today:
We start the intrigue at spot three with Leicester City as they have a tough finishing stretch after this weekend, so it will be key for them to get all three points hosting Newcastle on Friday (2 pm CT). After that, Leicester finishes: @ Man United, @Chelsea, vs Tottenham. Throw in the FA Cup final vs Chelsea in the
middle also and you can see what they might be up against!
Chelsea currently hold the fourth spot, and their schedule is stacked with fixtures. This Saturday (11:30 am CT) they travel to Man City for a rematch of the FA Cup semi-final that Chelsea won and a preview of the Champions League Final upcoming at the end of the month. After the Man City game they finish league play: vs Arsenal, vs Leicester, @ Aston Villa. Throw in the FA Cup final vs Leicester and the Champions League final vs Man City, whew!
West Ham United currently sit in fifth and what a story they've been this season. The Hammers host Everton on Sunday (10:30 am CT) and enter only three points out of the Champions League but also trying to hold onto Europa League at the least. After hosting Everton they finish: @ Brighton, @ West Brom, vs Southampton. With a fairly easy run of fixtures remaining, we would give them strong odds to hold a European spot and maybe even sneak into UCL places should Leicester or Chelsea sputter.
Tottenham sit sixth at two points behind West Ham. Saturday (6:30 am CT) the Spurs travel to Leeds for a nice match. After this weekend, the Spurs remaining schedule: vs Wolves, vs Aston Villa, @ Leicester.
Liverpool are in a very unfamiliar spot with 54 points in seventh. But with a game in hand on everyone above them, they are not to be counted out of the Top 6 just yet. The Reds host struggling Southampton Saturday (2:15 pm CT) and then finish with these final four games: @ Man U (rescheduled from last week), @ West Brom, @ Burnley, vs Crystal Palace. Other than the Man U game, Liverpool will be heavy favorites to get all three points in four of their last five. They are square in mix for Europa League and if things break right in front of them, still have a shot at Champions League.
Everton sit eighth and have longer odds to get to Top 6, but also have a game in hand on everyone except Liverpool. They will likely need to get all three points in their matchup at West Ham Sunday (10:30 am CT). If they do so, they would enter their final four with winnable games: @ Aston Villa, vs Sheffield United, vs Wolves, @ Man City (should be a meaningless game for them). We see Everton as long shots to be sure, but not out of it yet.
A great weekend of meaningful football in the EPL. Our members will likely have 1-3 plays here
Germany - Bundesliga European Race
The battle in Germany is for spots three and four in the Champions League. And it's a very tight race between three teams.
3. Wolfsburg 57 points
4. Frankfurt 56
5. Dortmund 55
There are just three matchdays left including this weekend, so let's take a look at these three teams.
Wolfsburg host Union Berlin Saturday (8:30 am CT) in what's a bit more tricky of a game then some might realize. Union is having an excellent season at 46 points and almost always show up. After that Wolfsburg have: @ RB Leipzig, vs Mainz. With Mainz the hottest team in the Bundesliga, and Leipzig always tough at home, this is not an easy three weeks.
Eintracht Frankfurt are hosting the previously mentioned in-form Mainz on Sunday (8:30 am CT). Frankfurt are favored but this also is a bit of a tricky spot. After this weekend they have: @ Schalke and vs Freiburg. We see this as an easier schedule than Wolfsburg.
The final team in the mix is current fifth place Dortmund. And I don't have to tell you that anything less than UCL would be a huge disappointment, maybe even shame for them. Dortmund are flying high off four straight wins by 2+ goal margins heading into the highest profile game in Germany this weekend as they host second place RB Leipzig (Saturday 8:30 am CT). Dortmund also play Leipzig at the mid-week in the DFB Pokal Cup Final. Then they wrap up the Bundeliga push for UCL with: @ Mainz, vs Leverkusen.
Safe to say Mainz will have a big say in which two of these three qualify for UCL next season as they play all three in the final three matchdays! Dortmund are the best side of the three, and if they can get a result this weekend, we see them making the Top 4. Based on a slightly easier schedule, we'll predict Frankfurt to get the other spot, leaving Wolfsburg in Europa League in the 21-22 season. Members will likely have two plays in Bundesliga this weekend.
Italy - Serie A European Race
Italy's positions in Europe are just like England. Top 4 to Champions League, 5-6 to Europa. And wow do we have tight races heading into the final four matchdays! Inter Milan have already clinched "the scudetto" but positions two through six are all very close. We are pretty certain all five of these teams will play in Europe next season, but which three will be in UCL and which two in UEL? Let's dive in.
Atalanta, Juventus and AC Milan all enter matchday 35 on 69 points. Atalanta has the best goal differntial should they all remain tied. Napoli is as hot as anyone and only two points back and then Lazio is five back from the trio.
Atalanta visit Parma on Sunday (8:00 am CT) in a game they are very heavily favored. Following that match, they finish the season: vs Benevento, @ Genoa, vs AC Milan. They will be heavy favorites in each of the next three, so their chances of another year in the Champions League appear good.
Juventus has already been dethroned from their nine straight Serie A titles. It has been an extremely disappointing campaign which also saw them upset by FC Porto in the Round of 16 of UCL competition. Juve host AC Milan in a huge game to determine things Sunday (1:45 pm CT). You'd have to think the winner here is in great shape, with the loser maybe needing help. After Sunday, Juve finishes: @ Sassuolo, vs Inter, @ Bologna. Certainly not the easiest last four fixtures and add to that the Coppa Italia final vs Atalanta before the final matchday. Is it possible Juve could miss Champions League?
AC Milan are the final of the trio currently tied for 2nd. Milan led the league for most of the year before a bad stretch from mid-February to mid-March saw their title hopes go away. We know they have the huge clash at Juventus this Sunday (see above) and here's how they finish: @ Torino, vs Cagliari, @Atalanta. This certainly appears the toughest finish of the three who are tied and we think AC Milan may truly fall from title favorites to Europa League... wow.
Napoli are the hottest team in Italy and frankly one of the hottest in Europe right now. Napoli have only one loss over their last 13 fixtures (all comps) and have won 9 in that stretch. The Blues are solid favorites on their away match with Spezia Saturday (8:00 am CT) and following that they finish: vs Udinese, @ Fiorentina, vs Verona. Napoli will be favored in all these games and we see them likely to pass AC Milan when all is said and done.
The final side in the European spots is Lazio. The side from Rome has also been in fine form to pass their city rivals Roma with a solid hold on sixth position. Lazio has a game in hand on everyone and should not be counted out of the Top 4 yet. Their run to the finish starts Saturday at Fiorentina (1:45 pm CT). It's a game they are fairly favored and will need all three points likely. Their finish: vs Parma, @ Roma, vs Torino, @ Sassuolo. Certainly a couple tricky road games remain sandwiched around two very winnable home fixtures.
Our members will likely have 2-4 plays in Serie A this weekend
Let's take a stab at projected final standings here:
2. Atalanta 79 points
3. Juventus 77
4. Napoli 76
5. Lazio 75
6. AC Milan 74
As always, we will have a big betting card this weekend. Plays will be finalized Friday afternoon and sent to members for the weekend. If you're interested in becoming an SPC Member, please DM us @Soccer_Winners on Twitter or email email@example.com It's just $50 to join and that's a one-time lifetime membership fee!
Good Luck on your wagers this weekend!