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Odds and Ends

PL Best Bets: Browns to outpace United-Leeds

by Brad Thomas
Updated On: December 20, 2020, 9:12 am ET

The Premier League action rolled along this week, as Liverpool moved to the top of the table after a midweek victory over Tottenham while Wolverhampton rallied to defeat Chelsea, dropping the Blues from their spot inside the top three.

Each week I'll break down the Premier League action from a betting perspective, digging through information pertinent to bettors and offering my take on particular matchups. This week's slate includes two matches that have caught my eye, including one that features a customized Name A Bet prop, with all odds via PointsBet Sportsbook:

Arsenal at Everton (12:30 p.m. ET Saturday)

Line: Everton (-135), Arsenal (+108) (Draw No Bet)

At the beginning of the season, there was a glimmer of hope for Arsenal. But their more recent form suggests otherwise, as they find themselves just three places from possible relegation. Arsenal have not won an EPL fixture in their last six attempts, as they've been shut out four times during this winless streak and six times in 13 overall fixtures this season.

Mikel Arteta brought in Brazilian winger Willian in hopes that he would add the much-needed offensive firepower the Gunners lacked. Instead, the new acquisition seems like a shell of himself, just floating around the field without offering much contribution. He has yet to find the back of the net and has just three assists in 11 matches played. Outside of Aubameyang, Arsenal do not pose much of a threat in front of the net.

With victories over both Leicester City and Chelsea, Everton come into this weekend's fixture in great form. Ancelotti's team is finally healthy and fit, which has translated into results on the pitch. Everton have won three of their past five matches, with just a single loss.

Unlike Arsenal, Everton have multiple players on their team who pose a serious threat on the offensive end. The lineups Ancelotti has put out defensively have come into question, but there is no doubt that they are poised to make a run at a top-three finish and earn a berth into the Champions League group stage.

Since Arsenal have only won two away EPL fixtures all season, Everton should come away from this match with no worse than a draw. I will be betting Everton Draw No Bet (-135), which means the bet wins with an Everton win and is graded as a push if the match ends in a draw.

Leeds United at Manchester United (11:30 a.m. ET Sunday)

Cleveland Browns at New York Giants (8:20 p.m. ET Sunday)

NBC Name A Bet Line: Total goals (Leeds-Manchester United) (-125), Total Browns touchdowns (+105)

This is a unique prop bet that our friends at PointsBet created through their Name A Bet tool, with which anyone can request a customized wager.

The Cleveland Browns are fresh off what might be one of the best games of the year, a back-and-forth contest with the Ravens that ultimately led to a 47-42 loss and the end of Cleveland's four-game win streak.

The Browns should be eager to travel to MetLife Stadium to take on one of the league's worst offenses. Their defense is in desperate need of a dominant bounce-back performance, after allowing 47 points to Baltimore and 35 to the Titans in the game prior.

Offensively, the Browns are fluid and excel at sticking to their identity. They're a run-first team that is third in the league with 156.2 rush yards per game. The two-headed rushing attack of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt masks the passing inefficiencies Baker Mayfield possesses.

The Giants have been relying heavily on a strong defense, but they have few offensive fireworks at their disposal. With Colt McCoy likely under center for the Giants, you should see Freddie Kitchens call a very conservative game in an effort to limit the time of possession for the potent Browns offense.

The fixture at Old Trafford should not be short of fireworks. Both Leeds and Manchester United have leaky defenses and the offensive firepower to turn a game upside down. The fact that the two teams combined for 12 goals in their respective fixtures this week leads me to believe defense was a focus in training for both on Friday.

Outside of a 6-1 drubbing by Tottenham, Manchester United have fared well with protecting their goal at home against EPL foes. United have shut out three EPL opponents at home, including Chelsea and Manchester City.

This will be a fun bet no matter which side you back. On the EPL side, my ceiling was around three or potentially four goals for the game. On the other side, the Giants have yet to allow more than three touchdowns in a single game, but the high-powered Browns just might be the squad to do it. This is shaping up like a toss-up, and perhaps more of one than the odds indicate. I'll take More Browns touchdowns (+105) given the line value.

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Brad Thomas

Brad is a sports handicapper who is lucky enough to write about his true love; sports. "We may all root for different teams, but our objective remains the same… Beat the books! Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint." Follow Brad on Twitter @MrBradThomas.