Chelsea have hit the skids as the calendar year comes to a close – and they'll get no relief Sunday as they visit Tottenham in a battle for fourth place in the English Premier League standings. The Blues have dropped four of their past five domestic games to take themselves out of the running for a Top-2 slot, and are ever-so-slight +175 underdogs for this weekend's tilt with Spurs (+137).
The hosts sit three points back of Chelsea for the No. 4 spot in the table and would love to extend a recent trend between the teams that has seen the home side prevail in four straight meetings across all competitions.
BARCA STILL THE BOSS
With nothing settled following El Clasico earlier this week, Barcelona remain in front in the La Liga standings as they prepare to host Deportivo Alaves. Barca and Real Madrid battled to a scoreless draw in their highly-anticipated meeting that was rescheduled from earlier in the season, leaving the teams level on points but Barcelona ahead by virtue of having one more victory.
Barca (-600) are expected to remain in front after the weekend as they find themselves overwhelmingly favored against a CD Alaves club (+1600) that has lost nine of its previous 10 trips to Camp Nou.
TIME FOR A REBOUND
Back-to-back draws have not only cost Inter Milan top spot in the Italian League, it has left the runners-up three points off the pace set by table-leading Juventus as they look to get back into the win column Saturday against visiting Genoa.
Inter (-300) remain very much in the title hunt, and are in great position to earn three points against a Genoa side (+850) that ranks 19th in the table with just two victories from its first 16 games. And Inter have plenty of momentum coming into this one, having defeated Genoa by a combined 9-0 tally in a pair of one-sided victories last season.
HERTA HEATING UP
Hertha Berlin are finally showing some promise as they keep their Top-6 hopes alive and they'll face a legitimate challenger to their three-game point streak Saturday as they host second-place Borussia Monchengladbach.
Hertha Berlin (+210) have put a rough start behind them with two wins and a draw over their past three games to give themselves a little breathing room outside the relegation zone. But they're slight underdogs against a visiting Monchengladbach club (+125) that sits level on points with RB Leipzig atop the German League table and has won eight of the past 12 meetings between the teams.
• Expect plenty of fireworks between the second and third place teams in the English Premier League table on Saturday as Manchester City host Leicester City. Man City have scored two or more goals in 15 of their previous 18 home matches in league play, and are a decent play at +100 on the O2.5 despite facing a Leicester team that has allowed just 19 goals in 14 games.
• Could Chelsea and Tottenham be headed for a high-scoring affair? In addition to both teams ranking in the Top-5 in goals scored in the English Premier League, the Blues have exceeded the 2.5-goal threshold in each of their previous eight away matches in league play. The O3.5 could be an attractive option here at +137.
• Can Getafe continue its incredible goal-prevention run? The fourth-place team in the Spanish League standings has been remarkably stout heading into its Saturday league encounter with host Villarreal, having recorded clean sheets in five of their previous six games overall. But with Villarreal favored here, the shutout is a longshot play at +250.
• Real Betis and Atletico Madrid have seen nothing but close-contested low-scoring games in their recent history as they renew acquaintances Sunday at historic Benito Villamarín Stadium. The teams have not only gone below the 2.5-goal total in six straight meetings, they've combined for just six goals in that span. Consider the U1.5 for this game at +220.
• Oddsmakers are expecting things to be a little tense in Saturday's Serie A encounter between Udinese and visiting Cagliari. But while these teams have racked up four red cards over their previous five encounters, they've averaged just 3.4 yellow cards over that span, making the U5.5 on this weekend's showdown a safe option at -125.
• Napoli's stunning fall from grace might not necessarily end with this Sunday's visit to Sassuolo – but you can expect the ninth-place Italian League side to put up a fight. Napoli are winless in their last eight league matches but are in good offensive position against a Sassuolo side that has allowed 2+ goals in five of six home games. We like Napoli O2.5 at +162.
• Look for Bayern Munich to light it up this Saturday against visiting Wolfsburg in its quest to return to the top of the Bundesliga standings. Bayern have incredibly won 21 of their previous 22 home encounters with Wolfsburg, and have a pair of 6-0 victories over their rivals in the last five meetings. The Bayern -2 handicap looks like a sound play at +105.
• Union Berlin and Fortuna Duesseldorf have brought out the best in each others' offenses as they duel Sunday. The teams have surpassed the 2.5-goal barrier in each of their previous three meetings and are averaging a robust 4.7 combined goals per game over that stretch. The O2.5 is the safe option at -110, while the O3.5 is also in play at +240.
• Mikel Arteta will be introduced as Arsenal's new head coach this week – but he won't be on the sidelines for the Gunners' Saturday encounter with Everton. Arteta, who made 149 appearances with Arsenal during his playing career, will try to lead the Arsenal to a Top-4 berth in the EPL; they're currently 10th, and are +2000 to finish in the Top-4 by season's end.
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