The busy and exciting world of European soccer can sometimes be difficult to navigate for bettors. Monty Andrews takes a look at some of the most important news stories, odds, key injuries, and betting trends to help with your footy wagers.
FIXTURE OF THE WEEK: Liverpool v. Man City
It didn't take long for Manchester City to start up a new winning streak after seeing their incredible 19-game run halted in a stunning scoreless draw with Crystal Palace. But the visitors will be in tough to keep their undefeated run intact as they visit Liverpool on Sunday in the marquee game on this week's English Premier League schedule. Man City are a slight +115 favorite on Bet365 after opening their EPL ledger with 20 victories and two draws, building a whopping 15-point lead atop the table. Host Liverpool (+200) have won three consecutive matches to climb within three points of second-place Manchester United.
Top 4 Tottenham?
Tottenham Hotspur have played their way into top-4 contention atop the EPL table as they look to extend their unbeaten run to five games this weekend against visiting Everton. The fifth-place Spurs (-400) have rebounded nicely from a 4-1 humbling at the hands of Man City in mid-December, reeling off four victories and a draw in their last five matches across all competitions - with all four of those wins coming by multiple goals. They catch Everton (+900) at the right time, too, with the visitors having dropped consecutive league matches and coming into this one with just one victory in their last 19 EPL away games.
Real Madrid continue to see their La Liga title chances slip away with every missed three-point opportunity - and things don't get any easier Saturday as they entertain Villarreal. The hosts come in as heavy -450 favorites on Bet365, but have won just three of their previous eight La Liga matches to slip 16 points behind table-leading Barcelona. Villarreal (+900) come in having captured seven of a possible nine points over their previous three games while allowing just one goal in that span. But Real Madrid have the edge in the recent head-to-head series, racking up seven victories and four draws in their last 12 league encounters.
Bundesliga action returns following a lengthy league hiatus, and fans won't have to wait long for a tasty matchup as table-leading Bayern Munich visit fourth-place Bayer Leverkusen on Friday. Bayern Munich (-125) went into the break on a four-game winning streak to extend its lead atop the Bundesliga standings to double digits over runner-up Schalke; the visitors enter the weekend a whopping -6,600 favorite to repeat as German champions. But Bayer Leverkusen (+320) have other ideas; they're unbeaten in their previous 12 matches and have held Bayern Munich without a goal in their last four encounters at BayArena.
* The EPL's best team continues to try and get better, with Manchester City reportedly tabling a 20-million-Euro bid to pry star striker Alexis Sanchez away from Arsenal. Man City are already -10,000 favorites on Bet365 to win the EPL title.
* Valencia is hoping to lure midfielder Francis Coquelin away from Arsenal, reportedly tabling a 12-million-Euro bid for the 26-year-old. Valencia presently sit third in the La Liga table, and are -250 to finish top-four in the standings.
* Leipzig aren't ready to part with talented young midfielder Naby Keita, and will reportedly resist Liverpool's efforts to bring the 22-year-old on board before his expected summer departure. Leipzig is presently tied for third on points in the Bundesliga.
* Juventus has no plans to lower its 60-million-Euro asking price for standout fullback Alex Sandro, making a transfer less likely by the day. Juventus enters the Serie A break one point back of Napoli for top spot in the table.
* Liverpool is confident star forward Mohamed Salah will be fit for this weekend's pivotal encounter with Manchester City. Salah, who has reportedly generated interest from Real Madrid, has a groin issue that kept him out of last Friday's FA Cup tilt with Everton.
* Barcelona fans will need to wait a few weeks to see new star Philippe Coutinho in action. The Liverpool transfer is dealing with a thigh injury that is expected to prevent him from making his Barcelona debut until the end of the month.
* Bayern Munich could be down to its third-string goalkeeper after Sven Ulreich suffered a sprained finger in training last week. Ulreich's injury comes at a bad time, with first-string 'keeper Manuel Neuer still recovering from a serious foot injury.
* Juventus could be without skilled striker Paulo Dybala for up to a month after he suffered a thigh injury in last weekend's Serie A triumph over Cagliari. That timeline puts his availability for next month's Champions League tilt with Tottenham in question.
* Burnley have been a difficult road opponent of late, earning draws in each of their previous away tilts in English Premier League action. Bet365 wagerers are getting +220 odds on a fourth consecutive road tie this weekend at Crystal Palace.
* Bournemouth have given fans on both sides plenty to cheer about in recent weeks, going above the 2.5-goal total in five consecutive league games. They're paying off at -200 to extend that streak Sunday against visiting Arsenal.
* How about a real over streak? Celta Vigo have exceeded the 2.5-goal number in a whopping 14 consecutive away games in La Liga play. Bet365 is offering -106 odds on that run continuing Sunday against host Levante.
* Schalke have been bizarrely consistent, losing at half-time and drawing at full-time in each of their previous three road games. A Draw/Schalke first-half/second-half combo will pay +700 this weekend at Leipzig.