Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale

Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Just as soon as the 2019-20 English Premier League season ended, the 2020-21 season kicked off.

With just over a month between the final game of the 2019-20 season, and the start of the 2020-21 season, teams around the English Premier League didn't have much time to make changes to their roster. To accommodate for the shorter offseason, the transfer window was kept open for almost a month after the kickoff of the new season. While some teams made huge splashes while the transfer window was open, others were left wanting more when the transfer window slammed shut.



Liverpool

We'll start at the top of the Premier League. Liverpool didn't make many moves during the transfer window, but the Reds did make one of the splashiest, bringing in midfielder Thiago Alcantara from German giants Bayern Munich. Thiago is one of the top midfielders in the world, and should be a fixture in Liverpool's lineup once Alcantara has recovered from battling COVID-19. Liverpool was able to fend off Barcelona for Alcantara's services, as the Spaniard is looking for a new challenge.

Also joining Thiago at Liverpool is Diogo Jota, who spent the last three years at Wolverhampton, netting 33 goals. Jurgen Klopp has plenty of options at forward with Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane. The acquisition of Jota will only bolster one of the most potent attacks in the Premier League.

Chelsea

Chelsea striker Timo Werner Chelsea striker Timo WernerJavier Garcia/BPI/REX

The Pensioners were able to bring in their top transfer targets, rounding out a squad that was already one of the most dangerous in the Premier League. The biggest signing by the Blues was of Leipzig striker Timo Werner, who netted 77 goals in 126 appearances over the last four years. The addition of Werner will help sure up production from the striker position for Chelsea, which saw Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud combine for 23 goals last year.

The biggest issue for Chelsea lately has been with their defense. To try and address their backline issues, the Blues brought in Thiago Silva from PSG and Ben Chilwell from Leicester City. While Silva is 36 years old, he is still one of the best central defenders in the world. After scoring just four goals in 99 league caps for Leicester City, Chilwell already found the back of the net in his first start for Chelsea on October 3.

The most important move for Chelsea during the transfer window was bringing in goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. Kepa Arrizabalaga has been a disappointment since taking over for the departed Thibault Courtois, saving just 53.9% of the shots on target he has faced. Mendy already notched a clean sheet in his first start for Chelsea a couple weeks ago against Crystal Palace.

Manchester City

Early on in the transfer window it looked like Manchester City was going to make a giant splash by bringing in Barcelona's Lionel Messi, but the best soccer player in the world changed his mind and decided to stay in Spain. The Citizens tried to bolster their defense by bringing in Nathan Ake from relegated Bournemouth, as well as Ruben Dias from Benfica. Mostly set when it comes to their attacking, the only notable addition to the offense was forward Ferran Torres from cash-strapped Valencia.

Arsenal

The Gunners must have not been too broken up by finishing eighth in the Premier League last year, since they didn't do much to address their squad during the transfer window. Aside from bringing in Chelsea's Willian on a free transfer, the only other notable moves by Arsenal were to get young defender Gabriel from Lille and defensive midfielder Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid. We'll soon find out where Mikel Arteta's team stands, as their next three matches are against Manchester City, Leicester City, and Manchester United.

Tottenham

After finishing sixth last season, Tottenham has their eyes on a Champions League spot this year. Not only did Spurs bring back Gareth Bale on loan from Real Madrid, but Jose Mourinho was also able to sign left back Sergio Reguilon from the Spanish giants. Tottenham just dropped six goals on Manchester United before the international break. If Spurs are able to improve their defense after allowing 47 goals last season, they could be a major factor in the Premier League this year.

Manchester United

The team who has to be most disappointed with their haul during the transfer period has to be Manchester United. It's not a secret that the Red Devils were hot after Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, but they weren't able to bring Sancho in. Instead, United had to settle for Donny van de Beek from Ajax and an aging Edison Cavani. It could be a long season for the Red Devils, who not only lost to Crystal Palace and Tottenham by a combined score of 9-2, but also needed a Bruno Fernandes penalty 10 minutes into second half stoppage time to defeat Brighton & Hove Albion.

Everton midfielder James Rodriguez Everton midfielder James RodriguezAlex Livesey - Getty Images

Everton

The most shocking storyline of the young season has been the play of Everton, who have won all four of their matches so far. James Rodriguez was brought in on a free transfer from Real Madrid, and all Rodriguez has done so far is score three goals. After playing sporadically with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich since the 2014 World Cup, where he became known as one of the best young stars in the game, the Colombian is eager to remind the world just how talented he is.

Along with the acquisition of Rodriguez, a move that was just as big for the Toffees was the loan deal to bring in Roma goalie Robin Olsen. Despite being England's starting keeper in the 2018 World Cup, Jordan Pickford hasn't been very good over the last few years. After allowing over 50 goals last year, Everton knew they had to make a move to try and light a fire under Pickford, and the addition of Olsen could do just that.

Aston Villa

Everton has been the biggest surprise in this young season, Aston Villa is right on their heels. Aston Villa finished just one point clear of relegation last season, but so far is perfect through three matches. There might not be a more unpredictable result this year than what the Lions did to Liverpool right before the international break, torching the Reds 7-2 at Villa Park. Propelling Villa to the incredible result was Ollie Watkins, who netted a hat trick, becoming the first player to record a hat trick against Liverpool since Dimitar Berbatov did so for Manchester United a decade ago. Watkins was brought in on a transfer from Brentford.

One of the more under-the-radar moves this season could end up being the acquisition of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal. Martinez recorded clean sheets in his first two matches of the season for Aston Villa, becoming the first Villa goalie to record back-to-back clean sheets since Brad Guzan in 2014. If Martinez is able to continue his solid start, Villa will be fighting for a spot in Europe instead of battling to avoid relegation.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Tom Pennington, Getty Images

In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Bam Adebayo's 31-point and 10-rebound double-double led the Miami Heat to a 109-103 victory over the Celtics on the road. That was followed by a dominant second-half performance by Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins who led the Warriors to a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.

Tonight, we'll get the first of these two matchups. Boston will look to come back in their second home game against a Heat team that is clearly not at 100% healthy. Tyler Herro has been ruled out for Game 4 while Kyle Lowry remains questionable. Here are some of the best bets for tonight's and tomorrow's big Game 4s.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 3:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

ECF Game 4: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics -7 (MIA Leads 2-1)

In Game 4, the Celtics rallied back from double-digits to make things interesting in the fourth quarter. However, Boston conceded Game 3 to the Miami Heat 109-103. On Sunday, Bam Adebayo was getting everything he wanted down low. He finished with 31 points, 10 boards, six assists, four steals, and one block. Ime Udoka will need to boost the presence of his big men down low, perhaps by extending Daniel Theis’ minutes or having him share the floor more with Al Horford. The major reason for which the Heat are considered the seven-point underdogs for tonight’s game is injuries. Tyler Herro has already been ruled out for Game 4, and the Heat have four or five other players in their lineup currently listed as questionable. This includes Max Struss, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and P.J. Tucker. Butler is dealing with knee inflammation which sidelined him for the second half of Game 3.

Even if all of the players in the Heat’s rotation are good to go tonight (outside of Herro), Boston has not lost back-to-back home games since late October. Plus, Jaylen Brown is shooting much better than he did earlier in the postseason. In fact, he’s elevated his shooting to 50% from the field through the 2021-22 playoffs through 14 games played. Expect Boston to bounce back big in Game 4, with multiple players on the Miami Heat not at full strength.

The Pick: Boston Celtics -7 (-110)

WCF Game 4: Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)

Well, it’s looking like the Golden State Warriors are returning to the NBA Finals. With the emergence of Jordan Poole late this season and into the postseason, Andrew Wiggins’ First-Team All-Star season, and Klay Thompson’s return to basketball, Golden State has been simply phenomenal. Golden State is simply that good this year, with anyone on the team capable of stepping up. Stephen Curry erupted in Game 3, while it was Andrew Wiggins that caught fire in the second half of Game 4. Any given night, the Warriors have one or two guys who they can count on for scoring approximately 25+ points. Considering the Mavericks' struggles this round, particularly behind the three-point line, bettors should go with the Warriors as the slight underdog. Teams get swept sometimes. Just ask the Brooklyn Nets. The Warriors will bring out the brooms and sweep the Mavericks as they punch their ticket to the NBA Finals Tuesday night.

The Pick: Golden State Warriors ML -104

NBA Player Props

Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)

Prop #1: Stephen Curry, Over 27.5 Points

Stephen Curry has scored 31 points and 32 points over the last two games. He’s done so by converting at least 50% from the field in each contest. It makes sense that he would score at least 28 points in a series-clinching victory tomorrow night. Curry is averaging 27.1 PPG on 45.9% this postseason but has certainly put up more points and done so more efficiently over the last few games.

Prop #2: Luka Doncic, Over 3.5 Threes

Luka has drained nine three-pointers over the last two games. He’s knocked down at least four threes in three of his last four contests. Facing elimination and hoping to not let down the home crowd in back-to-back home playoff games, Doncic will convert at least four baskets from downtown in Game 4.

Tyler Herro (Left), Bam Adebayo (Right), Miami Heat

Getty Images

Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and the Miami Heat held their own against the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Likewise, Andrew Wiggins and Stephen Curry led the Warriors to a 112-87 blowout over Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Tonight, the Celtics play their second game on the road against the Heat. On Friday night, the Mavericks will look to bounce back after shooting horrifically in Game 1.

Let’s take a look at the best bets for the two NBA Conference Final Game 2 matchups set for 8:30 PM EST. tonight and 9:00 PM EST. tomorrow night.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 4:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)

After a nail-biting series with the Milwaukee Bucks that the Celtics won in grandiose fashion, Boston conceded Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat. Tonight, they play Game 2 of the series at the FTX Arena and hope to bounce back from Tuesday’s 11-point loss. One of the principal reasons for their defeat in Game 1 was the absence of Marcus Smart (foot sprain) and Al Horford (health & safety protocols). It remained a relatively close game until the third quarter in which the Celtics were outscored 14-3 to begin the second half. Derrick White filled in for Marcus Smart and was terribly inefficient from the field. He scored three points (1-4 FG) and had four assists in 29 minutes filling in for the Defensive Player of the Year. In contrast, Max Struss and Gabe Vincent did a terrific job of filling in for Kyle Lowry, combining for 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting. In addition, Tyler Herro had a good night with a pivotal 18 points (7-15 FG) off the bench. Fortunately for the Celtics, both Smart and Horford are expected to return tonight.

Head Coach Ime Udoka indicated to reporters today that Smart was probable to play this evening. Horford was cleared of health and safety protocols today making him available for tonight’s contest. For those of you who have watched the Celtics this postseason, Horford and Smart have upped their play and have been absolutely integral to the team’s success. Tonight, let’s take the Boston Celtics to take a game on the road in the same fashion that they took two road games from the Bucks in the last series.

The Pick: Boston Celtics ML +108

Tonight's Best NBA Player Props

Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)

Prop#1: Gabe Vincent Over 9.5 Points
In Game 1 without Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent scored 17 points in 34 minutes on 50% shooting from the field. As Kyle Lowry is out again for Game 2 tonight, expect Vincent to score at least 10 points. Vincent has performed admirably while filling in for the veteran. Even when Lowry returns, it's quite possible that Erik Spoelstra will give some of Lowry's minutes to Vincent.
Prop#2: Al Horford Over 9.5 Points
After five straight double-digit scoring performances, Al Horford scored eight points or fewer in the last three games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Bucks. He missed Game 1 of the Celtics' series against the Miami Heat after entering Health & Safety protocols. Since he was only out for one game, he shouldn't face any minute restrictions tonight. Horford should score at least 10 points in 30+ minutes on the floor.

Tomorrow Night's Best NBA Bet

Game: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State -6 (GSW Leads 1-0)

Dallas was annihilated by Golden State in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. This comes after the Mavs blew out the Phoenix Suns on the road in impressive fashion, punching their ticket to the next round of the playoffs for a series against the Warriors. Golden State shot an impressive 56.1% from the field in the opening game and finished with 112 points. Just as important as the offensive production, Golden State clamped down on defense. The Warriors contained Luka Doncic, who converted just six of his 18 field goals on his way to 20 points. Andrew Wiggins did an excellent job guarding the young playmaker. Luka's teammates didn't help out much either as the Mavericks shot 36% from the field in Game 1, and 22.9% from downtown (11-48 3PT FG) for just 87 points on the night.

While I think the Warriors will win again on Friday night, expect the Mavericks to keep things more interesting after such an abysmal night shooting from the field. Dallas will make the adjustments needed to make this a competitive Game 2 in the Bay area.

The Pick: Dallas Mavericks +6 (-110)

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Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

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Klay Thompson is coming off one of his signature Game 6 performances. Thompson dropped his second-highest point total of the postseason, punching Golden State's ticket to the Western Conference Finals after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies in six games. In the elimination game, Thompson led the team with 30 points (11-22 from the field and 8-14 from beyond the arc), eight boards, two assists, and three blocks. Considering the multitude of injuries he has fought back from and the adversity he has faced, it's quite amazing that the five-time All-Star has converted at least 50% of his three-point shots in three of his last four outings. He seems to be in great form entering this pivotal series with the Mavericks.

Dallas stunned the top-seeded Phoenix Suns and reigning Western Conference champs on the road in Game 7, 123-90, and earned a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Let's see if Thompson can remain scorching hot as Stephen Curry and the Dubs host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals tonight. Now, let's take a look at some of the best bets and player props to consider for tonight’s big matchup!

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 3:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

Best Bets of the Night

Bet #1: Golden State Warriors -5 (-110)

Following a tough loss in Game 5 to the Grizzlies despite Ja Morant’s absence from the lineup, the Warriors bounced back and closed the series at home in Game 6. They take on the Dallas Mavericks, who’ve been absolutely unbelievable on defense. Changes made to the Mavs’ rotation by Jason Kidd worked flawlessly against Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and the Suns in the previous round. One surprise for Dallas this postseason has been former New York Knicks lottery pick, Frank Ntilikina. He's a player who has stepped up immensely this postseason, especially on defense. Throughout the series, Ntilikina held Chris Paul and Devin Booker to a combined 3-of-40 shooting from the field when he guarded them.

It will be interesting to see if Jason Kidd keeps his minutes up, or perhaps increases them after what was truly an astonishing defensive performance against the Suns. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, the Golden State Warriors have four efficient scorers who will need to be contained. The Warriors will cover the spread tonight and win by more than five points on their home floor.

Bet #2: Over 214.5 Total Points (-110)

Dallas scored an impressive 123 points in Game 7, and they did so on the road. I expect them to reach at least 110 points in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors shot on and off throughout their series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Nonetheless, they averaged 111 PPG in their series against Memphis (666 total points scored by the Warriors over six games). Both teams play a style of basketball that stresses ball movement to find an open man beyond the arc. When Dallas or Golden State shoot 40%-45% from the field, they can score in the hundreds because of the high volume of shots they take. Dallas started taking more shots and playing at a faster pace in the second half of their series against Phoenix. By the half in Game 7, Dallas was up 57-27. In the game, the Mavericks went 19-of-39 from downtown (48.9%). Even more impressive was Dallas’ 56.8% shooting from the field. Although the Warriors are one of the best defensive teams in the league, a 214.5-point Over / Under for tonight’s game is quite low. Smash the Over.

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NBA Player Props of the Night

Prop #1: Jordan Poole Over 1.5 Threes (-174)

Jordan Poole has finally cooled down after a stretch of three 20-point games against the Grizzlies. Over the last three contests, Poole has only hit two or more three-pointers in one contest. Over those last three games, he shot a combined 3-of-17 from downtown. While Poole has been highly inefficient over the last few games, he’ll hit at least two three-pointers in Game 1 tonight. The odds of this prop reflect how likely it is to happen. Although Poole isn't seeing as high a usage rate as when Curry and Thompson were injured during the regular season, Poole should still see plenty of open looks in the 25+ minutes he should log tonight. Given that Dallas will most likely try to stop Curry and Thompson from beating them, Poole should see a few wide-open looks. He will knock down at least two from deep range tonight.

Prop #2: Klay Thompson Over 20.5 Points (-112)

Klay Thompson has averaged just about 20.5 points since he came back this regular season. Throughout the postseason, he’s played strong and for the most part, been efficient from the field. Through 11 games in this postseason, Thompson is averaging 20.4 PPG on 45% shooting from the field. I like him to hit the over here in his first Western Conference Final matchup in three years. After getting his swagger back and dropping 30 points to eliminate the Grizzlies last round, Thompson should have all. the confidence in the world heading into Game 1 in the bay.

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