Manchester City, Liverpool neck-and-neck in betting market ahead of heavyweight Premier League bout

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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Two-time defending Premier League champion Manchester City is a slight underdog against league-leading Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s pivotal matchup at Anfield (11:30 a.m. ET/10:30 a.m. CT, NBCSN).

The Westgate SuperBook has the visiting Citizens installed at even-money on the spread (where a draw results in a push for bettors), while the Reds sit at -120. On the three-way line, bettors can find City at +170 to win the match, while Liverpool offers a slightly smaller payout at +145, with the draw +260. The total is 3 goals (UNDER -120).

Sunday’s match has major title implications, as Liverpool leads second-place City by six points on the EPL table heading into the busy holiday schedule. A win by either club will provide a massive boost to its domestic title hopes. In Liverpool’s case, three points against the reigning champions will put them in the driver’s seat one-third of the way through the grueling nine-month campaign.

The Reds are unbeaten in 28 consecutive EPL matches and haven’t lost at Anfield in a jaw-dropping 45 straight (their last league defeat at home came on April 23, 2017). City hasn’t won at Anfield since 2003, long before the club was purchased by Sheikh Mansour, the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

Despite its league-leading 31 points through the first 11 matches of the season, Liverpool has made it a habit of scoring late to salvage three points. The Reds were down 1-0 visiting Aston Villa last weekend before scoring back-to-back goals – one in the 87th minute and another in extra time – to secure the win. Against Tottenham the weekend prior, they needed two second-half goals to overcome an early deficit. An 85th-minute equalizer salvaged a 1-1 October draw against Manchester United, and a 95th-minute James Milner penalty allowed the Reds to beat Leicester City 2-1 a month ago.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp knows his team can’t keep counting on winning at the brink, especially against a potent Manchester City attack that has the Citizens eight goals ahead of the Reds on goal-differential. City striker Sergio Aguero is in fine form and is priced at +470 at FanDuel Sportsbook to be the game’s first goalscorer, the shortest odds of any player (Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is next at +490).

City’s No. 1 goalkeeper Edison is sitting out Sunday’s match with a muscle injury. Backup Claudio Bravo, who was sent off with a red card in his team’s midweek Champions League match against Italian side Atalanta (a 1-1 draw), will get the start in goal.

Liverpool has a sizable travel edge against City, having played its midweek Champions League match at Anfield (a 2-1 victory over Belgian side Genk).

The best investment path for bettors is the draw, preferably at +275 or better. Both sides understand the importance of Sunday’s match and the massive ramifications if they allow the other side to gain three valuable points at their expense.

These clubs fought to a scoreless draw in last fall’s matchup at Anfield. City prevailed 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in their second contest of last season in early January. If the teams are even in the later stages of Sunday’s matchup, it is difficult to imagine either side going for it at the very end – especially manager Pep Guardiola and the Citizens, who know that they can ill afford a defeat.

“As a manager, I said last season when we won the league, they’re the best contender I ever faced in my career to win this league,” Guardiola told reporters this week.

With both clubs aware of the heightened importance of Sunday’s match, the prospects of a more conservative gameplan from the two strongest attacking squads in England make the draw an appetizing proposition at the market price.

Pick: Draw at +260 or better

Also check out: Doggy Juice Podcast – Champions League group stage breakdown

Manchester City at Liverpool betting odds, props

Odds via Westgate SuperBook unless noted otherwise

Manchester City +170
Draw +260
Liverpool +145

Manchester City
Liverpool Pick -120

Over 3 EVEN
Under 3 -120

Both Teams to Score
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Yes -205
No +156

Match Result/Total Goals
Odds via BetOnline
Manchester City/Over 2.5 +240
Manchester City/Under 2.5 +550
Draw/Over 2.5 +750
Draw/Under 2.5 +350
Liverpool/Over 2.5 +240
Liverpool/Under 2.5 +550

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