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Five for Friday: Best Bets for August 5

We made it. Congratulations, everybody.

With the Hall of Fame Game happening last night and the Premier League and Bundesliga making their returns today, we’re past the summer gambling abyss and back to having plenty of options to bet almost every day of the week. Get ready, because we’ve got plenty of plays coming as both kinds of football return to center stage.

That doesn’t mean I plan to abandon American soccer entirely for my plays, but I’m probably going to favor the women’s game moving forward when I include matches from this side of the Atlantic along with my European soccer plays. What can I say: I’ve got a much better handle on the NWSL right now than I do MLS. Here are my best plays for August 5.

BIRMINGHAM CITY-HUDDERSFIELD TOWN U2, +120

If you needed a good nap over the weekend, watching either of these two teams would have been a great choice. Both looked completely toothless in the final third in their opening matches, and these have been defensive sides anyway over their past few meetings. The past three matches between Birmingham and Huddersfield have all finished with two goals or less, and nothing suggests that will change here. I’ll take the push on two here to get plus money.

RACING LOUISVILLE-WASHINGTON SPIRIT O2.5, -145

Racing was very fortunate not to concede more than once against OL Reign last time out, as Reign took 25 looks at the Louisville net and Racing needed a Herculean effort from Katie Lund to draw the match 1-1. Washington should be better at finishing but should also be wide open at the back. The Spirit have shipped 11 goals over their past six matches and played out a 2-2 draw with Racing last month, which saw Louisville overcome a 2-0 deficit. If you want to get aggressive, a draw and BTTS at +340 is very enticing.

BAYERN MUNICH AND U3.5, +195

I hate this pick, which is very unusual when backing Bayern. Normally, the Bavarians are an easy choice, but not when they face Eintracht Frankfurt. The Eagles have won three of their past six meetings against Bayern, and the Bavarians are playing their first match of the new Bundesliga season without Robert Lewandowski. Bayern is still Bayern, but this has been a tricky fixture for them and really scares me. When you get scared on a bet, the best thing to do is either not bet it or go for a plus money play. I’m opting for the latter move.

ARSENAL ML, -120

Once again, I don’t like this choice. because Arsenal tends to get off to fairly slow starts. Last year, I went the other way and backed newly-promoted Brentford over Arsenal in the season opener and rode the Bees to a cash at +335, banking on emotion to come through. I think the emotion is with the Gunners this time, as they should be motivated to pay Palace back after getting ripped by the Eagles last season. Crystal Palace isn’t a newbie to the Prem and won’t have that kind of emotion at Selhurst Park; I like Arsenal to show its class here.

PORTLAND THORNS AND O2.5, +115

This trend ends here. Portland has had a weird time with North Carolina over the past two years, never scoring more than one goal against the Courage in the past five meetings. The Thorns are much more offensive this season and are on form at Providence Park, where they’ve outscored their past three guests by 14-0. The Courage have allowed 13 goals in their past five matches. If this was Timbers-Charlotte FC, I’d be very worried about getting MLSed, but I think the Thorns’ attack will come through for me here.

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