It’s Romelu Lukaku week.
Lukaku is scheduled to feature in some capacity for the Blues against Arsenal after completing his transfer from Inter Milan.
Lukaku was a scoring machine in Serie A last season and he is exactly what Chelsea needs after Timo Werner struggled mightily in his first season in the English Premier League.
Chelsea has had trouble with Arsenal in the last few seasons, but no one will argue that it is the better club going into Sunday’s London derby.
Arsenal is just kind of a “Meh” club at the moment and that description was further driven home by its opening loss to Brentford.
Until Arsenal proves it is competent again to be considered a top four club, which may take some time, it is hard to back the Gunners in any clash between the “Big Six” of the Premier League.
Throughout the season, I promise you will see Lukaku goal scoring props to go along with Chelsea money line selections, but since we do not know if he will start or not, the pick seems very easy.
However, I was able to make a bet on Lukaku this week that I think will pay off, so let’s start the Soccer Selections there.
Romelu Lukaku To Win EPL Golden Boot (+500)
I stared at this bet more than I would like to admit.
Lukaku scored 47 goals in Serie A play over the last two years and his physical nature is suited for the Premier League style of play.
Lukaku is going to be the main striker for Chelsea and he will have the bulk of the top scoring opportunities. Twenty goals feels like an easy prediction to make.
The Harry Kane-Tottenham Hotspur drama is still ongoing and Mohamed Salah features most weeks in a crowded attack that could take away the goals he needs to challenge Lukaku over an entire EPL season.
Lukaku’s price will only drop once he starts scoring goals, and if Kane is sidelined for a few more games, I could see Chelsea’s top talisman being the Golden Boot favorite if he scores right away.
Weekend Picks (Season Record: 5-2)
Chelsea (-135) vs. Arsenal (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. ET)
I stared at this money line even harder than the Lukaku Golden Boot ticket.
I love Chelsea in this spot. The Blues are simply the better constructed and more reliable team than Arsenal.
Arsenal has a three-game winning streak in league play against Chelsea, but the Gunners are dealing with many more questions for Sunday’s game than those previous contests.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will most likely not play and that puts Arsenal at a significant disadvantage right off the bat.
I’ll take the better and fitter squad in any matchup and that is where the logic lies here.
Aston Villa (-120) vs. Newcastle (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET)
Here’s another EPL pick that feels like a slam dunk.
Aston Villa did not get off to the best start with a 3-2 loss to Watford and the positioning of its attacking players was questionable, but it looked better in the second half.
Newcastle United’s defense was nonexistent in stretches against West Ham United. The Magpies were one of three teams with an expected goals against over two.
Newcastle’s defensive task does not get any easier for Saturday’s trip to Villa Park. I’ll trust the Villains to bounce back over relying on Newcastle’s defense on any day that ends in Y.
Leeds United vs. Everton (Over 2.5) (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET)
There’s no such thing as a boring match that involves Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.
Leeds conceded the most goals of the opening weekend in its 5-1 loss to Manchester United and it should be susceptible to more concessions versus Everton.
The Toffees carry a solid one-two punch in attack with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, who is somehow playing after a whirlwind summer with the Brazilian Copa America and Olympic squads.
Everton produced the highest xG in the Premier League last weekend at 2.4 and that came against a leaky Southampton defense.
Leeds’ unit is a bit better, but there is not a significant upgrade from the Saints there.
I’ll take my chances with Everton creating a ton of scoring opportunities and Leeds potentially striking once or twice against the run of play.
Eintracht Frankfurt (-165) vs. Augsburg (Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET)
Eintracht Frankfurt won its last three games against Augsburg by a combined score of 9-0.
You don’t find lopsided dominance in the Bundesliga of that caliber outside of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund often.
Both teams took their defensive lumps last weekend, but Eintracht’s five-goal concession to Dortmund is less concerning than the four goals allowed by Augsburg against Hoffenheim.
Augsburg had the second-highest xGA (3.4) in the Bundesliga last week and it was one of two teams with double-digit road losses last season. The other was relegated side Schalke.
Brest vs. PSG (Friday, 3 p.m. ET)
Kylian Mbappe to score (-140)
We’re still waiting on the arrivals of Lionel Messi and Neymar to the Paris Saint-Germain lineup.
Don’t feel bad for PSG though. Kylian Mbappe is leading the attacking line and he’s in a good spot to score versus Brest on Friday.
PSG should overwhelm the Brest defense. It scored multiple goals against its Friday opponent in their last six head-to-head meetings.
Mbappe should receive plenty of chances to find the back of the net and -140 is a solid price for him in what could be a one-sided matchup.
Bordeaux vs. Angers (Over 2.5) (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET)
Angers is one of two surprise leaders of Ligue 1, along with Clermont Foot, through two weeks of play.
Bordeaux is unsurprisingly near the bottom after some porous defending over 180 minutes of league action.
Bordeaux has the highest xGA in Ligue 1 at 4.4 (!!!!) and it conceded twice in each of its first two games.
Angers put up five goals in its opening matches and it should feast on the openness of its opponent’s defense.
My reason for not picking Angers on the money line is Bordeaux came back from a 2-0 deficit against Marseille to burn me last week.
Bologna (-155) vs. Salernitana (Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Bologna's Serie A campaign hasn't started yet and it is already under a ton of pressure.
Bologna fell in the Coppa Italia to Serie B side Ternada last weekend and it needs to start the league season with a win to erase some of that disappointment.
Bologna has the perfect matchup to do that against promoted side Salernitana, who trouble scoring compared to the other Serie B clubs last season.
I'll take the more polished Serie A side over a team that will be fighting for survival at best in this spot.