Saturday Premier League Odds, Picks: Expect Defensive Clash Between Manchester City, Wolves
Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Pep Guardiola.
- Manchester City welcomes Wolves to Etihad Stadium for Saturday's Premier League showdown.
- Wolverhampton plays a defensive style, which could keep the heavy underdog in this intriguing contest.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down the match below and explains why he's forecasting a low-scoring game.
Man City vs. Wolves Odds
|Man City Odds||-650|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+145 / -180)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 7:30 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||NBCSN | fuboTV|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Manchester City looks to keep pace with Liverpool and Chelsea in the title race when it hosts Wolves at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City is in red hot form in the Premier League at the moment, winning its five matches and now holds the top stop in the table with a one point lead over Liverpool and two-point lead over Chelsea. Pep Guardiola's side is already through into the Champions League knockout stage and can shift its full focus to the Premier League for the next two months.
Wolves, meanwhile, have hit a really bad run of form, with only one win and one goal scored in their last five matches. The high-flying offense that took the Premier League by storm the first five matches of the season has fizzled out, and it's hard to see it improving against one of the best defenses in the world.
Man City Remains One of Europe's Elite
Manchester City's performance in the Premier League has pretty much been impeccable this season. The Cityzens have a +25.74 non-penalty expected goal difference (NPxGD) through 15 matches, which is the second-best mark in Europe behind only Bayern Munich.
The biggest reason why City is at this type of elite level again is because of its defense. They Cityzens are conceding just 0.62 NPxG per contest and are number one in every single defensive metric in the Premier League. It's going to be hard for Wolves, who are bottom five in NPxG this season, to create much against Pep Guardiola's defense.
Manchester City is being more direct and quicker in their attacking play this season, but it's not at the level tempo-wise to where Liverpool is. With Wolves sitting very deep and allowing City to have a majority of the ball, this could turn into a sluggish match.
Wolves Set for Defensive Approach
I was curious to see how Wolves would look when they finally had to play one of the top three teams in the league. And boy, were they very defensive.
This is a very interesting team in the fact that it doesn't press high. Once a team crosses the halfway line, though, Wolves press very cohesively, which makes it very difficult for opponents to play through them.
That's a big reason why Wolves have the second-best pressure success rate in the league. Against Liverpool, only 10% of their total pressure came in the final third, and they're likely going to sit very deep again against Manchester City.
Even though Wolves only conceded one goal against Liverpool in stoppage time, they allowed the Reds to have 42 touches in their penalty area, which in turn led to them allowing three big scoring chances and 2.5 xG in the match.
The Wolves attack has regressed tremendously the past few months. In their last five matches, Wolves have created a total of 2.6 expected goals. That has them now at 15th in NPxG, 16th in shots per 90, and 16th in box entries, per fbref.com.
Betting Analysis & Pick
With Wolves consistently sitting deep, even against some of the weaker sides in the Premier League, I think they will slow down the tempo of this match and drag it out as long as they can.
I only have 2.57 goals projected for this game, so I like the total staying under three goals on the alternative line via DraftKings at -105 odds.
Pick: Total Under 3 Goals (-105)