Boxing Day Odds, Picks, Preview: Our Projections & Best Bets for EPL Card, Including Manchester City vs. Leicester City

Boxing Day Odds, Picks, Preview: Our Projections & Best Bets for EPL Card, Including Manchester City vs. Leicester City article feature image

Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester City standout Raheem Sterling celebrates a goal.

  • The COVID-19 issues around the Premier League continue to wreak havoc on the schedule.
  • However, we still have several matches on deck, including Man City vs. Leicester City.
  • BJ Cunningham breaks down the Sunday slate below and gives his best bets on the docket.

Despite the wave of positive COVID-19 tests across England, the Premier League is moving forward with its loaded Boxing Day card as scheduled.

It was a shortened slate this past weekend due to some postponements, but Manchester City took an advantage in the title race after Liverpool dropped points on the road at Tottenham.

Cheers, Son has scored and we're level!

What. A. Match.

— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 19, 2021

This is the festive fixture portion of the calendar. So, this would be an important time to say my projections below don't take into account suspensions or injuries. Therefore, with the ever changing COVID-19 news, make sure to stay on top of who's in or out of the lineups before placing a bet.

If you're new to our soccer coverage, I will be providing my projections for every Premier League match, along with every other game from Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1, plus Champions League and Europa League when they’re in action.

If you'd like to read more about how I determine my projections, you can check it all out here.

You can use these projections to identify betting value on current lines, plus follow me in The Action Network App to see any bets I make during the week.

Premier League Projections

Best Bets

Man City vs. Leicester City

Man City Odds-625
Leicester City Odds+1300
Over/Under3.5 (+100 / -125)
Day | TimeSunday | 10 a.m. ET
How To WatchPeacock Premium
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Manchester City's defense hasn’t been tested in a while and this is another case where they likely won’t have to expend too much energy. Since the 2-0 home loss the Crystal Palace back in late October, the Cityzens have allowed 3.5 expected goals in their last eight matches.

Since that defeat, the Cityzens have outscored their opponents by a whopping 24-3 margin. Bottom line, this is the best team in the world right now and one of the few EPL teams that's actually healthy going into the festive fixtures. 

They are back to being the possession dominant side we saw last season, as they’ve held more than 64% possession in their last nine matches. So, for a team like Leicester City that's  very reliant on creating chances on counter attacks, we could see the heavy favorites have 70% possession in this contest. 

And not only does Manchester City limit high-quality chances, but they hardly allows any chances period, as they’re only conceding 6.4 shots per 90 minutes, which is the best mark among all teams in Europe’s top five leagues, per

The Foxes have put great offensive numbers this season, creating 1.47 NPxG per match, but when they’ve faced a solid opposing defense, they’ve really struggled. Against Chelsea, Wolves, West Ham United, Brentford and Manchester City, which are all top seven in NPxG allowed, Leicester City created only 4.3 xG in those five matches.

I have the Both Teams To Score (No) line projected at -190 odds, so I love the value at -135 odds via PointsBet and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Both Teams to Score — No (-130)

Spurs vs. Crystal Palace

Spurs Odds-150
Crystal Palace Odds+425
Over/Under2.5 (-105 / -120)
Day | TimeSunday | 10 a.m. ET
How To WatchUSA Network | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Tottenham looked fantastic on offense against Liverpool, creating a whopping 3.4 expected goals in the match. Harry Kane finally showed some life and created a bunch of chances, racking up seven shots and 1.9 xG in the process.

So, manager Antonio Conte's influence is starting to take shape and this is a fantastic test to see if that offense is for real against a really good Crystal Palace defense. 

Under Conte, Spurs created 10.3 xG in five matches, but that number came in games against Everton, Brentford, Norwich City and Liverpool. The Reds were also without Virgil Van Djik, Fabinho and Thiago. Now, they're going up against Crystal Palace, who is third in NPxG allowed, second in big scoring chances conceded and fifth in box entries yielded, per

Additionally, Crystal Palace is getting Joachim Anderson back to play along side Marc Guehi. When those two are playing together, the Eagles only allow 1.03 xG per match. That said, it will be a lot more difficult for Tottenham to create chances than it was against Liverpool.

One area is Spurs are still struggling with this season is versus pressure. Liverpool had a 46% pressure success rate against them and Crystal Palace presses at the second-highest rate in the English top flight.

Crystal Palace is one of the few teams that's fully healthy heading into the festive fixtures and I think this is a good chance for them to get a road result. Tottenham also had a Carabao Cup match Wednesday against West Ham United, so even though they did have a pretty lengthy break the past few weeks, this is their third match in seven days.

I only have Tottenham projected at +100, so I like the value on Crystal Palace +0.5 at +130 odds  and would play it at +115 or better.

Pick: Crystal Palace +0.5 (+130)

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Brighton vs. Brentford

Brighton Odds-110
Brentford Odds+330
Over/Under2.5 (+125 / -155)
Day | TimeSunday | 3 p.m. ET
How To WatchNBCSN | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

If we go back to when these teams met in September, it was a very cagey, low-event match with Leandro Trossard scoring from outside the box in the dying moments of the match.

In that contest, there were only a total of 0.9 xG, 11 total shots and 34 total touches in the penalty area by both teams. Now, has that much changed with either team since that point? I would say no. 

Offensively, Brighton is still struggling, averaging 1.01 NPxG per match and ranking 15th in big scoring chances, which is not good considering that's how you beat Brentford. The Bees are sixth in NPxG allowed and sixth in shots conceded per 90 minutes.

So, if Brighton is unable to create high-quality chances, I don’t see how they get on the board at home. Brighton is also going to be without their best midfielder — Yves Bissouma — due to a yellow card suspension and he's vital to their elite pressing. 

Brentford is a big-chance-or-bust type of offense, as they’re currently 15th in shots per 90 minutes, but sixth in big scoring chances. Brighton is an elite defensive team, especially at preventing big scoring chances, and have conceded the third fewest this season.

Additionally, Brentford struggles versus teams that press them and Brighton is top five in PPDA and pressure success rate. So, it’s going to be difficult for the Bees to create a lot of high-quality chances. 

I have the Both Teams To Score (No) projected at -141, so I like the value on the current line of -115 odds via DraftKings and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Both Teams to Score — No (-130)

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