Aston Villa vs Brighton & Hove Albion Odds, Pick | Premier League Final Day Predictions
Craig Mercer/Getty. Pictured: Levi Colwill.
Aston Villa vs Brighton & Hove Albion Odds
Aston Villa Odds
Brighton & Hove Albion Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-188 / +150)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-200 / +160)|
|Odds via bet365. Get the latest soccer odds here|
Brighton secured their Europa League place with a home draw against Manchester City on Wednesday, meaning just the seventh and final place in Europe for next year is on the line on Championship Sunday in the Premier League. Aston Villa are one of three teams in the race for seventh with Tottenham and Brentford. The Villans hold a one-point lead over Spurs and two over Brentford, who play Leeds United and Manchester City, respectively.
Aston Villa continued their excellent form with a road draw at Anfield that was fully deserved. Emery's side consistently played through Liverpool's attempts to pressure the ball and broke through in behind on multiple occasions. The Villans were able to limit the high turnovers and keep Liverpool from consistently beating them over the top — which happened frequently in the last meeting.
Brighton's defense has seen a real late season slide that comes from playing Roberto De Zerbi's style and having less to play for as the holiday approaches, but the firepower in attack remains elite in production. The Seagulls were unlucky to only score once against Pep Guardiola's City on Wednesday and can challenge even the best defenses.
Aston Villa Will Be Tested By Different Style
The performance at Anfield may have been impressive, but it still won't do much to convince me that Aston Villa are anything more than a slightly above average PL team under Unai Emery. Even once including that solid showing, they still have a just barely negative xG differential since Emery became manager.
I'm willing to accept that he's improved them, but not to the point where Villa should be laying a half-goal against one of the league's four best teams by power rating — Brighton. The Seagulls have better underlying numbers than Tottenham by quite a wide margin, yet Villa were just +115 at home against Spurs two weeks ago and are now even-money against Brighton in the same building.
I tried to sort through the underlying data to see if maybe xG was missing something and not quite catching onto Villa for some reason. They have a -0.04 xGD per 90 at even strength since January began, but a +0.51 GD per 90. Brighton's biggest weakness has been teams who can turn them over high and disrupt build up possession, but that's not really Aston Villa.
Villa are just 11th in high turnovers forced and 14th in expected threat created. Emery's side has improved its defensive floor, but they do still remain vulnerable in transition. Brighton's ability to entice teams to press and then play through it could test Villa's defense in wide areas too.
Brighton & Hove Albion an Underrated Attacking Side
It's quite remarkable that the Seagulls are second in non-penalty xG per 90 in the toughest domestic league in the world. Brighton are first in shots, third in progressive passes and fourth in big scoring chancres created. Kaoru Mitoma has played nine fewer 90s than Bukayo Saka, yet no player has carried the ball into the box more often in the league this season.
The top guys in the PL are carrying the ball into the area twice per match or more. Mitoma is sitting at 3.25 per 90. With him and Solly March, Brighton have two players in the top 18 in attacking penalty area touches and both are wingers. Whether it's Danny Welbeck or Evan Ferguson leading the line, the Brighton wide ball progression machine and plus shot production from the central midfield roles is really difficult to contain for any defense.
Brighton have produced at least 1.7 xG in nine of 10 matches in all competitions and this group should have its way against a Villa defense playing way over their head for more than a month now.
Aston Villa vs Brighton Pick
The last meeting between these two teams was considerably more low event than the market thinks this match will be. That contest just before the World Cup finished with just 1.4 non-penalty xG and Villa won 2-1 after conceding in the first minute. The market is pricing in that the defenses will take a step off and not be as effective with less to play for.
The total is clearly inflated based on my projections, but I also show value on Brighton. The market is showing these two teams to be power rated about even with one another, but there's a clear gap in talent and performance in favor of the Seagulls in my view. Even with Europe secured now, this is a chance to complete a historic season for the club and they have enough depth for me to believe that even some reserves mixed into the main XI can produce close to the levels of the players they are replacing.
I remain skeptical of Villa continuing this level of performance and results when you consider the flaws that still exist in consistent shot creation and attacking threat. I'd bet Brighton +0.5 at -130 or better and would sprinkle ML at +240 or better. My projections only make Villa a slight favorite at home.