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Villarreal vs. Manchester United Odds, Pick, Prediction: Total Has Value in Tuesday Champions League Action

Villarreal vs. Manchester United Odds, Pick, Prediction: Total Has Value in Tuesday Champions League Action article feature image

Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Carrick

  • Updated Villareal vs. Manchester United odds list the Red Devils as a slight favorite on the three-way moneyline, though the price has moved 10 cents since yesterday.
  • The total sits at 2.5, and that's the angle Anthony Dabbundo is targeting with Villareal needing more than a draw to feel good about its chance to advance.
  • Get his full Champions League preview for Villareal vs. Man United below.

Villarreal vs. Man United Odds

Villarreal Odds+185
Man United Odds+155
Over/Under2.5 (-125 / +105)
Day | TimeTuesday | 12:45 p.m. ET
How To WatchParamount+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era at Manchester United is over after the club sacked him following the Red Devils 4-1 defeat at Watford on Saturday. Manchester United will turn to caretaker manager and former player Michael Carrick for its road trip to Spain on Tuesday as United takes on Villarreal.

Group F in the Champions League is wide open through four matches, with all four teams still having a decent shot to advance. Villarreal and United sit tied atop the group with seven points each, while Atalanta is third with five points and Young Boys last with three points.

Villarreal dominated large stretches of the reverse fixture in Manchester in October, but a late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo saw United steal all three points deep into stoppage time.

The Yellow Submarine won the expected goals battle and if not for a stellar game from David de Get in goal for Manchester United, they’d have likely lost or drawn the game at best.

It’s unclear how much different the United lineup will be under Carrick’s watch on Tuesday, but this game should be quite open yet again given the defensive issues within both sides.

Villarreal Can Get at United

Unai Emery’s side had a clear plan in the first leg against Manchester United and it was extremely effective. If not for a United golazo from a set piece and a last-second winner from Ronaldo, Emery would have been lauded for exploiting weaknesses in the United set up at every turn.

United had plenty of the ball but it was rarely in dangerous areas and they often fell right into Villarreal traps. The Yellow Submarine won the ball, found space in behind and on the wing to run into and turned that into excellent chance after excellent chance. Arnaut Danjuma especially was excellent on the left wing and is in the midst of a blow up season.

He’s averaging 4.09 shots per 90 and 0.68 xG in Spain this year and the Dutch midfielder is attracting plenty of attention from top clubs across the world. He’s added another element to a Villarreal attack that has often been entirely centered around striker Gerard Moreno’s ability as a center forward.

Instead of solely relying on Moreno or Paco Alcacer for shots, Danjuma has added a ton of production and already has five league goals for the Yellow Submarine.

The Villarreal defense has the seventh best defense in Spain by expected goals allowed, but doesn’t apply any ball pressure at all and is vulnerable to crosses. I’m expecting to United to be better with crosses  if Jadon Sancho gets the start for the Red Devils on Tuesday.

Michael Carrick Takes Over Manchester United

In many ways, it’s poetic that Donny van de Beek, a talented young Dutch midfielder, scored the final goal of the Solskjaer era. Many thought van de Beek was a player who could help complement Ronaldo with his third man runs into the box. He could provide some value in a pivot in the midfield, an area that’s been a hole in the United team for more than a year now.

But he couldn’t get into the team. van de Beek has excellent passing range and  gets into the box for shots at a plus rate. He might even get the start Tuesday in Spain. The other player is Jadon Sancho, whose cross set up United’s goal on Saturday. He produced incredible ball progression and chance creation numbers in Germany for Dortmund and hasn’t been properly integrated into the United side this season.

The addition of both to a potential XI means less Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the primary outlet on the right, which is good for the United attack. Sancho won’t do much defensive work, either, and United’s now conceded 15 goals in its last five games.

Harry Maguire looks like a shell of his old self in defense, Raphael Varane remains out with injury and de Gea is facing some significant regression. United needs a real manager to overhaul and improve the possession structure and defense and that’s not going to happen overnight.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

A draw isn’t a good enough result for Villarreal in this match, given that they still have a road trip to Atalanta in the final match of this group stage. Instead of opting for a pragmatic approach, I expect Emery and Villarreal to go for this and take my chances.

Similar to the first leg, which was wide open and featured 3.4 expected goals, I’m expecting both offenses to find chances and goals. Any chances that Carrick would make to this United side would much more likely improve the attack at the expense of the defense, and for that reason, over is the look here, even if it’s a very public side given United’s defensive woes.

My projection for the match has 2.64 goals, so even though there isn’t much value here based on my numbers, I’m comfortable with over 2.5 goals given the stylistic matchup.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 goals (-130 or better)

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