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Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea: Look at Spread For Value (Saturday, October 1)

Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea: Look at Spread For Value (Saturday, October 1) article feature image
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Paul Harding/Getty. Pictured: Michael Olise.

  • Crystal Palace returns to Premier League action for the first time in a month. They're underdogs against Chelsea on Saturday.
  • Where does the value lie in this fixture? Anthony Dabbundo explores.

Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea Odds

Palace Odds +320
Chelsea Odds -120
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (+106 / -128)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Crystal Palace haven’t played a competitive match since Sept. 3 due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a rail strike and the international break, but the Eagles return to action on Saturday when they host Chelsea at Selhurst Park.

No club in the Premier League has had a more difficult schedule to begin the season as Palace, who have already played Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and gone away to Newcastle.

The Eagles’ underlying numbers and goal tallies overall aren’t particularly impressive as a result, but Palace have fared well relative to market expectations.

Chelsea is playing their first Premier League match since hiring new manager Graham Potter from Brighton and the Blues did get some much needed time on the training ground as Potter looks to make his imprint on the club. They tied RB Salzburg 1-1 in the Champions League in his managerial debut with Chelsea.

Palace has been a very difficult place to win since Patrick Vieira became manager last year and even though I’m buying Chelsea long term with Potter, the Eagles remain undervalued on Saturday.

Crystal Palace Looking At Easier Stretch

Palace finished last season fifth in box entries allowed, fourth in non-penalty expected goals (xG) conceded and third in fewest big scoring chances conceded.

They finished with a positive xG differential in home matches against big six clubs last season, which includes a tie with Manchester City and wins against Arsenal and Tottenham. The Eagles did lose on opening day to Arsenal, but xG suggested they played about even with the Gunners on that day.

Against Liverpool at Anfield, Palace led 1-0 before being pegged back and drawing. They led 2-0 against Manchester City inside 15 minutes before collapsing. Palace crushed Villa at home, earned a difficult road point at Newcastle and have generally performed well relative to the market price on them.

We don’t have a representative sample on Palace to judge any of their underlying metrics because they led for so long against Liverpool and City and have played such a tough schedule. They pass the eye test for me for now and remain 10th — one spot lower than my preseason power ratings.

Palace’s ability to play through pressure helped them greatly last season and it has generally persisted this year, outside of the Liverpool and City matches. There are also signs that the attack has taken a step forward this year, as Palace is 10th in non-penalty xG per match this season. That’s better than last season’s mark.

Chelsea Dealing With Difficulties

Chelsea will still be without N’Golo Kanté and Edouard Mendy for this match as they continue to recover from injury.

Marc Cucurella is questionable with illness as he returns from the international break. The Blues strangled possession at home against Salzburg in Potter’s debut, but the similar problems persisted about the attack not fitting well together.

I don’t expect Mason Mount and Kai Havertz to continue to underperform this badly, but I don’t think Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a solution to the problems either. He had a renaissance in the second half of last year in La Liga, but his Premier League numbers were in steady decline his last few years at Arsenal.

The Blues rank seventh in box entries going forward, 12th in shots per 90 and just 11th in xG per 90. The individual defending in the penalty area has also been mediocre.

Chelsea aren’t allowing a lot of consistent possession and box entries, but when they do, teams have produced clear chances from that. They rank third in box entries allowed but they rank eighth in xG allowed.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Arsenal was lined at the same price on opening day of the season at Selhurst Park as Chelsea is on Saturday. I have downgraded Chelsea since the season began — they fell behind Arsenal from third to fifth in my power ratings. I haven’t really moved Palace much given they have outperformed expectations relative to the market early in the season. 

After I backed Palace on opening day, I will also be backing them here at home at a similar number. They’ve been one of the most dramatic home and away split teams in the league for the last year and counting and Chelsea needs to prove that they have solved their ball progression and shot issues before I upgrade them in my numbers again.

I project Chelsea +110 to win this match and will bet Palace to win or draw at -105 or better.

The Pick: Palace +0.5 (-105 or better)

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