Everton vs. Southampton Odds, Pick, Prediction: Take Favorites Against Overvalued Saints
Peter Byrne – Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Richarlison of Everton.
- Everton and Southampton kick off their Premier League play with a match at Goodison Park.
- The Blues' roster is depleted due to COVID-19 protocols, but playing at Goodison Park is typically a sizable advantage.
- Ian Quillen breaks down whether or not Everton are worth backing despite their available players.
Everton vs. Southampton Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+112 / -137)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 10 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Peacock Premium|
|Odds updated Friday afternoon via DraftKings.|
The Rafa Benitez era at Goodison Park begins on Saturday when an Everton side depleted by COVID-19 protocols opens against Southampton.
Influential midfielder James Rodriguez is one of five Everton players in isolation due to those protocols. It’s not clear if Rodriguez is infected or just a close contact.
Meanwhile, Southampton begin the season in a bit of flux defensively, with Danish centerback Jannik Vestergaard set for a transfer to Leicester City.
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhüttl says the club will sign a replacement for the 29-year-old, who started 29 matches last Premier League campaign.
Everton’s Offensive Firepower Takes Hit
There are few teams for whom the return of fans to the grounds may make more difference for than the Toffees.
Under Carlo Ancelotti, the Blues earned only 1.16 points per game (ppg) at mostly empty Goodison Park, compared with 1.95 ppg away.
Some would argue Ancelotti was fortunate fans weren’t there to voice their displeasure within Goodison’s intimate confines.
The small sample of evidence suggests the opposite: The Toffees took six points from nine in the three matches where even a small number of partisans were allowed, defeating Chelsea and Wolverhampton and losing to Manchester United.
To be fair, Benitez will have to clear a higher bar than Ancelotti to win public approval given his previous history managing Liverpool.
While Rodriguez’s absence will make headlines, his influence may be overstated. The Colombian only played 51.6% of Everton’s total Premier League minutes last season between injuries and tactical preference.
Still, he averaged 0.51 goals-plus-assists per 90 minutes played.
Losing that firepower might prove a problem if Benitez is cautious with Richarlison. The versatile attacker had a busy summer helping Brazil finish second in the Copa America and win the Olympic championship this summer.
Southampton May Take Conservative Approach
Vestergaard’s imminent departure follows that of striker Danny Ings, who scored 12 times to lead the Saints last season after a career-best, 22-goal campaign last season.
The now-Aston Villa man didn’t score against Everton last season but did contribute both assists in a 2-0 win at St. Mary’s Stadium.
That victory came during a nine-match unbeaten run late in 2020, in which the Saints earned 23 points. They would pick up only 14 in their final 21 matches but still avoided serious relegation concerns because of that cushion.
Hasenhüttl has signed Adam Armstrong from Blackburn Rovers in the League Championship and Armando Broja on loan from Chelsea to bolster the attack. But both men only joined training this week.
Knowing his roster is a work in progress, Hasenhüttl might be convinced to adopt a more conservative approach than his high-pressing background suggests.
That could mean trouble for Everton. The Toffees struggled against sides that sat deep in home losses to Newcastle, Burnley and Sheffield United.
Betting Analysis & Pick
These are two clubs in transition. Add the weird circumstances surrounding last season, and there might be zero correlation at all between these clubs’ previous performances in real competition and the ability to find value on Saturday.
Here’s what we do know: Everton have the more talented roster. And they’ll be playing in a highly emotional environment at a full Goodison Park, which remains one of the most intimidating grounds in the league.
And despite this, the public may be skeptical of Toffees given the Rodriguez news, last year’s home form and the unpopularity of Benitez.
I’m not sure any of those reasons weigh heavily on Saturday’s outcome. And it inclines me to fade the public and buy the home side here at almost even money.
Pick: Everton ML (-103).