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Sunday FA Cup Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Expect Defenses to Shine in Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace Semifinal Match

Sunday FA Cup Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Expect Defenses to Shine in Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace Semifinal Match article feature image
Credit:

Mike Hewitt/Pool/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

  • Chelsea faces Crystal Palace on Sunday in an FA Cup semifinal showdown.
  • The winner of this affair gets a date with Liverpool, who bounced Manchester City, in the other semifinal meeting.
  • Nick Hennion takes a deep look at this contest below and details why he’s found value on the total.

Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace Odds

Chelsea Odds -190
Crystal Palace Odds +525
Draw +310
Over/Under 2.5 (-125 / -110)
Day | Time Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET
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Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Chelsea looks to make it two consecutive FA Cup final appearances, with upstart Crystal Palace seeking its first final since the 2015-16 campaign when they battle in Saturday’s semifinal match.

Palace blew out Everton in a quarterfinal clash to reach the penultimate round at Wembley Stadium. As for Chelsea, the club got past Middlesborough to advance to its third consecutive semifinal in the competition.

In terms of past meetings this season, both have outcomes have favored the Blues. They earned a 3-0 win to kick off their Premier League campaign at Stamford Bridge before eclipsing the Eagles in a 1-0 shutout at Selhurst Park.

Chelsea Finds Old, Stellar Defensive Play

Over the last few months, the Chelsea defense has seemingly rediscovered the form that helped it win the Champions League last year.

In its last 10 EPL games, manager Thomas Tuchel’s side has conceded only 0.82 expected goals per 90 minutes. That’s down from its average of 0.92 xG/90 minutes for the season, plus the Blues have held seven of their last nine opponents under one xG in the process.

Included in that tally is the match at Crystal Palace, where the host created just 0.6 xG against Chelsea and registered only 13 touches in its attacking penalty area, per fbref.com.

Plus, whereas most soccer fans recognize Chelsea for its defensive prowess, its attack has proved incredibly impressive of late. In its last four games across all competitions. Tuchel’s squad is creating 2.28 xG per 90 minutes, up from a 1.77 xG/90-minute output in the league this season.

The other positive for Chelsea entering this fixture? It has historically dominated Crystal Palace. The Blues have won nine consecutive meetings against the underdogs, all of which produced victories on xG as well.

Perhaps most impressively, Chelsea has held Crystal Palace’s attack to less than one xG in four consecutive matches and six of the last seven head-to-head contests. Included in that sample are two outputs of 0.1 xG for Palace in the last four meetings.

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Crystal Palace Hoping to Find Consistency

Which Palace will show up on any given day is a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde experience.

Manager Patrick Vieira’s side, which is making only its second semifinal appearance since 2000, has played brilliantly at home (+7.8 xGDiff), but horribly on the road (-6 xGDiff), per fbref.com.

Based on those underlying metrics, a large portion of Palace’s run in the FA Cup can be attributed to its favorable scheduling. It has hosted three of four FA Cup matches and had to come from behind in its lone road fixture.

Plus, in evaluating the Eagles’ four FA Cup games to date, there’s an argument to be made their attack has over-performed thus far. Entering Sunday’s tilt against Chelsea, the Eagles have scored 10 times in the competition. However, those goals have come off only seven big scoring chances, per fotmob.com.

Furthermore, Palace’s attack, which will be without Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher, has created only a single big scoring chance in two matches this season against Chelsea.

If there’s good news Crystal Palace, it’s that the defense has largely held up against the opposition. In two meetings with Chelsea so far, Vieira’s side has allowed only two combined xG overall.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Part of me wishes Palace could use Gallagher in this fixture, as I believe that would make it a live underdog.

However, the fact he’s not available leads me in a different direction. From where I’m sitting, I think the price on under 2.5 goals is an absolute bargain and is being (partially) driven by Chelsea’s 3-0 win at home. However, I think this game has all the makings of a low-event contest.

Although the first two meetings featured four total goals, they simultaneously generated only 2.9 xG as both finished under 2.5 xG in the games. Given how Palace have struggled to create against Chelsea historically, I believe the lone path to losing an under is a Chelsea blowout.

However, the Palace defense has held up well against the EPL’s best this season. In 13 matches against the top-six sides and West Ham, Palace has allowed only 1.45 xG per 90 minutes. Take the two matches against West Ham out of the equation and that mark drops to 1.42 xG/90 minutes overall.

With Chelsea coming off an exhausting midweek fixture in Madrid, expect a rested Palace defense to hold up against a strong attack. Given the Blues’ record against the Eagles this season, expect it to go ahead and sit on it for the remainder of the semifinal.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-110)

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