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FA Cup Semifinal Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Betting Preview for Manchester City vs. Liverpool (April 16)

FA Cup Semifinal Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Betting Preview for Manchester City vs. Liverpool (April 16) article feature image
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Shaun Botterill/Getty Images. Pictured: Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk.

  • Manchester City and Liverpool square off for the second time in less than a week in Saturday's FA Cup semifinal round.
  • The global powerhouses played to a 2-2 draw in last weekend's Premier League action, but analyst Nick Hennion doesn't expect we see that kind of offensive output in their latest affair.
  • Check out below why he's found betting value on the game total and made it his top pick.

Man City vs. Liverpool Odds

Man City Odds +145
Liverpool Odds +185
Draw +230
Over/Under 2.5 (-155 / +110)
Day | Time Saturday | 10:30 a.m. ET
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Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

For the second time In less than a week, Liverpool and Manchester City take part in a fixture with title implications.

Sunday’s 2-2 draw kept the Reds a point behind the Cityzens, who are the reigning Premier League champions. Now, either Liverpool’s quadruple pursuit or City’s treble hopes will come to an end as one side reaches the FA Cup final after Saturday’s semifinal showdown.

Historically, the advantage belongs to City in this head-to-head series. It has earned at least a point in five consecutive games and seven of the last eight meetings, while winning the expected-goals battle six contests in a row.

Man City Still Missing Top Defender Dias

Luck hasn’t been on Manchester City’s side in this head-to-head meeting.

In the last four contests between these clubs, manager Pep Guardiola’s men own a +3 goal differential, but that has come on a +3.1 xGDiff, per fbref.com. Most of that can be attributed to Liverpool over-performing its underlying offensive numbers, as it has scored six goals on 4.8 xG in those four fixtures.

At the same time, though, City’s defense has shown itself prone to concede prime chances. In the two meetings this season, the City defense has conceded six big scoring chances to Liverpool, including three in last Sunday’s EPL game..

The other concern Guardiola could have in this fixture? Health. Defensive talisman Ruben Dias will definitely miss out, while Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker could prove injury casualties from a physical, midweek Champions League fixture against Atletico Madrid.

Now for some good news: City hasn’t lost a domestic fixture on xG all season and has only failed to outpace its opponent by more than 0.5 xG two times this calendar year.  Further, positive regression could come soon, as the Cityzens own a +5 goal differential in its last six EPL fixtures on a +7.4 xGDiff overall.

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Liverpool Looking to Extend Unbeaten Run

Liverpool is an interesting case study entering this fixture, because it has simultaneously played incredibly well while continuously over-performing its underlying metrics.

Manager Jürgen Klopp’s side carries a 16-match unbeaten domestic run into this fixture. Across that span, it owns a +23 goal differential, but only a +16 xGDiff, per fbref.com. The bookends of that run are 2-2 draws against Chelsea and Manchester City, respectively. However, despite emerging from those fixtures with a zero goal differential, its xGDiff is closer to -1 overall.

Plus, in evaluating Liverpool’s set of EPL games this season, there’s a case to be made negative regression could be on the way. As it stands, Liverpool holds a +57 goal differential in 31 EPL fixtures, but against a +44.9 xGDiff overall. Defensively, it has conceded 22 goals on 30 xG this season.

That said, this is still a Liverpool side that has the best offense in England and possibly across the entire European continent. Although it has over-performed, the Reds  have created 75.2 xG in 31 Premier League games, which is almost five goals clear of the Cityzens in second place.

Yet, at the same time, Liverpool’s attack has created more than 1.5 xG only once in its last eight meetings with Manchester City.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Although they finished in a 2-2 draw less than a week ago, I’m of the opinion negative offensive regression has to come at some point between these sides.

Yes, they’ve combined for eight goals in two games this season, but that has come on 5.3 xG overall. The first game was more egregious, as four goals were scored on 2.2 xG, but the fact remains these teams are over-performing.

Extrapolate the data set out to the last six matches and the over-performance becomes that much more unbelievable. In those six fixtures, Liverpool and Manchester City have combined for 19 xG in the process. However, they’ve combined to score 23 goals in that same set of contests.

Assuming the Cityzens are without De Bruyne, I question how they’ll be able to create through a rested midfield that looked decent at Etihad Stadium. Although Liverpool will arrive with both of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané on six-days rest, I trust a City defense that I power-rated as the best in the world and has effectively limited Liverpool of late.

I’d prefer to get under three goals at -130 odds or better, but so long as you’re getting under 2.5 at +105 or better I can get behind that wager as well.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+110)

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