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Manchester United vs. Aston Villa Premier League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Friday, Jan. 1)

Manchester United vs. Aston Villa Premier League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Friday, Jan. 1) article feature image

Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images. Pictured: David de Gea.

  • Two teams riding winning streaks meet Friday when Manchester United welcomes Aston Villa to Old Trafford for a New Year's Day Premier League fixture.
  • These two teams have played nine games in the two weeks leading up to this match, so will fatigue be a factor?
  • Anthony Dabbundo previews Friday's match and shares his betting pick below.

Manchester United vs. Aston Villa Odds

Manchester United Odds -129 [BET NOW]
Aston Villa Odds +310 [BET NOW]
Draw +310 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 3 (-120/-100) [BET NOW]
Time 3 p.m. ET

Odds as of Thursday night and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Two of the Premier League’s surging teams will meet at Old Trafford on Friday to ring in the New Year. Both squads are in great form at the moment, with United unbeaten in nine and Villa unbeaten in five within the Premier League.

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Aston Villa

When the Premier League resumed in June, Villa were fighting off relegation. They needed a result on the final day of the season to secure their spot in this year’s EPL, and they have surged with improvement at both ends of the pitch.

The Villans are playing much better defensively, allowing fewer shots and chances off set pieces and have improved from 20th in xGA in 2019-20 to second in 2020-21. Most of that improvement has come from a more passive out of possession look and sturdier defending against set pieces.

aston villa vs fulham odds-pick
Julian Finney/Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Grealish.

Their attacking output is still impressive, too. Jack Grealish ranks third in the Premier League in xA. He also sits first in key passes, sixth in progressive passes and third in passes into the penalty area.

He’s producing what are peak-Eden Hazard level numbers from his campaign at Chelsea in 2014-15. He’s been feeding Ollie Watkins, who ranks fourth in xG and has underperformed his numbers in finishing, which suggests more regression is to come.

Villa’s attack ranks fourth in shots and they produce more xG/90 than everyone besides Liverpool.

Manchester United

The Red Devils scored their late winner off a deflection against Wolves, but they were probably deserved winners by the end of it.

Wolves’ attack was entirely toothless except for a few half chances off set pieces and long-range attempts. United struggled to generate many big chances, with just two in the match, but the Red Devils found the three points.

The only player in the EPL matching the creative numbers of Grealish thus far is Bruno Fernandes. He’s overperformed his expected numbers a bit, but he’s still the Premier League’s second-most creative player.

United will be without Edinson Cavani after he was suspended, which gives manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær multiple options with the attack. The Red Devils have often started slow without Cavani in the lineup, and Friday will be their sixth match in 15 days. All of the minutes, combined with little rotation from Ole, could lead to fatigue from United.

I have my concerns about United’s attackers lack of tracking back, and how Villa could exploit that with Grealish running into space. While Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the PL’s best defensive right back, if Grealish has the ability to run at the United center backs, it could be a long afternoon for the Red Devils.

Betting Analysis & Pick

This number is priced as though Manchester United are significantly better than Aston Villa, and that’s just not been the case so far this season.

I have Man United as favorites, but much shorter than the -130 listed. I make United +120 and would play Villa +0.5 down to +105.

Because of the fatigue element, with both teams playing a combined nine matches in the two weeks leading up to the match, I’m willing to continue to ride the recent under trend with under 3 goals as well.

The Pick: Aston Villa +0.5 (+105 or better); Under 3 (-110 or better)

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