Man City vs Newcastle Odds, Pick: | Premier League Betting Preview (Mar. 4)
Adam Davy/Getty. Pictured: Pep Guardiola.
Man City vs Newcastle Odds
Man City Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-144 / +118)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-122 / -104)|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest soccer odds here.|
Arsenal’s midweek victory at home against Everton means that the gap at the top of the Premier League table is back to five points entering the weekend action.
Manchester City dropped points in the third match of the season in a 3-3 draw at Newcastle, but Pep Guardiola’s side is a solid home favorite for the reverse fixture at home as the matchweek begins on Saturday with a clash of two top five teams.
Newcastle have hit a rough patch of form themselves, culminating in a 2-0 cup final defeat at Wembley against Manchester United on Sunday. The Magpies will have Nick Pope back in goal after his suspension, but they have just one league win in their last five matches.
The attack has started to regress and isn’t putting up the gaudy numbers it posted in the first half of the season. Combine that with Manchester City’s likely more cautious tactical approach to prevent counters and this total is a bit inflated given the quality of the two defenses.
Manchester City may still be the best team in the world, but Newcastle’s defense is a worthy foe and one of the best in Europe’s top five leagues statistically.
Man City Have Advantage of Managerial Expertise
Manchester City got exposed in transition in that first meeting and if we know anything about Guardiola, he will make tactical adjustments that hedge to the side of caution when uncertain about his team’s ability to control matches.
City have been more tactically flexible throughout this post-World Cup period as he tinkers with the lineup to try to find the best possible combination.
Newcastle managed three shots from Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron and added four more from Callum Wilson. The 12th shot was a beautiful free kick from long range by Kieran Trippier. Saint-Maximin still provides a ton of dribbling and progressive carrying value, but his shots have dropped off, as has Almiron’s goal scoring production.
City’s defense usually has a match or two like this early in a season before Guardiola makes the annual adjustment to fit the pieces together best. Much has been made about City’s inability to keep a clean sheet in the last month too. Ederson is stuck on 99 clean sheets in the league, and City have conceded exactly one goal in each of their last five Premier League matches.
Four of those five matches were away from home, and they’ve conceded just 7.4 xGA in 12 home matches this season. City had 69% of the ball in that first meeting too, so I’d expect to see plenty of defensive possession and Guardiola keeping the hand brake on to prevent Newcastle transition.
Newcastle Struggling to Find Offense
Newcastle’s attack was as high as fourth in the league in xG per 90, behind only Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City. They’ve fallen off considerably in the last month as it was unlikely that Saint-Maximin, Almiron and Wilson would all have career seasons at the same time.
The suspension of Bruno Guimaraes also hurt their overall midfield quality considerably. He’s their best passer and ball winner and he’s listed as questionable for this match.
Guimaraes picked up a knock on Sunday and if he can’t go, that limits the passing quality of the Newcastle side. Instead of wide direct dribbling ball progression and central passing, they become more one-dimensional as an attack.
As much as I’ve been a skeptic of the attacking numbers, the defensive numbers look sustainable. They’re a top three defense in terms of xGA, they protect the penalty area well with midfield ball winning and have good individual center back defending. They’re top six in expected threat allowed and top five in every other key defensive metric from box entries to set piece xGA.
Man City vs Newcastle Pick
Manchester City’s defense isn’t quite as stout when both John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are out injured, but the Cityzens also should have key defender Kyle Walker back for this clash.
He’ll be key in neutralizing the pace and dribbling of Saint-Maximin up that wing. They’ve had a handful of defensive lapses and weak moments away from home in the last month, but this a great shutdown defensive spot at home against an overvalued Newcastle attack.
My projections only have 2.66 goals for this match and I’d bet the under 3 at -130 or better.
Pick: Under 3 (-122, play to -130)
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