Manchester United vs Manchester City Odds, Pick: Back City to Beat United … Again

Manchester United vs Manchester City Odds, Pick: Back City to Beat United … Again article feature image

Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images. Pictured: Erling Haaland.

  • Manchester United and Manchester City clash on Saturday morning in the Premier League.
  • Which side has the edge heading into the match?
  • BJ Cunningham offers his pick and best bet for the fixture.

Manchester United vs. Manchester City Odds

Saturday, Jan. 14
7:30 a.m. ET
USA Network
Man Utd Odds+300
Man City Odds-114
Over/Under2.5 (-144 / +118)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-166 / +130)
Odds via FanDuel. Get up to the minute soccer odds here.

The Manchester Derby headlines one of the best weekends in the Premier League with both clubs fighting for different objectives.

Manchester City is trailing Arsenal by five points in the title race and can put major pressure on the Gunners with three points, as Arsenal is playing on Sunday at White Hart Lane. Manchester City picked up back-to-back wins against Chelsea in dominant fashion, so we'll see if that continues against their bitter rival, who they dominated 6-3 the last time these two met.

Manchester United is flying high at the moment, winning eight straight matches to climb inside the top four in the Premier League table. However, the Red Devils haven't played the stiffest of competition over that eight-match win streak. Their inner city rivals will no doubt be looking to spoil their good run of form, just like they did in the last meeting.

Manchester United

Manchester United has been on a tear and have created 9.1 xG in their past four Premier League matches. However, they haven’t exactly played a murderer's row in Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Bournemouth. In the five matches before that, they played a much more difficult schedule in Newcastle, Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham and Aston Villa, but they only created 4.8 xG in those matches. Manchester City is going to be a completely different animal and one I'm not sure Manchester United is ready for. 

The problem for Manchester United is they are used to controlling a lot of possession and being on the front foot in most of their matches. Now, they are going to have to sit in the low defensive block they played in the first two months under Erik ten Hag and defend half spaces against the best attacking team in England, which proved to be incredibly difficult in the last meeting.

The other side of the coin is that Manchester United's attackers are running ridiculously hot right now. Marcus Rashford is in incredible form, scoring seven goals in his past six appearances. However, he's only a 0.37 xG per 90 minutes striker this season. In fact, Anthony Martial is the only player on Manchester United with an xG per 90 minutes scoring rate over 0.50 and he hasn't even played five full 90s in the Premier League yet.

So, even though Manchester United has put up over two expected goals in each of their past four matches in the Premier League, it's going to be a whole different story going up against the best defense in the league.

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Manchester City

Manchester City have shown some kinks in the armour midway through the Premier League, losing to Brentford and dropping points to Everton, both at home. However, this is still the best team in the Premier League. Defensively, City has allowed a total of 10.8 non-penalty expected goals on the season, which is actually just a tad more than they were at this point last season (9.3). 

What Manchester City has been doing tactically, and where I think they can exploit Manchester United, is what they did in the Chelsea match. Countless times Pep tried to punish Chelsea down the left flank since Ben Chillwell was out and Erling Haaland, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva would float to the left side of the pitch and push up on the back line, forcing Chelsea to commit bodies away from the ball. Meanwhile, De Bruyne, Mahrez and Cancelo/Rico Lewis would essentially go 3-on-3 or sometimes 3-on-2 to create chances via crosses into the box. The reality is now that Casemiro is in the middle of the pitch, it’s going to be much more difficult for Manchester City to create overloads there.  Additionally, Manchester City scored all six of their goals in the last meeting via crosses because of guys like Eriksen not being great defenders in half space.

With Cancelo wide Man City can stretch Chelsea's defensive line and find room in the half-spaces where KDB or Gundogan (like in this case) can attack. Look how three City players are ready to attack on the weak side. 5vs5 on the last line.

— Marco Lai (@MarcoLai_23) January 5, 2023

Let's also not forget that Manchester City's underlying metrics are still the best in the Premier League at +1.38 xGD per match.

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Manchester United vs. Manchester City Pick

The last time these two met (October 2nd), Manchester City absolutely pasted United 6-3, won on xG 3.2 to 1.7 and had 47 touches in the penalty area. Perhaps most importantly, the lineup United played in that in match wasn’t a whole lot different than the one they have been playing recently.

I love Manchester City to pummel them once again at -114 (BetRivers). If you remember, before they met the last time, Manchester United was flying high and coming in with a four-match win streak that included wins over Arsenal and Liverpool.

Pick:  Manchester City -114

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