Premier League Best Bets | Picks, Predictions for Liverpool vs Aston Villa

Premier League Best Bets | Picks, Predictions for Liverpool vs Aston Villa article feature image

Kieran Cleeves/Getty. Pictured: Jurgen Klopp.

The Premier League title could be won this weekend if Manchester City beat Chelsea. There is still a ton to sort out in terms of relegation and the battle for European positions, making it a fascinating weekend of Premier League action.

BJ Cunningham and Anthony Dabbundo are here to take you through the upcoming matches and offer up their best bets on the slate.

Cunningham and Dabbundo, who are part of the Wondergoal podcast crew, will be guiding you on the weekend Premier League fixtures and delivering their favorite picks along the way. They'll also provide their individual model projections for the games.

If you'd like to see picks from Cunningham and Dabbundo during the season for all UCL action and all five European leagues, follow them in the Action Network App.

Cunningham's Model Projections

Dabbundo's Model Projections

Bournemouth vs Manchester United

Bournemouth Odds+475
Manchester United Odds-200
Over/Under2.5 (-188 / +150)
Day | TimeSaturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Cunningham: Bournemouth have survived relegation and are on the beach, so naturally the price on Manchester United is inflated.

Since we returned from the World Cup, the Bournemouth offense has been incredibly dangerous in counter attacking opportunities. Over the last 17 matches, Bournemouth have created 23.2 xG, which is top 10 in the Premier League. They also have only scored 19 goals off those chances, so they’ve actually under-performed.

Bournemouth have also taken the blueprint that has made Brentford so successful by putting a big time emphasis not only in transitional opportunities, but taking advantage of set pieces as well. The Cherries are third in xG per set piece, creating 10.6 xG on 98 set piece opportunities.

Overall this season, Bournemouth have not been good defensively, as they’ve allowed 69.4 xG. However, they’ve actually been running pretty poorly lately. In their last five matches, they’ve conceded 10 goals off of 6.7 xG.

The Manchester United attack has been far from elite this year. In fact, they've scored fewer goals than both Fulham and Brentford. The problem is they've become too reliant on Marcus Rashford in attack. Rashford is an incredible forward, but he's over-performing his xG scoring 16 goals off of 13.6 xG. The crazy part is Rashford isn't even leading Manchester United in shots per 90 mintues. Antony is, but all of his shots are low quality chances from outside the box.

I only have Manchester United projected at -141, so I like the value on Bournemouth +1 at +100.

Pick: Bournemouth +1 (+100 via BetRivers)

Liverpool vs Aston Villa

Liverpool Odds-223
Aston Villa Odds+525
Over/Under2.5 (-188 / +150)
Day | TimeSaturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Dabbundo: Aston Villa played a high-risk, high-reward approach against Spurs and pulled it off beautifully. Spurs were consistently caught offside and didn’t have the passing quality to play through the Villa defense without being offisde. Liverpool at Anfield will be a much more difficult challenge. The Reds have the forward counter-pressing ability and the energy to generate high turnovers against Aston Villa as Unai Emery’s side insists on playing out from the back repeatedly.

The last meeting between these two teams is a decent indicator of what I expect to come. Villa were able to play through Liverpool and create some chances of their own, but Liverpool got in behind and in on goal through Darwin Nunez and Mo Salah numerous times. The Reds scored three goals at Villa and generated 2.7 xG.

A key tactical tweak from Jurgen Klopp to move Trent Alexander-Arnold to a more central midfield has improved Liverpool’s ball retention abilities. The ball winning numbers in the opposition half once losing possession are up too. The defense has improved as Alexander-Arnold has also retained his elite ball progression and chance creation numbers.

Villa are at the peak of their market power rating right now and this matchup at Liverpool could come as a bit of a reality check for the Villans. I bet Liverpool to win the first half and then also would bet Liverpool’s team total over 2.5 at +140 or better

Picks: Liverpool 1H ML (-115) | Liverpool Over 2.5 (+150)

Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal

Nottingham Forest Odds+450
Arsenal Odds-175
Over/Under2.5 (-175 / +137)
Day | TimeSaturday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Cunningham: Arsenal will technically still be alive for the Premier League title when this game kicks off and the matchup is a fantastic one for them.

The Gunners have been one of the best teams in the Premier League this season at breaking down teams that play low blocks. They are averaging 2.06 xG in those matches.

Arsenal's 3-2-5 build up structure allows Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard to get forward, while Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka stay wide to stretch the defense and often times find themselves in one-on-one situations in wide areas.

They ran into problems against Brighton when the Seagulls man mark high pressed them and bullied Arsenal in build up play. Nottingham Forest can't do that.

Forest are dead last in PPDA, dead last in opponent's build up completion percentage allowed and second to last in high turnovers. Their defensive results have been bad overall for the season, but when they have to play teams that will build up and break you down the way Arsenal can, it gets really bad.

Against Manchester City, Arsenal, Brighton, Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester United, Forest have allowed a whopping 26.4 xG in 11 matches.

I have Arsenal’s spread projected at -1.43, so I like the value on the Gunners -1 at -114.

Pick: Arsenal -1 (-114)

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Tottenham vs Brentford

Tottenham Odds-120
Brentford Odds+290
Over/Under2.5 (-138 / +110)
Day | TimeSaturday | 7:30 a.m. ET
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Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Dabbundo: Brentford will officially be without Ivan Toney after the star striker was suspended for violating the FA’s gambling policy. The Bees are still structurally and tactically a mid-table team because of their effective defensive approach to take away big scoring chances, but the loss of Toney seriously limits their attacking upside. Tottenham and Brentford are two of the best teams in the league on set pieces, which limits and somewhat cancels out the attacking edge both clubs rely on there.

They have one of the lowest possession rates in the league and that puts possession-averse Tottenham in a tactically uncomfortable position. When these two sides met on Boxing Day, Spurs had major issues trying to progress the ball through midfield against the Bees. It wasn’t until they went down 2-0 and went to a more direct approach that they were able to consistently threaten with chances on the Brentford goal.

Tottenham’s progressive passing quality is limited in the midfield when Oliver Skipp and Pierre Emile Hojbjerg are the midfield two in the back three system. That was on full display against Aston Villa on Saturday last week, when Spurs didn’t attempt a shot in the first half and couldn’t time up a run to get Heung-min Son in behind the Villa high defensive line while keeping him onside.

Brentford are considerably more passive than Villa defensively and the result will be little space for Spurs to exploit in behind. The Bees defense will concede a bunch of low quality shots and Tottenham will be in another low scoring grinder of a match. I’d bet under 2.5 at anything plus money.

Pick: Under 2.5 (+110)

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