Saturday Premier League Odds, Picks, Predictions: Chelsea at Brentford Betting Preview (Oct. 16)
James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images. Pictured: Romelu Lukaku.
- Brentford and Chelsea will meet Saturday afternoon in a Premier League tilt at Brentford Community Stadium (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC).
- The Bees are off to a terrific start in their top flight debut, and have already picked up points against some of the league's best teams.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks his Chelsea vs. Brentford pick below.
Brentford vs. Chelsea Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||NBC | Peacock Premium | fuboTV|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.|
In my view, no manager in the Premier League has done a better job than Brentford manager Thomas Frank this season. In the Bees’ first season in the top flight since 1947, he has completely transformed their style of play from the second division and turned them into a solid Premier League side.
They’ll face a tough test on Saturday as London rivals Chelsea visit the Brentford Community Stadium. The Bees have already beaten Arsenal and tied Liverpool at home this year and earned a lot of respect in the process.
Chelsea’s offense has made significant improvements this season with the addition of Romelu Lukaku at the front of the attack, but their defense has slipped from the historically good levels it reached at the end of the 2020-21 season.
The market hasn’t quite adjusted to Chelsea’s downturn in defensive numbers, and the price for both teams to score in this game is too cheap, based on my projections and recent form.
Brentford Could Be Dangerous on the Counter
It speaks to the quality of Brentford forward Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney that the Bees have put up such solid attacking numbers despite otherwise bad offensive underlying numbers. The Bees have not been press resistant at all, allowing the worst opponent pressure success rate. They rank 19th in entrees into the penalty area and 18th in shots per 90. All of that is troubling, but like any true counterattacking side, they create quality chances. Like any good analytically driven team, they’re excellent on set pieces and extract as much value as possible from them.
Brentford is ninth in xG per 90 and sixth in big-scoring chances because of Toney and Mbeumo. They’re an excellent counterattacking side facing a midfield that hasn’t been nearly as good defensively. The Bees have scored 10 league goals from 9.6 xG, and while that’s not elite numbers, it’s more than good enough to be in the PL mid-table.
The more troubling long term sustainability issue for the Bees comes defensively. First, they’ve run hot defensively, conceding just six goals from 7.5 xGA. The Bees do very little to stop opponents from having the ball, passing it into their penalty area or swinging in crosses. Brentford should be commended for transforming itself from a press-and-possess leaky defense in the Championship into a more stout team, but the defensive regression is coming hard.
Chelsea’s Shorthanded Defense is Vulnerable
Chelsea’s slightly different way of playing in 2021-22 under manager Thomas Tuchel has gone largely unnoticed, but it’s showing up in the underlying numbers for the Blues. Chelsea took few chances last year, rarely sent numbers forward and were a defense-first team. Through seven league matches, they’re top three in xGF but down to seventh in xGA.
Some of that xGA remains skewed because of one half down a man at Anfield, but the Blues are even conceding more chances to teams like Southampton, Spurs and Aston Villa that the Blues were simply not conceding last year. It’s impossible to maintain the ridiculous defensive standard they did last season, and trying to do so would have cost them offensive output.
Over the course of the 38 game season, they’d have dropped too many points in 0-0 or 1-1 draws trying to desperately keep clean sheets and have added attacking talent to the point where Lukaku, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz are continuing to learn how to play off one another and improve.
The Blues defense has only conceded three goals, but 8.6 xGA in seven matches is a better indicator of their defensive regression. Given the quality of chances they’ve conceded, they’ve been very lucky to not concede more, and goals are coming against this defense. Throw in that both Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva are out for the Blues and they look even more vulnerable at the back.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Chelsea’s defense is still pretty good and one of the best in the league. It ranks between fifth and eighth in most of the defensive metrics you can look at. But a shorthanded defense, making a road trip to a London rival after an international break is as vulnerable as the Blues will be.
Brentford’s counterattacking ability makes them a constant threat in this matchup, and both defenses are headed for some defensive regression in the short and long term this season.
My projection makes this -120 and I like both teams to score at anything plus money.
Pick: Both Teams to Score Yes (+100 or better)