Southampton vs. Leeds United Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: Take Underdog in Meeting of Underachievers

Southampton vs. Leeds United Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: Take Underdog in Meeting of Underachievers article feature image
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Alex Pantling/Getty Images. Pictured: Diego Llorente

  • Two of the biggest Premier League underachievers in 2021 meet Saturday when Southampton hosts Leeds United.
  • These sides have combined for a lone win in their first 14 league matches thus far.
  • Anthony Dabbundo takes a deep look at these clubs below and explains why he's found plenty of value on the visiting Peacocks.

Southampton vs. Leeds Odds

Southampton Odds +135
Leeds Odds +195
Draw +230
Over/Under 2.5 (-140 / +120)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Leeds United and Southampton are two of the bigger underperformers this Premier League season, as these teams have combined for one total win in their first 14 league matches.

It has been a series of mostly draws and defeats for the high pressing and frenetic sides that play some of the more chaotic style of games in the English top flight.

Southampton picked up some respectable results in draws with Manchester City, Manchester United and West Ham United, but was badly outplayed last game before the international break in a 3-1 defeat at Chelsea. The Saints sit just one point above the relegation zone despite ranking 13th in expected-goal difference.

Leeds has had a similar performance level through seven matches, sitting one place in front of them in both the xG table and actual table. The Peacocks are the better team in my projections, and despite being on the road, shouldn’t be an underdog in this matchup.

Can Southampton Find Way to Score Goals?

Southampton is pressing just as much as always, but the press hasn’t been nearly as effective this year as it has been in years past. This has been an ongoing problem for the Saints since the beginning of the COVID-19 soccer era in September 2020 when players returned after too short of an offseason and have been run into the ground by fixture congestion.

The Saints rank first in total defensive pressure attempts in the Premier League, but both their passes per defensive action and pressure success rate are lower than years past. Southampton isn’t generating as many turnovers high up the pitch to turn into clear scoring chances.

When the defense gets broken open, it’s getting exposed badly. No team has conceded more big scoring chances than the Saints this year, and that’s usually an issue when playing a team used to an up-tempo, high-pressing frenetic game like Leeds is.

The Peacocks handled the Saints in both meetings last year, winning 5-0 on aggregate home and away. Even though xG was much closer than that, Leeds won that by more than a goal too and was the better side in both games.

The Saints have scored five league goals this season — two James Ward-Prowse penalties, a deflected own goal from outside the box and huge defensive error by Everton account for four of those five. I know the Saints have run cold in front of goal, but the offense is just 14th in shots per 90, 15th in penalty area entries and 19th in crosses into the box.

The suspension of Ward-Prowse means the Saints are down to their primary set-piece and penalty taker, and a player who consistently posts better than 0.3 xG + xA per 90 minutes.

Will Struggling Leeds Begin Converting Chances?

Leeds’ regression has primarily come at the offensive end through seven league matches. Manager Marcelo Bielsa is making the trade-off that despite having a relegation level defense, Leeds will produce enough shots and chances and goals to overcome that in most matches.

Sometimes, they’ll lose badly, like they did to Liverpool and Manchester United, but over the course of 38 games, they’re clearly better than enough teams to remain in the mid-table. That bet pays off in a 1-0 home win against Watford, and it has to be able to get at least a point away at Southampton, who sits in 17th in the table.

Leeds is still pressing as they rank second in passes allowed per defensive action and continue to make games frenetic and fast-paced. The defense is still relegation level as only two teams have allowed more non-penalty xG and one team more shots.

The attack has only produced seven non-penalty goals, though. The attack is now fifth in NPxG and fifth in shots. They rank in the top five in box entries and crosses into the area, too. The main problem: Leeds isn’t finishing its chances.

That tends to be very noisy in the short term and subject to a lot of random variance. Leeds are one of the biggest xG underperformers in front of goal, along with Southampton and Wolves.

If Leeds keeps creating chances as it has, it will score goals. Given how poor Southampton is at conceding big chances, this could be the breakout game.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

My projection puts Leeds at -105 on the Draw No Bet line and I will take +105 or better on the two-way Draw No Bet number, as the visiting side is the more likely team to take all three points.

My projections have been low on both teams all season, but the market is showing too much respect to Southampton, who, despite running cold in front of goal offensively, is now without their best creative player and chance creator in Ward-Prowse.

The Peacocks’ pressing numbers have been better, the attack generates more chances and despite both teams running cold, they are the more likely to break through in this matchup.

Pick: Leeds — Draw No Bet (+105 or better)

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