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Premier League Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Projections: Our 3 Best Bets, Featuring Manchester United vs. Leicester City (April 2-4)

Premier League Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Projections: Our 3 Best Bets, Featuring Manchester United vs. Leicester City (April 2-4) article feature image
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Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester United standout Marcus Rashford.

The Premier League returns from the international break for the stretch run featuring a title race still very much up for grabs. We also have the battle for fourth place, which includes the final Champions League spot, still in play and some interesting relegation scenarios.

When it comes to the latest set of fixtures, none of the top-six teams are playing each other, but there are a few interesting encounters like Manchester United hosting Leicester City and Arsenal making a trip to Selhurst Park on Monday to face Crystal Palace.

This is where the top eight teams stand exiting the international window:

If you’d like to read more about how I determine my projections, you can check it all out here. You can use these projections to identify betting value on current lines, plus follow me in The Action Network App to see any bets I make during the week.

Premier League Projections

Best Bets

Chelsea vs. Brentford

Chelsea Odds -300
Brentford Odds +875
Draw +400
Over/Under 2.5 (-125 / -110)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Chelsea is in a look-ahead spot with a Champions League match looming against Real Madrid on Wednesday. The Blues are sitting comfortably in third place, so don’t be surprised if there’s some squad rotation, especially coming out of a break.

The defense is back to the dominating force we saw in the second half of last season when manager Thomas Tuchel took the reins. Since Dec. 16, the Blues are only allowing 0.66 xG per match in the EPL and just one team (Liverpool) has created more one expected goal against their defense in that stretch.

Since that same date, the Chelsea offense hasn’t been the juggernaut we’re used to seeing. The Blues are only averaging 1.39 xG per game, so that means their games in the past 2.5 months are only averaging 2.05 xG total.

*(graphic via infogol.net)

Now, Chelsea gets to face a Brentford team that has been improving, but has also had some penalty luck along the way. The Bees only have created 6.1 non-penalty xG in their last seven contests. Brentford also tends to struggle against some of the top defenses in the English top flight.

Against the top five teams by xGA per match (Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, & Crystal Palace), Brentford has only created 7.7 xG in eight combined games.

When these sides met earlier this season, Brentford was actually very unlucky to suffer a 1-0 loss to Chelsea at the Brentford Community Stadium. The Bees won the xG battle by a surprising 1.6-0.3 margin, held the Blues to five shots and 20 touches in the penalty area. So, we’ll see if they can put up a similar defensive performance away from home. 

I only have 2.21 goals projected for this match, so I like the value on the total staying under 2.5 goals at -110 odds via BetMGM and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-110)

Wolves vs. Aston Villa

Wolves Odds +185
Aston Villa Odds +155
Draw +210
Over/Under 2.5 (+115 / -160)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Wolverhampton is maybe the most interesting, yet frustrating, team in the league to try and figure out. Its defense is wildly over-performing, allowing just 25 goals off of 42.9 xG, and you saw some of that negative regression come to fruition against Leeds United before the international break, granted Wolves was down to 10 mena

The reason for Wolves’ over-performance can mainly be attributed to two things, with the first being goaltender José Sá saving everything. He is second in the EPL with a +10.1 post-shot xG +/-, per fbref.com.

What a start to life in a Wolves shirt!

The top 10 saves of Jose Sa.

🐺🧤 pic.twitter.com/VHtmcnx48I

— Wolves (@Wolves) January 17, 2022

Secondly, Wolves are extremely conservative playing a very compact mid-block in their tactics. They allow teams to enter then their final third, but they’re actually good at not allowing them to create high quality chances.

Before the match against Leeds, Wolverhampton only allowed a total of seven big scoring chances in their last 13 matches. For the season, the club ranks seventh overall in big scoring chances allowed.

Offensively, Wolves have been struggling, creating more than one xG one time in their last 10 matches. However, it highlights a bigger tactical change under manager Bruno Lage. They are measured and meticulous with their buildup play, which is opposite of the direct attacking style under their former boss.

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Wolves are eight in the EPL in 10-plus pass sequences and in the bottom half in direct speed, per Opta. So, even though they’re drastically over-performing on both ends , their style of play really lends itself to low-scoring, slow-tempo matches. Additionally, they’re going to be minus main striker Raul Jimenez ,who is suspended, so that also complicates things for them going forward. 

Under manager Steven Gerrard, Aston Villa has been a low-event team because its matches are averaging only 2.14 total xG thus far. Defensively the Villans have been incredibly solid when they don’t have to play Manchester City, Chelsea or Liverpool. With Gerrard at the helm for 16 matches against the rest of the league, Aston Villa is only conceding 0.85 xG per contest.

I have the Both Teams to Score (No) line projected at -161, so I like the value on the current line of -120 odds.

Pick: Both Teams to Score — No (-120)

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Man United vs. Leicester City

Man United Odds -200
Leicester Odds +475
Draw +360
Over/Under 3.5 (+130 / -185)
Day | Time Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

This match is going to be chaotic, given the struggles of both defenses. The Leicester City defense has been one of the worst in the league all season, allowing 1.71 xG per match. That puts the Foxes at 17th in the EPL in that category, plus they’ve also yielded 6.5 exG in their last four matches against Burnley, Leeds, Arsenal and Brentford.

So, what do you think Cristiano Ronaldo and company are going to do?

The offense hasn’t been the problem for Manchester United outside of matches against Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. In 26 games against the rest of the league, the Red Devils are averaging 1.62 xG per tilt, including 16.6 xG in their last seven EPL matches, per fbref.com.

They’re right where they should be as well, sitting inside the top five in the table in NPxG, shots per 90 minutes and big scoring chances. The problem United runs into at times is that fact it’s not great at playing through pressure, ranking 10th in Offensive PPDA and 15th in pressure success rate allowed. The clubs isn’t going to have that problem against Leicester, though. The Foxes sit 13th in PPDA, per understat.com.

The Leicester offense is the reason why they’re still in 10th place. The Foxes are seventh in NPxG, but what’s crazy is that they’ve found the back of the net in 22 of their 27 matches. The five games they didn’t score came against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and twice against Arsenal. So, that’s basically four of the best defenses in the entire league.

*(graphic via infogol.net)

More importantly though, the Foxes have created at least one xG in 19 of their 27 league contests.

The last time these sides met it was a chaotic 4-2 win for Leicester City at King Power Stadium that featured 40 shots, 58 shot-creating actions and 3.92 xG in the wild meeting.

I also have to mention these are the two worst EPL clubs at defending set pieces. Leicester has conceded 13.2 xG off set pieces, while Manchester United has yielded 10.5 xG on them. 

I have the Both Teams to Score (Yes) line projected at -169, so getting a price of -150 has some value and I will make it my top selection.

Pick: Both Teams to Score — Yes (-150)

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