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Premier League Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Projections: Our Best Bets, Featuring Manchester City vs. Manchester United

Premier League Betting Odds, Picks, Preview, Projections: Our Best Bets, Featuring Manchester City vs. Manchester United article feature image
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Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester City standout Phil Foden, center, celebrates his goal with teammates.

While three of the top six teams were off last weekend, there was no shortage of drama in the Premier League, particularly at Goodison Park where Manchester City escaped with a controversial 1-0 win over Everton.

🗣 “I’ve got a three-year-old daughter at home who could tell you that’s a penalty.”

Frank Lampard made his thoughts clear on Rodri’s controversial ‘handball’ 🖐 pic.twitter.com/JIZXYFqhcl

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 26, 2022

This weekend is headlined by one of the greatest rivalries in global football, withManchester City hosting Manchester United at Etihad Stadium for their latest derby. There are also some other intriguing matchups, including Leicester City taking on Leeds United, which is now managed by American Jesse Marsch, and Liverpool looking for revenge against West Ham United.

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

Norwich City vs. Brentford

Norwich City Odds +190
Brentford Odds +155
Draw +210
Over/Under 2.5 (+115 / -160)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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It feels like every week I am saying we’ve reached the bottom of the market on Brentford, but truly being only a slight favorite on the road against the worst team in the Premier League is worst for the club.

Brentford is one of the biggest under-performers in England, as the club has a -17 actual goal differential, but a -5.2 expected goal differential. The Bees’ last match against Newcastle United can pretty much be thrown out the window considering they had a player sent off in the 12th minute. The seven games before that Brentford was outscored 16-4 by opponents, but based on xG it was only 11.2 to 7.5 overall.

Additionally, for the first time in months, Brentford is fully healthy. David Raya is back in net. Ivan Toney came off the bench against Newcastle, plus Christian Eriksen made debut against the Magpies this past Saturday.

*(graphic via infogol.net)

Norwich is far and away the worst team in the league. Yes, based on xG goals the Canaries aren’t as bad as their -44 goal differential, but having a -1.06 xGDiff per 90 minutes is really poor. In their last 11 matches, Norwich has only created an embarrassing 6.6 xG and allowed 22.5 xG, per fbref.com.

This is a revenge spot for Brentford, which lost to Norwich, 2-1, at the Brentford Community Stadium, despite winning on xG by a 2.92-1.24 margin, holding 64% possession of the ball and generating 47 touches in the penalty area compared to only 15 for the visiting side.

I have Brentford projected as a -101 favorite, so I love the club on the Draw No bet wager at -125 odds and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Brentford — Draw No Bet (-125)


Wolves vs. Crystal Palace

Wolves Odds +130
Crystal Palace Odds +230
Draw +210
Over/Under 2.5 (+140 / -200)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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After dropping back-to-back matches against Arsenal and West Ham, Wolverhampton’s chances of finishing in the top seven is pretty much over. Now, the team gets to face a Crystal Palace side that absolutely dominated it the last time they played. The Eagles won, 2-0, and took the xG battle by a 2.0 0.2 edge. They also held 60% possession and limited Wolves to just five shots, per fbref.com.

This match is also a perfect example of why xG matters. On the season, Wolves has conceded 21 goals, while Crystal Palace has yielded 38 overall. So, you could say they has a significantly better defense than Crystal Palace.

However, based on xG, Wolves has allowed 36.7 overall, while the Eagles have only conceded 31.6 xG this season. Crystal Palace is also top six in shots allowed per 90 minutes, pressure success rate and high turnovers. And that’s big against Wolverhampton, which is  below average playing through pressure.

The Wolves offense has shown some improvements, but only creating more than one xG in three of its last 14 matches has dropped them to 17th in the EL when it comes to the xG metric. The problem is Wolverhampton has become far too reliant on big scoring chances. The side is only averaging 10.24 shots per 90 minutes, which is 19th in the English top flight.

So, Wolves’ 0.23 xG per shot, which is eighth in the Premier League, isn’t that impressive considering how few shots they get per match.

I have this match projected very close to a Pick’em, so I like Crystal Palace on the Draw No Bet wager at +125 odds.

Pick: Crystal Palace — Draw No Bet (+125)

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Man City vs. Man United

Man City Odds -275
Man United Odds +750
Draw +375
Over/Under 3.5 (+135 / -190)
Day | Time Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET
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Manchester United got its first taste of playing an elite opponent in Champions League action last week when it faced Atlético Madrid and boy did it look bad for a majority of the match. The Red Devils were able to hold 62% possession, but were only able to muster nine shots and 0.5 xG in the draw.

On the other side, Atlético really should have walked away with all three points, creating 1.3 xG against Manchester United’s defense. 

That said, I’m not sold on Manchester United under manager Ralf Rangnick, even if it’s averaging a +0.70 xGDiff per 90 minutes during his EPL tenure. Since December, the Red Devils have had the benefit of holding a large share of the possession against a lot of the lower English sides. In 13 league matches under Rangnick, they’re holding 56% possession on average.

So, how is Manchester United going to play when it’s sitting in its own end of the pitch defending for more than 60 percent of this match? Because that’s what Manchester City is going to do in this derby.

In the first meeting, which I understand was when Ole Gunnar Solskjær was in charge, Manchester City earned a 2-0 victory. The Cityzens won the xG battle by a 2.0-0.6 margin and held 67% possession of the ball. That isn’t surprising because that’s what they’re averaging for the season. In that contest, Manchester United only had five shots, three touches in the penalty area and one box entry at Old Trafford.

Even if we want to solely look at City’s performances since the date that Ranginck took over, there’s still a massive discrepancy in the numbers.


Since Nov. 20th: 

Team xGDiff per 90 minutes
Manchester City +1.67
Manchester United +0.80

That said, I have Manchester City’s spread line projected at -1.82, so I love the league leader giving -1.5 goals at +105 odds and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Man City -1.5 (+105)

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