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Premier League Betting Odds, Picks, Preview & Predictions: Our 4 Best Bets, Featuring Wolves vs Manchester City, Brentford vs Arsenal (Sept. 16-18)

Premier League Betting Odds, Picks, Preview & Predictions: Our 4 Best Bets, Featuring Wolves vs Manchester City, Brentford vs Arsenal (Sept. 16-18) article feature image
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Eddie Keogh/Getty Images. Pictured: Arsenal’s Ben White and Brentford’s Ivan Toney

  • The Premier League is back in full force this weekend, and we have everything you need to know to bet on all the action.
  • Analysts BJ Cunningham and Anthony Dabbundo break down their favorite picks from the slate, including Sunday's rematch between Arsenal and Brentford.
  • Continue reading for full analysis of their favorite Premier League bets below.

After a weekend off following the death of the Queen of England, the Premier League returns with a seven-match slate.

BJ Cunningham and Anthony Dabbundo are here to take you through this latest set of contests with their best bets on the slate.

The pair, which is part of the Wondergoal podcast crew, will be taking you through the Champions League fixtures, 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

Nottingham Forest vs. Fulham

Nottingham Forest Odds +180
Fulham Odds +150
Draw +225
Over/Under 2.5 (-115 / -120)
Day | Time Friday, September 16th | 3 p.m. ET
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Dabbundo: Fulham produced 106 goals last season from 87.3 expected goals in the English championship. The Cottagers were an over machine last year thanks to this elite performance and finishing variance. They entered this Premier League season as a prime attacking regression candidate.

The rest of the team outside of Aleksandar Mitrovic has really struggled to create chances as he’s scored six of the team’s eight league goals through six matches. Mitrovic is holding up the entire attack right now, which has produced the 18th most box entries and 16th most shots per 90. 

The Cottagers did make noticeable improvements defensively, and that has shown in their improved midfield personnel and performances against Liverpool and Arsenal. Even though the Cottagers ultimately conceded two in those, they defended their penalty area well. Nottingham Forest’s attack also ran really well to earn promotion into the English top flight and has been awful at producing chances thus far. 

Only once has Forest produced more than one non-penalty expected goal. Their defense is also quite poor and has conceded the most expected goals in the league. But this is a matchup of two overrated attacks primed for regression dating back to last season and I’ll bet the under at 2.5, -120 or better.

The Pick: Under 2.5 goals (-120)

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Aston Villa vs. Southampton

Aston Villa Odds +105
Southampton Odds +250
Draw +250
Over/Under 2.5 (-125 / -110)
Day | Time Friday, September 16th | 3 p.m. ET
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Cunningham: Aston Villa have created 4.5 xG in six matches and outside of the Everton match, have not created a big scoring chance. The problem — and it goes back to the first match against Bournemouth — is that they can’t turn final-third possession into chances.

Aston Villa is in the middle of the pack in the Premier League at 155 touches per 90 minutes in the opponents’ final third, but they’re only averaging 18 touches per 90 minutes in the opponent’s penalty box. Only Leicester and Bournemouth have a lower average. Aston Villa have taken only 32 shots inside the opponents penalty area — only West Ham, Leicester and Bournemouth are worse. 

Defensively, though, they’ve been solid in the midfield and in the backline as they are top eight in box entries allowed, progressives passes + dribbles allowed, and crosses allowed into the penalty area because “compactness” is what Steven Gerrard seems to value the most. 

Southampton have looked better than they did over the second half of last season, but let’s not kid ourselves, they’re still averaging under 1.00 npxG per 90 minutes, they haven’t even created more than five xG from open play and they are 14th in shots from inside the penalty area.

In the two meets against Villa last season, they failed to create over 1.00 xG in each meeting, but held over 56% possession in both. That tells me that the Saints are not the type of team that is successful when you ask them to have the ball and break down a compact low block. 

I like BTTS – No at +120 (DraftKings), as I have this line projected at -112. 

The Pick: Both Teams to Score – No (+120)

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Wolves vs. Manchester City

Wolves Odds +750
Manchester City Odds -300
Draw +450
Over/Under 3.5 (+135 / -190)
Day | Time Saturday, September 17th | 7:30 a.m. ET
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Cunningham: Wolves style of play is interesting in how they’ve kind of changed from last season. They are straight-up winning the midfield battle. They’re averaging 54%, they have the sixth most progressive passes + dribbles, but they have the same problem as Aston Villa that they can’t turn that possession into high quality chances.

Wolves are top five in the Premier League in touches in the middle-third of the pitch and in the attacking third, but then they drop to 12th for touches in the opponents penalty area.

They are tops in the Premier League in shots, but they also lead in shots from outside the box, and historically a shot from outside the box has an xG rating of 0.03 on average. Plus, who does Wolves have on their roster who can turn that final third possession into a high quality chance? Raul Jimenez, who was a 0.24 xG per 90 minute striker last year? Diego Costa? The options are not good for Wolves. 

Plus, I’d imagine Bruno Lage is going to fall back into his old way for this match and play ultra compact and conservative with Manchester City coming to town. 

It may not seem like it, but Manchester City are actually more slow and pragmatic than last season by the numbers.

City are also holding 72.5% possession on average and are averaging close to 500 touches per 90 minutes in the middle third of the pitch. Now, the reason for that is because they’ve played a lot of teams that set up in very compact low blocks. In four matches against Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa, Manchester City have allowed a total of 1.0 xG, 16 shots, and 29 touches in their penalty area. 

Manchester City have two styles of play now: one when they have to break down a low block and one when they are playing a more open, pressing team. When they have to break down a low block, the shape in possession almost becomes a 2-3-5 where Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva push up with the front three with Kyle Walker and João Concelo pushing inwards, so when City do lose the ball, they are able to quickly counter press, win the ball and try catch the low block out of position.

As you can see in the stats above, teams that play low blocks have not been able to threaten City on the counter whatsoever, so what makes you think Wolves will be able to? 

I have BTTS – No projected at -137, so I like the value on -110 (FanDuel).

The Pick: Both Teams to Score – No (-110)

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Brentford vs. Arsenal 

Brentford Odds +320
Arsenal Odds -120
Draw +275
Over/Under 2.5 (-155 / +110)
Day | Time Sunday, September 18th | 7 a.m. ET
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Dabbundo: A lot has changed since Brentford beat Arsenal 2-0 at the Brentford Community Stadium to open the season. The Gunners have certainly improved since then and now look like a true top-four side in the league.

But even top-four sides will drop points throughout the course of the 38-game season and plenty of top teams struggle to beat Brentford. Just ask Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United, who have all dropped points to the Bees since they joined the Premier League. 

The Bees are excellent at defending their own penalty area from teams entering it. They rank top six in both crosses allowed and box entries allowed thus far this season and that includes a game against United. In three home matches, the Bees have generated seven expected goals and 10 actual goals, while conceding just three on home soil. This level of excellent play at home is just further progression from last year, where the Bees were eighth in xG difference in 19 home league matches.

This year, Brentford is fifth — ahead of Brighton, Newcastle, Chelsea and United. The Bees can follow a similar blueprint to that of Manchester United, who took advantage of some weaknesses in Arsenal’s transition defense to produce multiple opportunities in behind. The Bees also continue to excel on set pieces and thus remain undervalued in this match.

My projections, BJ’s projections and FiveThirtyEight all are in agreement that Arsenal shouldn’t be -125 road moneyline favorites here. I’d bet Brentford +0.5 at -110 or better and also like a moneyline sprinkle at +285 or better. 

The Pick: Brentford +0.5 (+100) 

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