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Premier League Betting Odds & Picks: Sheffield United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (Saturday, April 24)

Premier League Betting Odds & Picks: Sheffield United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (Saturday, April 24) article feature image

John Sibley – Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Solly March and Steven Alzate, celebrating with their fellow Brighton & Hove Albion teammates.

  • Sheffield United takes on Brighton & Hove Albion in Saturday's Premier League action, with the visitor's relegation situation potentially hanging in the balance.
  • The Blades have already been officially dropped from England's top flight, but the Seagulls should be highly motivated to secure all three points in its quest for safety.
  • Anthony Dabbundo analyzes the match, then explains why he's backing Brighton to triumph in this spot.

Sheffield United vs. Brighton Odds

Sheffield United Odds +440
Brighton Odds -140
Draw +265
Over/Under 2.5 (+135 / -167)
Day | Time Saturday | 3 p.m. ET
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Odds updated Friday morning via DraftKings.

Sheffield United’s stay in the Premier League will end after only two seasons. The Blades were officially relegated from the division last week. Sheffield United put together an incredible 2019-20 campaign, but everything that could go wrong for has gone wrong for the club: Poor goalkeeping play early, an injury crisis, some bad xG finishing luck and a managerial departure.

Sheffield United has nothing but pride on the line on Saturday when Brighton comes to visit from the South Coast. The Seagulls are still hovering relatively safely above the drop zone — and I speak on behalf of the larger soccer analytics community when I say that we’re tired of discussing this Brighton team’s historically bad finishing runs at both ends of the pitch.

We’re at a point now where all you can do is throw your hands into the air, scoff and bet Brighton again next week while hoping for better luck. It may seem absurd, insane or repetitive, but my numbers again show value on the Seagulls to take all three points here. And I will back them again.

Sheffield United

Sheffield United had a clear winning formula in 2019-20:

  1. Grab early goals.
  2. Rely on elite goalkeeper play.
  3. Be excellent at protecting leads.

On the strength of that strategy, the Blades maneuvered their way to multiple big wins against Chelsea and Tottenham and were solidly mid table.

This year, however, they have received subpar goalkeeper play and have been unlucky early in games.

Most teams have enough talent to dig out of early holes, but Sheffield United is one such exception. The Blades’ counterattacking style and progressing the ball down the wings doesn’t work nearly as well against set defenses as it does in transition. Sheffield United has remained great when playing with a lead, but it simply never has the lead.

By non-penalty expected goal difference, Sheffield and Crystal Palace are the two worst teams in the league since Jan. 1. The Blades have created the second-fewest xG and have allowed the second most. They spend almost no time in opponents’ penalty areas and report mediocre numbers at preventing opponents from getting into their own penalty areas.

Sheffield United does not take many long shots; they prefer high-quality looks at goal. However, the team is not creating enough high-quality looks to justify that strategy. That is unlikely to change against a Brighton defense that boasts the third-best xGA per 90 in the league.

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Graham Potter is one of the most underrated managers in the world. In fact, if Brighton had, say, Harry Kane and Heung-min Son rather than Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard this season, then it may very well be in the Champions League next year.

Brighton has been that good at creating shots and preventing opponents’ shots. Yves Bissouma is a breakout star in central midfield, and the Seagulls’ fullbacks have provided excellent production at both ends.

The Seagulls should have no problem matching the Blades’ 3-5-2 formation. Furthermore, they likely will be able to pressure the Blades into making mistakes. Brighton gets a lot of shots per 90 minutes, and Sheffield United will concede plenty on its own.

Brighton ranks fifth in xGD per 90 since Jan. 1. If granted a modest improvement in finishing luck at either end of the pitch, Brighton would be in the top half of the table.

Motivation creates yet another significant mismatch: Sheffield United has already been relegated, whereas Brighton still needs a win or two in order to feel secure in avoiding relegation.

Betting Analysis & Pick

My projections make Brighton -152 in this game.

Sheffield United has now surpassed West Brom as the worst team in the league. It took a while — and the Blades were legitimately unlucky early in the season — but now, they’re just flat-out terrible.

Brighton will dominate possession, generate plenty of shots and hopefully score 1-2 to take all three points comfortably here.

Sheffield United has no real manager and has clearly quit at this point: Similar to Norwich City’s embarrassing end to its last campaign.

Pick: Brighton ML (-140 or better)

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