Premier League Betting Picks, Predictions, Preview: Projections & 4 Favorite Bets, Including West Ham & Brighton (Sept. 18-19)

Premier League Betting Picks, Predictions, Preview: Projections & 4 Favorite Bets, Including West Ham & Brighton (Sept. 18-19) article feature image
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Lindsey Parnaby/Pool/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Manager Sean Dyche of Burnley.

  • Things should heat up on this weekend's Premier League card, with several solid matches on tap.
  • Soccer handicapper BJ Cunningham unveils his projected odds and totals, along with his four best bets on the docket.
  • Check out below why he made Burnley and West Ham United part of his top selections.

The Premier League season is starting to heat up, with the teams at the top all taking care of business on last weekend’s card.

There wasn’t much drama in the Premier League outside of Crystal Palace’s 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur or Brighton & Hove Albion’s late winner over Brentford.

What a way to win it, @LTrossard! 🎯 pic.twitter.com/ZQef7EPlE5

— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) September 12, 2021

This week is headlined by a London derby with Tottenham Hotspur hosting Chelsea, but there are also some intriguing encouters like West Ham vs. Manchester United and Brighton vs. Leicester.

If you’re new to our soccer coverage, I will be providing my projections for every Premier League match, along with every other game from Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1, plus Champions League and Europa League when they are in action.

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

Newcastle vs. Leeds

Newcastle Odds +205
Leeds Odds +125
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-155 / +125)
Day | Time Friday | 3 p.m. ET
How To Watch NBCSN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

This match has chaos written all over it, with two of the Premier League’s worst defenses meeting in this matchup.

Newcastle’s defense was abysmal last season. The Magpies allowed 1.58 xG per match; the second-most shot-creating actions; the most touches in their own final third; and, second-most touches in their own penalty area, per fbref.com. This season, it’s gotten even worse for manager Steve Bruce’s side, which is conceding a whopping 10.43 expected goals through their first four matches, which is the second most in the English top flight.

The Magpies’ offense hasn’t been up to par to begin the season, either, but they do have the attacking talent to break down a shaky Leeds defense with the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson and Joe Willock leading the line. They certainly had no trouble last season against Marcelo Bielsa’s Peacocks, creating 3.18 xG combined in the two matches against them.

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Bielsa’s brand of soccer isn’t for the faint of heart.

Leeds essentially plays a full-court press at all times. Whenever the opposing team has the ball, the entire Leeds team presses forward in hopes of winning the ball and starting a counterattack. The Peacocks lead the Premier League in total pressures, but sits middle of the road in pressure success rate, per fbref.com.

It sounds great on paper, but why more teams don’t employ this style of play is due to the fact it often leaves clubs exposed on defense. That showed in the underlying metrics, as Leeds allowed the third-most xG in the Premier League at 1.66 per match last season. This season, it hasn’t gotten much better, as the Peacocks have yielded 9.40 xG through their first four contests.

I have 3.12 goals projected for this affair, so I think there’s some value on the total over three goals at +105 odds or better via DraftKings and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Total Over 3 Goals (+105)

Burnley vs. Arsenal

Burnley Odds +295
Arsenal Odds +100
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (+100 / -125)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
How To Watch NBCSN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Arsenal looks to build off its 1-0 win over Norwich City last time out when they travel to Turf Moor to battle Burnley.

Despite losing three of their first four matches, the Clarets haven’t been as bad as their results have shown. Their traditional ultra-defensive style of play hasn’t worked through their first four games, allowing 7.65 xG so far. However, the offense has been much better than a year ago, creating 6.02 xG against its opponents.

Burnley’s style of play is very difficult to break down if you aren’t ready for a physical battle. The Clarets don’t allow teams to play through the middle of the pitch, instead forcing them out wide. Burnley’s 4-4-2 formation lets them stick eight guys behind the ball and absorb opposing attacks, daring teams to beat them with crosses into the middle.

Arsenal really struggled to breakdown Burnley’s 4-4-2 setup a season ago, losing 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 on the road.

The Gunners’ defense have been a mess to begin the season, allowing the most xG (10.58) in the league through their first four matches. They did deal with some injuries through the first three fixtures and are finally healthy. That said, Burnley will have trouble breaking them down, but the offense hasn’t been much better.

Arsenal is creating a lot going forward, but none of it has been high quality. They have 61 shots, but only created a total of 4.46 xG, which gives them an xG per shot of .07 and that’s horrendous by league standards. That’s the case when you take into consideration league leader Manchester City has the most shots, averaging 0.16 xG per attempt.

I think Arsenal is way overvalued in this spot, as I only have them projected at +149, so I think there’s value on Burnley’s spread of +0.5 goals at -115 odds on DraftKings and would play it up to -125 odds.

Pick: Burnley +0.5 (-115)

West Ham vs. Manchester United

West Ham Odds +340
Manchester United Odds -130
Draw +300
Over/Under 2.5 (-150 / +125)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
How To Watch NBCSN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Manchester United looks to rebound after a poor midweek performance in the Champions League, losing to Swiss side Young Boys in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

USMNT's Jordan Pefok scores the winner for Young Boys in stoppage time! 💥

(via @CBSSportsGolazo)pic.twitter.com/GkFdyqExny

— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 14, 2021

The Premier League campaign has been going well for United, who won three of their first four matches. Adding Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t hurt either. He had a dream homecoming last weekend, scoring two goals in their 4-1 victory over Newcastle.

RONALDO AGAIN! 😱
 
He scores a brace vs Newcastle⚡️

(via @NBCSportsSoccer)

pic.twitter.com/5JbwbbtyQr

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) September 11, 2021

However, when you dive into Manchester United’s underlying metrics, it tells a different story. The Red Devils have created 7.62 xG so far, but 4.7 of those are post-shot xG, which is how likely the goalkeeper is to saving the shot. That means they’ve benefited from some bad goalkeeping in their first four games.

West Ham’s offense has been electric, even dating back to last season, in putting together 1.63 xG per outing, which is the fifth-best mark in the Premier League. The Hammers have also created the fifth-most xG (7.47) through the first four matches.

While West Ham’s offense gets all the praise, they have one of the best defensive central-midfield pairings in Declan Rice and Tomáš Souček, who completely dominated Leicester City’s midfield.

With those two in manager David Moyes’ 4-2-3-1 formation, West Ham was incredibly effective, putting up a +12.75 xGDiff when playing dating back to last season, while also averaging over 1.75 xG per 90 minutes.

I think the Red Devils are overvalued on the road against a really good foe that had the second-most home points in the league a season ago.

Since I only have Manchester United projected at +142, I think there’s value on West Ham’s spread of +0.5 at +110 via DraftKings and would play it up to -115 odds.

Pick: West Ham +0.5 (+110)

Brighton vs. Leicester City

Brighton Odds +170
Leicester City Odds +175
Draw +200
Over/Under 2.5 (+115 / -140)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

I know I’ve said it a million times and everyone is probably sick of hearing it, but Brighton boasted a +18.13 xGDiff at home last season, which was the third-best mark in the Premier League.

One of the reasons the Seagulls have been so successful this season is they lead the league in pressure success rate. They’re an incredibly difficult team to press, because last season opponents had the second-lowest pressure success rate against Graham Potter’s side. As for this season, Brighton has the fourth-lowest pressure success rate in the first division.

Leicester City has looked horrible to start the season, highlighted by their brutal -4.43 xGDiff through their first four matches and 3.37 xG overall. In fact, the Foxes are dead last in the league with 42 shot-creating actions; second to last in touches inside the opponents’ final third with 398 (FYI: just for some context, Manchester City has well over 1,000); and ,third to last in touches inside the opponents’ penalty area with 68, per fbref.com.

Leicester City also has a Europa League match against Napoli on Thursday, so they could have some tired legs entering this showdown.

I have my Seagulls projected at +105, so I love their Draw No Bet line at -110 at DraftKings and would play this wager up to -140 odds.

Pick: Brighton — Draw No Bet (-110)

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