Premier League Odds, Pick, Prediction: Aston Villa vs. Brighton & Hove Albion Betting Preview (Nov. 20)

Premier League Odds, Pick, Prediction: Aston Villa vs. Brighton & Hove Albion Betting Preview (Nov. 20) article feature image
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Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images. Pictured: Neal Maupay.

Aston Villa vs. Brighton Odds

Aston Villa Odds +145
Brighton Odds +205
Draw +225
Over/Under 2.5 (-100 / -125)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Steven Gerrard is back in the Premier League, this time as a manager. Aston Villa sacked Dean Smith prior to the international break and hired the legendary Liverpool midfielder to manage the club. His first match in charge will come at home on Saturday against Graham Potter and Brighton.

Gerrard was previously managing Rangers in the Scottish Premier League and helped to turn the club around from a recent downturn by turning them into an excellent defense. The quality of talent and opposition is much lower in the SPL, but he’ll now be tasked with rescuing Aston Villa’s declining defense and sputtering attack.

Brighton’s underlying numbers have slipped in the 2021-22 season because of a lack of attacking talent. The Seagulls are finishing around normal this year but are creating fewer chances this season. Still, Brighton remain an excellent defensive team, and given how inefficient both teams have been at turning possession into chances, the under is the look here.

Gerrard Debuts as Aston Villa Manager

Aston Villa made legitimate defensive improvements last season that moved them into the top half of the table for most of the season, and a lot of that improvement came on set pieces. They were the worst defense in the top flight in 2019-20 but were considerably better last year.

Through 11 matches in 2021-22, it was the poor defensive performances that cost Smith his job as much as not being able to replace the loss of star attacker Jack Grealish.

Villa’s defense has been a bit unlucky this year though. They’ve conceded 20 goals from just 16 expected goals, and given the quality of goalkeeper Emi Martinez, you wouldn’t expect them to underperform xG defensively by 20%. He’s been in a bad run of form as a goalkeeper but I’d expect positive regression coming for him defensively.

Going forward, Villa have had no answer to solve the problem caused by the loss of Grealish. They brought in Emi Buendia, who hasn’t played that many minutes and has been poor in those minutes. Leon Bailey has been in and out of the lineup with injury and the partnership of Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins hasn’t worked because it leaves Villa light in the midfield where they are too similar of players to mesh well.

The result is that only Brighton and Spurs are more inefficient at turning final third touches into shots and expected goals for. That’s not going to be solved quickly by Gerrard, especially against a Potter team that is well drilled defensively.

Brighton Not Creating Enough Chances

The biggest difference between Brighton this year and last year is their attack. The Seagulls rank 14th in xG  this season at 1.12 xG per game, down considerably from 11th place and 1.36 xG per game last season. They continue to be excellent defensively, they’re just not getting nearly as many shots per game.

They’ve dropped from seventh to 12th in shots per 90. Brighton are really good at possessing the ball in the final third, but like Villa, are one of the three most inefficient in the country at turning that possession into expected goals.

The Seagulls look much more like the 2019-20 version: lots of defensive possession without the attacking thrust to produce consistent chances. The attack will again be without Danny Welbeck, and there’s been a lot of reliance on just Neal Maupay to produce shots in the middle. Brighton aren’t getting enough production out of the rest of their attackers, and when Maupay was out against Newcastle, the Seagulls created very few chances outside of the penalty they were awarded.

Maupay will be back in the team for this game but he alone isn’t good enough to carry an above-average PL attack. With Villa’s increased focus on defending from Gerrard, it’s hard to see how Brighton consistently produces chances.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

With just 2.16 goals projected, this is my lowest projected total in the entire Premier League this weekend. Brighton continue to be as stout as ever defensively, and it’s difficult for the Villans to sustain possession against the press-and-possess style of the Seagulls.

Gerrard is coming into the job at a time when Villa have positive defensive regression coming, and I’m expecting him to immediately improve the Villa defense as he did at Rangers previously.

There’s a bit of juice on this number right now, but my projections show value on the under at -130 or better, and I still have major questions about the fit of the Aston Villa attack and the shot getting ability of Brighton.

Pick: Under 2.5 Goals (-130 or better)

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