Premier League Odds, Pick & Preview: Back Everton, Brighton to Score in Sunday Match
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Neal Maupay.
Everton vs. Brighton Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+125 / -160)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 9 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||USA Network | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Brighton & Hove Albion look to complete a successful festive period when it visits an Everton side that basically hasn’t had one.
Brighton snapped an 11-game winless run in the Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 triumph over Brentford on Boxing Day, then it followed that with a more impressive 1-1 draw at Chelsea on Wednesday.
Everton’s last match was also a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, albeit way back on Dec. 16. Pandemic concerns — both in their dressing room and their opponents’ — forced the postponement of their last three scheduled fixtures.
The Toffees were 2-0 winners over the Seagulls in their previous fixture this season on the South Coast.
Everton Returns to Action With Uncertainty
The Toffees’ two-week layoff wasn’t ideal, but they might be more grateful than most for the break considering the timing.
A combination of COVID-19 absences and injuries would’ve left Everton with only nine available first-team field players for their scheduled Boxing Day home clash with Newcastle.
Last year’s team-leading scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin would’ve been included in that group of missing players. The England striker had only recently returned to training from a two-month injury layoff and would’ve been a risk to push into the starting XI. A week of training later — with a nine day window before the next Premier League fixture — and pushing Calvert-Lewin now seems less perilous.
Manager Rafa Benitez is also expecting to get a chunk of his roster back from health and safety protocols, though he did not give specifics. We do know that center back Yerry Mina is still out with a calf issue, although he could come back to training next week.
Everton’s results have shown hints of a turnaround following a long slide, between the draw at Chelsea and home victory over Arsenal two matches prior.
The analytics, though, aren’t so kind. The Toffees have generated fewer expected goals than their opponents in 10 consecutive league games.
Recent Results Encouraging for Brighton
The Seagulls have played a smidge better than their results showed over their long winless run, but the timing of their recent surge is a bit surprising.
Brighton’s home win to Brentford and away draw to Chelsea both came in its second and third games without captain Lewis Dunk. The center back was originally believed to be lost for the season with a knee issue, before the timeline was revised to a more manageable eight weeks.
Neal Maupay continues to be Brighton’s most reliable scorer, hitting his seventh goal in the league against Brentford. He may have finally have reliable reinforcement in the form of Danny Welbeck, who returned from a 2 1/2-month absence against Brentford and scored a stoppage-time equalizer off the bench at Chelsea.
But the South Coasters still need more offensive contributors if they’re going to shed their reputation as the poster child for ineffective possession. Brighton trail only title contenders Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in terms of possession held. Those three sides each average more than two goals per 90 minutes, while Brighton is averaging fewer than one.
The Seagulls are 14th in the Premier League in xG created, one spot below injury-ravaged Everton.
Betting Analysis & Pick
My initial gut feel was that the three-way line is a little generous toward Brighton here, but a look at the numbers suggests otherwise.
Everton might have won half of its eight games at Goodison Park, but the Toffees are in slight negative territory in xG difference at home at -0.4, compared to Brighton’s -2.1 xG away from home.
If there’s any value on the moneyline, it may be on the draw, with the Seagulls keeping virtually all their matches tight and splitting the points in six of 10 away trips.
I like playing yes on both teams to score more, though. This probably won’t be a super wide-open encounter, but Brighton’s emphasis on keeping possession against Everton prioritizing counter attacking at speed down the wings may lead to more chances than some expect.
More to the point, both teams are missing a key center back and don’t have a great track record of keeping clean sheets. Between Everton at home and Brighton away, both teams have scored in 11 of 18 games, a 61.1% rate.
The Toffees have kept exactly two clean sheets at home, the Seagulls exactly two away. One of each came against woeful Norwich.
A 1-1 draw or a 2-1 win for either side could be in the cards. Give me both teams finding at least a goal at -110 odds and an implied 52.4% probability.
Pick: Both Teams To Score — Yes (-110)
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