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Premier League Odds, Pick, Prediction: Newcastle United vs. Norwich City Betting Preview (Nov. 30)

Premier League Odds, Pick, Prediction: Newcastle United vs. Norwich City Betting Preview (Nov. 30) article feature image
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Harriet Lander/Getty Images. Pictured: Billy Gilmour

Newcastle vs. Norwich City Odds

Newcastle Odds -105
Norwich City Odds +280
Draw +270
Over/Under 2.5 (-120 / +100)
Day | Time Tuesday | 2:30 p.m. ET
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Matchups between the two worst teams in the Premier League don’t always garner a lot of attention, but relegation six-pointers at the bottom of the table often make for tremendously exciting matches. It’s not quite the point of the season where the relegation battle is in the limelight, but these two squads are certain to be fighting for survival come April and May.

It makes Tuesday’s clash on Tyneside all that more important as Norwich City visits Newcastle. Both sides have hired new managers, and they’ve had varying results since that hiring. Newcastle tied Brentford 3-3 at home but lost Eddie Howe’s first match on the touchline, 2-0 to Arsenal.

At Norwich City, the Canaries hired Dean Smith and won their first match 2-1 against Southampton, and followed it up with a goalless draw against Wolves. Smith has been credited with lifting the dressing room and improving the Canaries’ defensive solidity.

Based on most underlying statistics, these two teams are about even across the board, and, with Newcastle facing suspensions to key players, the Magpies are overvalued in what should be a high-stakes affair on Tuesday.

Newcastle in Search of Better Defense

The Eddie Howe appointment never seemed like one that would be best made in-season, especially given that he doesn’t have the squad to play as he wants to.

Newcastle might be on the verge of relegation before spending in the January transfer window could change anything. Howe’s choice to start Jonjo Shelvey alongside Joe Willock in hopes of adding some passing and possession ability to the midfield hasn’t worked at all thus far.

Shelvey adds plenty of value to the attack with shots, but he does zero defensive work and cannot be asked to try to win the ball off of opponents. Newcastle will be without both Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie from the back line, and they haven’t sorted out the goalkeeper situation, which has been a bit of a disaster thus far.

Karl Darlow and Freddie Woodman have been awful at shot stopping in goal, and it’s unclear if Martin Dubravka is the answer there.

The Magpies now have the joint-worst Expected Goal Difference in all of the PL, tied with Norwich City. The defensive metrics have remained terrible since day one, but the production from the attackers has also regressed in recent weeks.

Norwich City Looking to Ride Saturday’s Momentum

Saturday’s draw with Wolves was the best defensive performance by expected goals that Norwich has had since FBref.com began tracking single-game xG data in 2017-18. The Canaries held Wolves to just 0.3 xG and looked as solid as they ever have out of possession. 

They’ve allowed 13 total passes completed into their own penalty area in the last two games, when the single game average in the 11 games this year prior to Dean Smith was over 10 per game. Norwich’s improved defensive solidity comes along with the return of 20-year-old Billy Gilmour to the midfield.

He also chose to start American Josh Sargent on the right wing, who doesn’t offer anything at all in terms of shots or ball progression but is an excellent defensive attacker in that he’s elite at pressuring, winning the ball, tackles and interceptions. Smith has made a clear effort to try to keep Norwich in the league through prioritizing defense and through two matches, the results are encouraging.

The wins against Brentford and Southampton were a bit fortunate on the whole, but the Canaries were also unlucky not to beat Wolves at home in their last match. The improved form of the Canaries isn’t quite being priced here, especially given that the attack has some positive regression coming.

They’ve only scored seven goals from 11.5 xG created. Defensively, the Canaries haven’t been any worse than Newcastle, conceding more goals than they should have given the overall quality of chances allowed.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

While I don’t typically like selling low on a team in the Premier League, this managerial appointment has disaster waiting for Newcastle given the lack of players who have passing range in this Newcastle side. The result of trying to play as Howe wants could leave them very open at the back. Given the talent deficiencies in defense and the suspensions, Norwich’s defensive solidity under Smith is the much more trusted unit in this game.

Relegation matches are typically decided on which side makes fewer mistakes, and Smith and Norwich are clearly the less likely to err, especially given the price.

My projection makes Norwich -120 on the road to take at least a point from this game, and given Newcastle’s current form and manager misfit with the current talent, I’m fading Newcastle as long as they are odds-on to win this game at home. There’s no one in the league the Magpies should be an odds-on favorite against.

Pick: Norwich City +0.5 (-115 or better)

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