Saturday Premier League Betting Odds, Picks, Prediction: Aston Villa, Watford Defenses Should Dominate in EPL Showdown
Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyrone Mings.
- Aston Villa hosts Watford at Villa Park in Saturday's Premier League showdown.
- The visiting Hornets look to scratch out a result to stay away from relegation, while the Villans have struggled to produce offensively under manager Steven Gerrard.
- Handicapper BJ Cunningham breaks down the matchup below and delivers his best bet.
Aston Villa vs. Watford Odds
|Aston Villa Odds||-150|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-105 / -120)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 10 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Peacock Premium|
|Odds updated via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Watford looks for a vital three points in the relegation battle when they travel to take on Aston Villa.
Aston Villa’s results have improved under new manager Steven Gerrard, but the Villans are still sitting around the middle of the table. The reinforcements brought in to help the squad during the January transfer window — such as Philippe Coutinho — have helped out greatly, but it seems that Aston Villa will be stuck in the mid-table for the rest of the season.
Watford is beginning to find its form under new manager Roy Hodgson, but the Hornets are now in desperation mode after losing to Brighton at home last weekend.
Watford is now sitting six points from safety with Newcastle increasing the gap between safety and relegation by the week. The Hornets need a result from this match or else relegation might become a reality sooner than they hoped.
Aston Villa Struggling to Produce Offensively
Aston Villa has not been an offensive juggernaut under Gerrard.
In his 12 matches in charge in the Premier League, Aston Villa has created only 10.7 expected goals. Now, they have been good defensively over that time span as well, allowing 14.5 expected goals, but 5.3 of them came in matches versus Liverpool and Chelsea.
The main problem that Aston Villa has had all season is their inability to create high-quality chances. The Villans have created a lonely 13 big scoring chances, which is second-to-last in the Premier League. They’re also 15th in both npxG per match and shots per 90 minutes. So, trying to break down a compact 4-4-2 from Watford is not going to be easy.
The defensive performances from Aston Villa have been very encouraging this season, especially against the bottom half of the table.
Against the bottom 10 teams in the Premier League, Aston Villa allows only 0.96 xG per match. So, they should have no trouble shutting down a very poor Watford attack.
Watford Improving on Defense
Watford has obviously switched to a 4-4-2 under Hodgson, and the results — at least defensively — have been much improved. The Hornets have allowed 2.9 expected goals in his three matches in charge and have done a much better job of clogging up the middle of the pitch.
Now, the change has also seen a dip in their offensive output, as they’ve created only 1.8 expected goals in those three matches and are averaging 19 touches in the opposing penalty area, which would be bottom-three in the Premier League if it keeps up.
Watford and Aston Villa have heavy counter-attacking profiles. They both have significantly more direct attacks versus buildup plays this season, which is fine — but that also means there won’t be a lot of meaningful possession in this match.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Given how poor Aston Villa has been offensively under Gerrard combined with Watford’s improved defensive performance under Hogson, I think we’re going to see a low-event match.
That said, I like the value of under 2.5 goals at -115 odds.
Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (-115)