Watford vs. Leeds Odds, Picks, Prediction, Best Bets: Back Surging Peacocks to Sting Hornets (April 9)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Leeds United teammates Lewis Bate, left, Jack Harrison and Daniel James, right, celebrate a goal.
- Watford welcomes Leeds United to Vicarage Road for Saturday's Premier League clash.
- The Peacocks, who are led by American manager Jesse Marsch, are slight +150 ML favorites to pick up the victory.
- Nick Hennion breaks down the matchup below and explains why he's backing Leeds.
Watford vs. Leeds Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (-140 / +100)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 10 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Peacock Premium|
|Odds updated via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
It will be a battle between bottom-five Premier League sides Saturday when Watford seeks an escape from the relegation zone when it faces a Leeds sides looking to distance itself from the drop.
The Peacocks arrive at Vicarage Road unbeaten in three matches, while the Hornets have dropped points in three of their last four contests. Additionally, Watford is seeking an end to a miserable run, as it has lost eight in a row on their own soil and own only two home wins this season.
The reverse fixture at Elland Road saw a dominant performance from Leeds. The Peacocks secured a 1-0 shutout win, but easily outpaced the Hornets by winning the expected-goals battle by a 1.9-0.2 margin.
Watford Enduring Long Relegation Fight
Watford experienced a brief respite from its poor run back in late February, but it has since restored its weak season-long issues.
Manager Roy Hodgson saw his squad pick up four points in three matches beginning on Feb. 19, but the last four fixtures have gone horrendously. While the opponents — Arsenal, Wolves, Southampton and Liverpool — have been anything but easy, the fact remains Watford’s defense has now conceded one expected goal or more in five consecutive games, per fbref.com.
The offense has seemingly sputtered, too, as it has now created less than 1 xG in three of its last five fixtures. That said, some positive offensive regression could be on the way based on Watford’s home performances. In its last four matches, Hodgson’s side has created at least one xG in three of them and scored three goals on four xG in the process.
Furthermore, Watford has created at least one xG in four of five home matches against bottom-half opposition and could see further positive regression based on that fixture set (four goals on 5.1 xG) going forward.
That said, the Hornets’ defense hasn’t held up well against weaker sides. In those same five fixtures, Watford has conceded 1.54 xG per 90 minutes, which is down only 0.18 xG/90 from its season-long average.
Metrics Telling Different Story for Leeds
New manager Jesse Marsch has enjoyed a positive start to his Leeds tenure, even if the results haven’t reflected it.
In five fixtures under Marsch, Leeds owns a +2.5 xGDiff against a -2 goal differential in reality. It has also created at least one xG n four of those five contests and held its two road opponents under one xG in those games.
The concern for Leeds in this fixture? It has played atrocious soccer away from home this season. Although the results have improved of late, the Peacocks still own the third-worst road xGDiff in the English top flight and allowed the second-most road xGA, per fbref.com.
The good news for Leeds is that it has done very well against teams currently below it in the table. In seven such fixtures, the Peacocks have a 4-1-2 (W-L-D) record and only lost two of those fixtures on xG as well.
Unfortunately, none of those seven fixtures came under Marsch, so we’re still slightly in the dark as far as how Leeds will handle this fixture. However, in two road games against teams sitting in the relegation zone, Leeds possesses one win and a draw, while holding a +0.2 xGDiff in those matches.
BJ Cunningham’s EPL Projections
Betting Analysis & Pick
I’m slightly concerned about Leeds’ road record this season, but also think you shouldn’t overthink this situation.
Not only has Watford lost a boatload in a row at home, but I believe Leeds is a poor matchup for the host. The Peacocks enter this game with the fifth-best successful pressure percentage in the EPL, while the Hornets are the worst against pressure, per fbref.com.
Plus, Watford has struggled mightily in matches against top-half pressure sides. The Hornets are 2-12-0 (W-L-D) in such fixtures and have lost every match against a top-half pressure side on home soil.
On the flip side, Leeds is slightly better in terms of getting results against the 10 worst teams against pressure. In 15 such fixtures, the Peacocks are an even 5-5-5 (W-L-D) this season.
Given those performances, I have no choice but to back Leeds. I believe the worst it does is a draw and hope it can overcome its poor road performances.
Pick: Leeds — Draw No Bet (-125)