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Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea Premier League Odds, Picks, Prediction: Blues in Vulnerable Spot Against Eagles? (Feb. 19)

Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea Premier League Odds, Picks, Prediction: Blues in Vulnerable Spot Against Eagles? (Feb. 19) article feature image
Credit:

Francois Nel/Getty Images. Pictured: Hakim Ziyech

  • Chelsea welcomes Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge for Saturday's important Premier League showdown.
  • The Blues have a Champions League fixture with Lille next week, but need to get a positive result to stay comfortably inside the top four in the table.
  • Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the match below and explains why he thinks Crystal Palace has a chance to hang with its host.

Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea Odds

Crystal Palace Odds +475
Chelsea Odds -150
Draw +285
Over/Under 2.5 (+100 / -120)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds updated via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Chelsea added another trophy to their cabinet last week when they won the FIFA Club World Cup, beating Palmeiras in the final of the competition. Now Chelsea will return to the Premier League with a road trip and London derby against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Blues are in a brutal sandwich spot between the end of the Club World Cup and the restart of the Champions League knockout round against Lille on Tuesday. Chelsea are safely in the top four but are all but out of the Premier League, so Palace is catching them in an optimal spot.

Crystal Palace have been a surprise package this season under first-year manager Patrick Vieira, who some thought would be one of the first managers sacked. But Palace have turned over the squad with new signings, been excellent at home and are comfortably ahead of the pack from relegation.

With some better finishing or close game luck, Palace would even be challenging for a spot in the top half of the table. The first meeting on opening day was a comfortable 3-0 win for the Blues, but Palace can cause some issues for Chelsea on Saturday, who could be caught in a flat spot here.

Crystal Palace Finding Surprising Success

Palace have a +0.85 expected goal difference per 90 this season in 1,050 minutes of 11-on-11 at home, which is the fourth-best mark in the entire PL. The Eagles thrashed Spurs 3-0 at home, beat Wolves 2-0, Everton 3-1 and outplayed both Liverpool and West Ham, even in defeats at Selhurst Park. 

Despite these impressive underlying numbers at home, it hasn’t quite translated for the Eagles into results. Palace have an actual goal difference per 90 of just +0.17, considerably worse than the expected number.

The Eagles are as healthy as they have been all season, but will be without midfielder Conor Gallagher because he’s unable to play against his parent club. Palace’s main counterattacking pieces will otherwise be available.

Palace were a bit fortunate to scrape out a draw on the road at Brentford last Saturday, but that was a match away from home where they’ve been considerably less successful. The Eagles should be able to absorb Chelsea pressure from the front thanks to improved ball playing ability from their center backs.

One major issues for Palace in years past was the inability to keep the ball against top sides who applied pressure. But under Vieira and with Marc Guehi, an excellent ball-playing center back, the Eagles are eighth in pressure success rate allowed and have conceded the fourth-fewest big scoring chances.

Defending crosses has been an area of weakness for Palace defensively, but Chelsea’s main fullbacks remain out with injury and the Blues are 16th in crosses completed into the penalty area per 90 minutes.

Offense Has Been Lacking for Chelsea

Outside of beating Tottenham three times in a month across the EFL Cup and Premier League, any signs of the Blues’ early-season dominance returning remain missing. A lackluster showing in a defeat to Manchester City and a draw with Brighton were surrounded by two cup wins and the wins against Spurs.

Chelsea have failed to surpass one expected goal in each of their last three Premier League matches, and while the defense continues to be solid, the Blues just don’t generate margin effectively.

The first meeting between these two clubs doesn’t mean much because it was in August, but Chelsea only had 0.9 expected goals and 13 total shots at home. Draws in low-scoring games were a slight problem for Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel last season and that’s the main reason why the Blues have fallen out of the title race.

The Blues will be without their top two fullbacks and their best attacking midfielder in Mason Mount due to injury. The main ball progression engines of this team are the fullbacks and Mount, so it could be difficult for the Blues to generate clear attacking chances without all of them.

Mount also is the Blues’ best presser and Palace might find more joy on the counter or passing through Chelsea because of his absence.

Betting Analysis & Pick

When you factor in spot, matchup and my projections, I can’t get to Chelsea being this big of a favorite on the road. Crystal Palace are one of the more underrated teams in the market this season and their improved defense and ability to play out from the back has helped them immensely against the league’s bigger sides.

They’ve beaten Manchester City and Spurs, tied Arsenal and arguably outplayed Liverpool just a few weeks ago. Chelsea’s gone through a ton of travel and are in a sandwich spot between two more important games in different competitions. They’ve also got an EFL Cup final on the horizon.

Premier League is pretty low on the Blues’ list of priorities at the current moment and that could factor into some potential rotation for Chelsea’s squad on Saturday.

Even with a full strength lineup, Mount is a huge loss in the center of the park and the Eagles are undervalued to get at least a point. My projections make Chelsea close to even money and I’d take Palace +0.5 at +110 or better.

Pick: Crystal Palace +0.5 (+110 or better)

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