Saturday Premier League Odds, Picks, Prediction: Everton vs. Aston Villa EPL Betting Preview
Michael Regan/Getty Images. Pictured: Duncan Ferguson
- Everton and new interim manager Duncan Ferguson host Aston Villa in Saturday's Premier League match at Goodison Park.
- The Toffees, who are slight +180 underdogs, hope to get a bounce on the sideline after the departure of Rafa Benitez.
- Ian Quillen breaks down the contest below and explains why he thinks Everton's offense will fire on all cylinders.
Everton vs. Aston Villa Odds
|Aston Villa Odds||+165|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+105 / -135)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 7:30 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||USA Network | fuboTV|
|Odds updated via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.|
Longtime Everton nemesis Steven Gerrard makes his first visit as manager to Goodison Park as his Aston Villa side travel north for a Saturday lunchtime clash of two struggling Premier League stalwarts.
Villa have improved since former Liverpool FC star Gerrard took the reigns in mid November. But they were losers of three in a row in all competitions before rallying for a 2-2 home draw against Manchester United last Saturday.
Things are even worse for Everton, which parted with manager Rafa Benitez after last Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Norwich City. For the time being, club legend Duncan Ferguson has to his second interim tenure in three years.
Ferguson was Benitez’s assistant in Everton’s 3-0 loss at Aston Villa back in September, a game that turned relatively late in the hosts’ favor. Gerrard was still in Scotland with Glasgow Rangers at the time.
Everton Could Get Bounce With New Manager
In a season full of underwhelming performances, last Saturday’s defeat still stands out as the worst, catalyzing Benitez’s exit.
A Norwich side that hadn’t found the net in six previous Premier League matches bossed the opening 45 minutes and were deserving of their 2-0 lead.
And unlike many matches in November and December, Benitez did not have the excuse of a thin roster, with most of his regulars returned.
Even with the embarrassing defeat, a few subtle signs emerged suggesting at least the potential for improvement.
The biggest was Everton’s improvement when Richarlison and Yerry Mina both entered in the 54th minute, both in return from calf issues.
While Dominic Calvert-Lewin is Everton’s leading striker, Richarlison is the Toffees’ most important and consistent performer.
The Brazilian’s stunning bicycle kick-goal to narrow the deficit to a goal was a play arguably no one else on the pitch could make, and a reward for his infusion of energy.
The Toffees also fractionally bested Canaries in terms of expected goals (xG), leading 0.8 to 0.6 in the metric. While hardly something to brag on, it still marked the second straight time Everton have created more than opponents, after a string of 10 matches where the opposite was true.
Aston Villa Still Improving Squad Depth
The Villains faced the awkward task of playing the same opponent in consecutive matches, hosting the red half of Manchester after losing to them the week before in the FA Cup.
It was a different looking team in the return fixture pitch, with Lucas Digne making his debut start after a transfer from Everton, and Philippe Coutinho coming on late following his arrival on loan from Barcelona.
The latter entrance proved transformational.
Gerrard’s men appeared to be heading to a second consecutive defeat after Bruno Fernandes completed a brace, helped by a gaffe from Villa ‘keeper Emiliano Martinez on the opener.
But Coutinho immediately showed his class after entering in the 68th minute and spearheading the fightback.
He was integral in the combination play that resulted in Jacob Ramsey’s 77th-minute goal to halve the deficit. Then he arrived at the back post to smash in an 81st-minute equalizer and send the Villa Park faithful into delirium.
That burst ended a stretch of five unanswered goals scored by Villa opponents across all competitions.
It may have also set suddenly loftier expectations for Gerrard’s side as they approach what could be their new Brazilian playmaker’s first start.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The metrics and surface-level circumstances suggest the value is on home underdogs Everton.
The Toffees’ have a better xG difference overall (-4.1 to -6.2). Their -0.2 xG difference at home compares even more favorably to Villa’s -4.3 mark away.
That’s all before factoring in the atmosphere at Goodison, where Benitez was enormously unpopular and Ferguson is a fan favorite. Or before the new coach bounce we sometimes see.
There is a catch, though. Villa have clearly improved in the winter transfer window through Coutinho and Digne, enough to give pause to drawing conclusions from their stats so far.
And Everton’s dysfunction has been consistent for several years since Farhad Moshiri took over as primary shareholder.
Benitez may have been a uniquely bad fit, but expecting dramatically better results under Ferguson isn’t sensible.
However, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are likely to start together for the first time since August. The Toffees scored at least twice in all three of those matches, and they’ve scored at least twice in six of nine in the league at Goodison.
Villa have conceded twice in half of their 10 away EPL matches. While most of that happened before Gerrard, they also suffered a 2-1 defeat at Brentford on their last away day.
That all has me on the Everton team total over 1.5 goals at +150 odds and an implied 40% probability.
Pick: Everton Team Total Over 1.5 goals (+150)