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Premier League Odds, Picks, Prediction: Wolves vs. Crystal Palace EPL Betting Preview (March 5)

Premier League Odds, Picks, Prediction: Wolves vs. Crystal Palace EPL Betting Preview (March 5) article feature image
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Paul Harding/Getty Images. Pictured: Crystal Palace standout Wilfried Zaha.

Wolves vs. Crystal Palace Odds

Wolves Odds +130
Crystal Palace Odds +230
Draw +210
Over/Under 2.5 (+140 / -180)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Wolverhampton and Crystal Palace have overachieved expectations in the Premier League this season, with the latter side sitting in 11th place and well safe of the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Wolves is in competition for the European places as the season nears the home stretch.

Wolves will be looking for revenge in Saturday’s meeting from a 2-0 defeat at Selhurst Park earlier in the season as manager Bruno Lage’s men continue to outrun the regression the underlying numbers suggest is coming on defense. Palace hasn’t been nearly as good away from home based on its underlying numbers, either, but the club is in a great spot here against an overvalued foe.

Palace has only won one of its last five EPL games, settling for draws against Norwich City, Brentford and Burnley in recent matches. The Eagles have struggled as a favorite for most of this season, but when lined as underdogs, few teams have been more profitable than manager Patrick Vieira’s side.

Wolves have been the most profitable team in the entire league, but have lost two games in a row against Arsenal and West Ham United in deserved fashion. No team is overachieving more than Wolves and the club is a side I’m looking to play against in a big way down the home stretch, starting with this match.

Sá Blessing Wolves With Stellar Play

In the last 700 minutes of EPL action, Wolves have a -0.3 xG difference per 90 minutes, but a +0.64 actual goal difference per 90 minutes. That’s the biggest delta between expected and actual performance in the league and there’s a lot of regression coming. I’ve written about this extensively, but Jose Sá is having one of the best goalkeeper seasons recorded in all of Europe’s recent history.

Sá has saved about 10 goals and that still doesn’t go far enough to explain the over-performance relative to their expected goals allowed. Wolves have conceded 21 goals from 36.7 xGA and they’ve been remarkably lucky to not concede more. Regression is coming for Sá and opponents will inevitably start to finish better against this defense at some point.

Wolves over-performed their defensive numbers, even in their last two defeats, so don’t think that’s really been regression. Both Arsenal and West Ham created enough chances to deserve more than two and one goals, respectively. The ball progression numbers don’t like this defense either and think it’s a below average unit.

They rank 13th in box entries allowed, 11th in crosses allowed into the penalty area and are somehow fourth in big scoring chances allowed. A lot of this is because Wolves have been lucky to get leads and then don’t press, but sit back. That means they have a lot of bodies behind the ball and in front of goal.

However, if the defense was a bit less fortunate early in games, the attack would need to go for more, and the defense would be at more risk of conceding chances in transition. At that point, fewer defenders are in the way of all of the shots and box entries this defense is allowing.

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Stingy Defense Powering Crystal Palace

Palace has the considerably better defense, even if the goals allowed numbers don’t show it. The Eagles have been a bit unlucky in front of goal, conceding 38 goals from just 31.6 expected this season.

They feature a top-four defense in terms of chances allowed and shots conceded. I don’t necessarily believe this because the ball progression and personnel doesn’t suggest they should be this good, but you can’t ignore a 27-match sample.

Even if the strength of schedule has been a bit weak the second time through the fixtures, Palace’s defense has been the main reason for improvements. The one weakness it has had has been defending crosses, where it ranks 19th, but Wolves is also second to last at completing crosses into the penalty area.

So, while Wolves’ defense and goalkeeping has been the story, Crystal Palace’s improvements are more sustainable and repeatable going forward.

Palace is also pretty mediocre at playing through teams who apply a lot of pressure on the ball, but that’s not Wolverhampton either. The club ranks last in pressing intensity, which gives the Palace center backs the ability to carry the ball up the pitch without being pressed into mistakes.

That’s a major part of the ball progression for Palace, who then has the attacking options to cause problems for any defense. The attack has overachieved its underlying numbers quite a bit, but did manage to outshoot Wolves by a 13-5 margin and created two xG in the first meeting.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Palace has been better Wolves overall this season and isn’t getting enough respect in the market. At some point, Wolverhampton is due for a game where a team takes a bunch of half chances against it and Palace’s ability to hit in transition could be the team to catch the host here.

The Eagles’ xG difference on the road is -0.7 per 90 minutes, but it’s not like Wolves have impressive home numbers either. Wolverhampton has a positive goal difference at home, but the xG numbers at home are sixth worst overall.

I’m expecting Wolves to begin a bit of a tumble down the table as the fixtures get more difficult for them, which will continue with a third consecutive defeat at home against Crystal Palace in this matchup.

My projections make this a toss-up with home field factored in again, so I’ll take Crystal Palace and the quarter goal on the Asian Handicap at -110, as well as sprinkle some on the moneyline at +240 odds.

Pick: Crystal Palace ML (+240) | Crystal Palace +0.25 (-110)

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