Premier League Odds, Picks & Predictions: Optimizing Value For Arsenal vs. Wolves (Saturday)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images. Pictured: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal vs. Wolves Odds & Picks
|Arsenal odds||+250 [BET NOW]|
|Wolves odds||+125 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+270 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+112/-137) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET|
Arsenal’s back-to-back wins against Southampton and Norwich by a combined 6-0 scoreline have people believing that the Gunners are prepared to qualify for the Europa League yet again next season. After two defeats and two victories since the restart, seventh-place Arsenal hit the road north on Saturday to Wolverhampton to take on sixth place Wolves.
Wolves have a perfect record since the restart, winning all three matches by a combined 4-0 score — three game-winning goals, all in the second half, all while keeping clean sheets.
While Arsenal’s last two results are impressive just by looking at the box score, a look at the actual goals scored suggests the Gunners have been quite fortunate: In Arsenal’s 2-0 road win at Southampton, Arsenal were the better side, but benefitted from two goalkeeper errors by Southampton’s James McCarthy to produce two easy tap-in goals.
Against Norwich, the Gunners again deserved all three points, but were gifted two goals off a goalie error by Norwich’s Tim Krul and another on a sloppy back pass that led to a 1-on-1 finish. I still have major questions about the Gunners going forward, and Wolves’ defense has proven to be one of the sturdiest in the Premier League this season. Wolverhampton have conceded the least expected goals in the Premier League, and despite not being a dominant possession team, don’t allow many quality goal-scoring chances.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Arsenal, road woes aside, has struggled most in the second halves of games this season. In the first meeting between these two sides at The Emirates, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a first half goal, but Wolves’ striker Raul Jimenez rescued a point with a second-half equalizer in a 1-1 draw.
Arsenal’s xG by minute in 2019-20
- 1-30: +2.93
- 31-60: -3.28
- 61-90: -4.88
While Arsenal’s performances have gradually gotten worse as the game has gone on, Wolves are the exact opposite. As I wrote about before Wolves’ win against Aston Villa last week, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have been a much better side in the second halves of games than the first half.
Wolves xG by minute in 2019-20
- 1-30: +1.60
- 31-60: +4.59
- 61-90: +9.64
Arsenal are likely to have more of the ball in this match, with Wolves looking to break out on the counter. In the last meeting, Arsenal had 58% of the ball, but produced 10 shots to Wolves’ 25 and Bernd Leno made multiple saves to keep Arsenal level. He remains out for Saturday with a knee injury.
Because of these trends, my betting strategy for this game is to split a unit — one half on Wolves ML at +130 and the other on Wolves second-half moneyline at +160.
Also, because the first- and second-half splits are so dramatic for each team, I will place a small wager on Arsenal to win the first half, Wolves to win the match at +2500. When you combine the probabilities of each using a parlay calculator — Arsenal 1H ML +300 plus Wolves ML +130 — it gives a +800 parlay. The plays may be inversely correlated, but it’s easy to see a scenario in which Arsenal leads early and Wolves, led by supersub Adama Traore, come back to win late.
When trailing by one goal this year, Wolves have scored 18 game-tying goals, and conceded again four times. Meanwhile, Arsenal have been outscored 9-7 when leading by one goal this season.
The implied probability of the +2500 event happening is 3.80%, which I think is significantly undervaluing the chances of a Wolverhampton come-from-behind win. The value here is too good to pass up.