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Premier League Picks & Predictions: Our Best Bets for Saturday, Including Arsenal vs. Brighton (June 20)

Premier League Picks & Predictions: Our Best Bets for Saturday, Including Arsenal vs. Brighton (June 20) article feature image

Matt McNulty, Getty Images. Pictured: David Luiz

  • Our Premier League experts break down their favorite bets on the Saturday slate, including Arsenal vs. Brighton and Wolves vs. West Ham.
  • We make Wolves a much bigger favorite than the betting market (-171 compared to +110).
  • Get all our favorite EPL bets below.

Europe’s four biggest soccer leagues are all in action on Saturday, as the Premier League and Serie A are set for their first weekend slate in over 100 days.

One of the most intriguing matches will take place on England’s South Coast, as Brighton & Hove Albion host Arsenal, who are fresh off a 3-0 loss at Man City on Wednesday. One of our writers thinks the market’s got too high of an opinion of the Gunners against Graham Potter’s underrated Brighton side.

Read more analysis and find out our favorite bets for Saturday’s matches below.

UFC MAIN EVENT PROMO! Bet Curtis “Razor” Blaydes at +100 odds (boosted from -400).

Michael Leboff

Arsenal at Brighton

10 a.m. ET, NBCSN

There should be an influx of new soccer bettors in the market for Saturday’s matches, and I wonder how many of them will be immediately drawn to a big-ticket club like Arsenal at +135 against a better-than-they-look Brighton side.

Arsenal looked to be in shambles on Wednesday. David Luiz’s catastrophic 25-minute cameo got the headlines, but Man City was well on their way to picking apart the Gunners before Luiz went batty. Prior to Luiz’s sending off, City had generated 0.95 expected goals while Arsenal had created just 0.12.

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.

Man City made Arsenal look like a mediocre team, which makes sense because, well, Arsenal are a mediocre team. In fact, their ninth-place standing in the table actually overrates the Gunners in 2019-20. According to their expected goal differential, Arsenal are the 14th-best team in the Premier League.

Brighton, meanwhile, have a better xG differential than their opponents and are unlucky to be in 15th place this season. In fact, looking purely at expected goals, Graham Potter’s Seagulls have been the better overall team this season, as their xG differential sits at -5.59 while Arsenal’s checks in at -6.26.

I’m not going to get into the rest vs. rust debate; who knows if the advantage is with Arsenal, who lost to Man City on Wednesday, or with Brighton in their first match of Project Restart. It’s an unprecedented situation, and nobody can say one way or another which side benefits from the quirky schedule.

I’m expecting the public to be all over Arsenal in this match, but I’m happy to take +200 odds on a Brighton team that is better than their place in the table indicates.

Pick: Brighton +200
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Brad Cunningham

Wolverhampton at West Ham

12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN

The Wolverhampton Wanderers head to bottom-feeder West Ham in a game that has huge implications at both ends of the table. West Ham is currently deep in a relegation battle, sitting only two points above Bournemouth for the last relegation spot. On the other side of the table, Wolves currently sit in seventh place, just two points behind Manchester United for fifth and a spot in the Europa League.

The Hammers deserve to be on the verge of relegation based on expected points (27 actual vs. 25.19 xPoints). The main issue for the Hammers this season has been defense. West Ham allow a whopping 2.05 expected goals per game, second-most in the Premier League. Things don’t get much better at home either, as they are conceding 1.82 xG per game and have a -5.61 expected goal differential.

West Ham put a lot of focus on offense this transfer window, bringing in Sebastien Haller (via Frankfurt), Pablo Fornals (via Villarreal) and Jarrod Bowen (via Hull City in January) for a combined $98,230,000. However, spending that amount of cash hasn’t translated to much offensive firepower: The Hammers manage only 1.24 xG per game (15th in the Premier League). The big-money transfers will have to show some improvement if West Ham are going to survive relegation.

After a seventh-place finish last year, Wolves find themselves in the exact same position this season. Over the past two seasons, Wolves have been a surprise to many, but this team is absolutely for real. Wolves are top-five in the Premier League in expected points, expected goal differential and expected goals allowed. In fact, Wolves were one of the hottest teams in the Premier League before the break, based on expected goals.

In their last eight matches, they have scored 2.06 xG per game, while conceding only 0.94 expected goals per game. Within those eight games, Wolves won the expected goals battle in matches with Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool, showing they can hang with the big boys.

UFC MAIN EVENT PROMO! Bet Curtis “Razor” Blaydes at +100 odds (boosted from -400).

Wolves thoroughly dominated the reverse fixture 2-0 back in December. It was a dominate performance defensively, as Wolves limited West Ham to just six shots and 0.60 expected goals and deserved the 2-0 win based on the expected goals report.

I think Wolves’ current line at BetMGM is way too short based on my model, which has the following projections for this matchup:

  • West Ham projected odds:  +504 (16.55% win probability)
  • Wolves projected odds: -171 (63.09% win probability)
  • Draw projected odds: +391 (20.36% win probability)
  • West Ham projected xG: 1.01
  • Wolves projected xG: 2.09

Based on those numbers I think there is a lot of value on Wolves to grab all three points on the road.

Pick: Wolves +110
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