Everton vs. Leeds United Odds, Picks, Predictions for Saturday Premier League (Nov. 28)
MOLLY DARLINGTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Marcelo Bielsa
- Everton is favored against Leeds on Saturday in English Premier League action.
- Leeds has been a rollercoaster thanks to its pressing style, while Everton has been inconsistent at best in the last month-plus.
- Michael Leboff explains why Leeds could be a live underdog in this showdown.
Everton vs. Leeds United
|Everton Odds||+100 [BET NOW]|
|Leeds United Odds||+265 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+270 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-155/+125) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||NBCSN|
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United continue to be one of the bubbling stories in European soccer. That may be weird to say about a team sitting in 14th place with 11 points from nine matches, but Leeds play such an entrancing style of football that it has become appointment viewing on the weekend.
Everton’s win over Fulham on Sunday was a perfect metaphor for their season to date. The Toffees were spellbinding in the first half, scoring three goals and creating 2.07 expected goals, but they were abject in the second half and almost blew a 3-1 lead against a bottom-dweller. It was a fitting performance for a team that won its first four games in stellar fashion and then dropped three of its next four before defeating Fulham.
It’s hard to predict which version of Everton will show up on Saturday, but we have a pretty good idea about the team they will be up against.
Bielsa has had people fawning over his revolution at Leeds United for the better part of two years and I’ll admit that it’s hard not to get caught up in the hype. To watch Leeds is to get sucked up in some sort of beautiful, chaotic soccer version of ballet. Instead of fake crowd noise, broadcasters should hire an orchestra to play while Leeds are on the pitch.
Bielsa’s Leeds United are known for the relentless pressure they put on teams. It’s a high-risk, high-reward system that can turn disastrous if it comes unglued. There’s a reason that Leeds have allowed the third-most goals in the Premier League. Bielsa pointed out to the media that only nine of the 17 goals they’ve conceded have come from open play, but a side-effect from Leeds’ style is that they will be chasing opponents who beat the press. That will lead to fouls in opportunistic positions for their counterparts.
“If you value your style of play then you have to accept the consequences that come with it,” Bielsa said of his team’s defensive woes last week.
Despite a leaky defense which also ranks near the bottom of the Premier League in expected goals (xG) and non-penalty expected goals (npxG), Leeds boast a -0.02 xG differential per 90 minutes. In other words, the Peacocks are creating as many scoring chances as they are giving up.
While Everton aren’t as much of a roller coaster on the field as Leeds, their results this season have been peaks and valleys.
Everton opened the season on a torrid run of form, winning their first four games in convincing fashion. The four matches that followed were a disaster as the Toffees earned just one point and lost matches to Southampton, Newcastle and Manchester United. The Blues were missing key players — most notably Richarlison for the three losses — but their level of play was night and day from their opening four matches.
Through their first four matches Everton boasted a +7.3 expected goal differential. That number dipped to -4.22 in their next four contests.
Jekyll & Hyde.
At full force, the Everton attack is potent and imaginative, with James Rodriguez playing the maestro role. There are few players on the planet who can pick a pass like the Colombian and he’s got plenty of willing receivers in Richarlison, Lucas Digne and the league’s top goalscorer, Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Going forward hasn’t been an issue for Ancelotti’s Toffees, but with Digne out for this match and several more in the coming weeks, their best avenue for creating scoring chances will be turned off. James to Digne to Calvert-Lewin
Alex Iwobi took to the wing-back role well and helped balance the attack in Everton’s win over Fulham and Niels Nkounkou looks like a bright prospect for Ancelotti, but Digne’s developed into one of Europe’s most efficient chance-creators and his absence is a huge blow to a team that has leaned on him heavily for the past two seasons.
Everton’s lack of polish in the back was already going to be a problem against Leeds’ relentless pressure, and now things look even more challenging for a side that was made frantic by Fulham in the second half last week.
Betting Analysis & Picks
Bielsa vs. Ancelotti is an intriguing managerial matchup, and I think Leeds’ strengths match up with Everton’s weaknesses well enough to make this number worth a bet.
Leeds lead the Premier League in tackles in the attacking third, total pressures and passes per defensive action. In other words, the Peacocks are a buzzsaw that doesn’t give their opponents any time to progress the ball up the field.
Bielsa’s all-action press is not easy for any team to handle, but Everton are especially vulnerable to it. Michael Keane is off to a solid start this season but the rest of Everton’s backline, whether it be Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate, Ben Godfrey or Alex Iwobi, are not in trustworthy form, or in Iwobi’s case would be playing out of position.
Everton’s best asset is its creativity in the attacking third, but it does struggle moving the ball in their own half. The Toffees dodged a bullet against Fulham last week, but their defense looked anything but convincing when it came time to escape danger. Bielsa will have his side ready to exploit that weakness.
Pick: Leeds ML (live underdog at +250 or better)