Premier League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Sheffield United vs. Manchester United (Thursday, Dec. 17)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (left) and Marcus Rashford.
- Sheffield United is off to one of the worst starts in Premier League history with just one point from its first 12 matches this season.
- As such, the Blades are big underdogs Thursday when they host Manchester United at Bramall Lane.
- Matt Trebby previews the matchup and gives his betting pick below.
Sheffield United vs. Manchester United Odds
|Sheffield United Odds||+650 [BET NOW]|
|Manchester United Odds||-235 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+375 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-143/+116) [BET NOW]|
|Time||3 p.m. ET|
For as poorly as things seem to be going for Manchester United this season, a win over struggling (that’s generous) Sheffield United on Thursday would put the Red Devils level on points with fifth-place Everton and just one behind fourth-place Leicester with a game in hand on both clubs.
While the Europa League knockout stages beckon for them in 2021, Manchester United supporters can look on the bright side: There’s a lot of season left.
And at least your team isn’t Arsenal.
Coming off an overwhelmingly successful return campaign to the English top flight, Sheffield United have lost 11 of their first 12 games of the Premier League season. The Blades have one point.
It’s a staggering start for a team that was organized in defense and strong in attack en route to a ninth-place finish in 2019/20/. Sheffield United even landed a coveted midfielder last January in Sander Berge, a player linked with clubs of much larger stature than theirs.
Now, the Blades have scored five goals in 12 games, although the chances they’re creating indicate more are to come. Their non-penalty expected goal difference (NPxGD) is -10.25, which isn’t great but indicates that better finishing would solve their problems.
Whether solving those issues would lead to survival is another discussion. They’re already eight points behind 17th-place Burnley and have shown little signs of improvement of late. They haven’t registered more than 1.00 xG in a game since a 2-1 loss to Liverpool back on Oct. 24. That was seven matches ago.
While the Blades have struggled to score goals, Manchester United haven’t. While the Red Devils have scored 19 goals in 11 league games this season, their non-penalty expected goals (NPxG) tally is 12.64, just two places above Sheffield United.
So what does United have that their Thursday opponents don’t? Quality.
The Red Devils’ top scorer this season in the league is Bruno Fernandes, whose tally of seven goals has been inflated by three goals from the penalty spot. Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani have three each, while United haven’t seen the best of Mason Greenwood or Anthony Martial, both of whom finished Project Restart in red-hot form but have combined for one goal this season.
All things considered, Manchester United’s domestic form is pretty good. While they’re out of the Champions League, the Red Devils have 13 points from their last five games, dropping only two to city rivals Manchester City.
During that five-match run, United have scored three goals in each of their past three league away matches, victories over Everton, Southampton and West Ham.
Defensively, United have allowed 17 goals but they are sixth in the league in non-penalty expected goals allowed (NPxGA), which indicates they have been victim to some bad luck and sublime finishing.
While there is value on the Blades here, I cannot in good faith recommend you place your hard-earned money on a team that has failed to lose (not even win, just not lose) once this season. We’re almost at Christmas. Even Derby County in 2007-08 had six points through 10 games, and the Rams finished with just 11 (yes, eleven) points that season.
The best value that I found is on Manchester United’s team total. Over 2.5 goals is +195, which is a great number considering their current run of form and the rate at which they’re scoring on the road.
Pick: Manchester United Over 2.5 goals (+195)