Premier League Odds, Picks, Preview: Our Projections & Best Bets, Including Manchester City vs. Chelsea

Premier League Odds, Picks, Preview: Our Projections & Best Bets, Including Manchester City vs. Chelsea article feature image
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Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Tottenham standout Harry Kane.

* Editor’s note: Sunday’s scheduled North London Derby between Tottenham and Arsenal has been postponed. Stay tuned for the rescheduled date of the match.

After a break for the FA Cup, the Premier League returns to action with what is hopefully  the first full 10-match slate in more than a month.

Before we broke for the competition, Manchester City took another big step in securing the title in the English top flight, coming from behind to beat Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, thanks to a late winner from Rodri.

Big celebrations by @Mancityhyd after Rodri's stoppage time winner 🤩 🥳 pic.twitter.com/4KVktd7fMH

— Premier League India (@PLforIndia) January 5, 2022

Meanwhile, Liverpool blew an early two-goal lead against Chelsea, settling for a 2-2 draw. The Reds conceded two points in the title race in the process.

This weekend, we have two fantastic matches, leading off with a top-four clash between Manchester City and Chelsea, along with a massive North London Derby between Tottenham and Arsenal that could decide who finishes in the Champions League positions.

With the Africa Cup of Nations in full swing, this would be an important moment to say my projections below don’t take into account suspensions or injuries, or players who are currently representing their countries in Africa. That along with the ever-changing COVID-19 news, makes it very important to stay on top of who’s in or out of the lineups before placing a bet.

If you’d like to read more about how I determine my projections, you can check it all out here.

You can use these projections to identify betting value on current lines, plus follow me in The Action Network App to see any bets I make during the week.

Premier League Projections

Best Bets

Man City vs. Chelsea 

Man City Odds -145
Chelsea Odds +400
Draw +300
Over/Under 2.5 (-125 / +105)
Day | Time Saturday | 7:30 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

These sides have met essentially four times since last April and every single match has ended with less than 2.3 non-penalty expected goals created. So, the question is what has changed that’s causing the total of 2.5 goals to be plus money at +105 odds? The answer? Not much.

Sure, Chelsea was running incredibly hot defensively to begin the season and  over-performing its xGA in the process. However, the Blues are still a good, solid defensive unit, allowing only 0.85 NPxG per match and sit top five in shots allowed per 90 minutes, big scoring chances conceded and box entries yielded. They’ve been really good as of late as well, allowing only 3.5 xG goals in their last five EPL contests, per fbref.com.

In the last meeting between these teams, Manchester City absolutely dominated Chelsea. The Cityzens held the Blues to just five shots, allowed only eight touches in their own penalty area and maintained 60% possession.

Well, now Manchester City is holding on average 68% possession, so if Chelsea isn’t able to have the ball a fair amount, it’s going to be really difficult for them to stay in this match, especially on the road. 

*(graphic via infogol.net)

On the flip side, Manchester City hasn’t really been at their best on offense of late, earning only 1.0 xG against Brentford, 0.54 xG against Arsenal in the first 60 minutes before a penalty and red card. I know the Cityzens have a ton of depth, but they’ll be without Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez, who have combined for 10.2 xG and 5.5 expected assists on the season, per fbref.com

I only have 2.34 goals projected for this contest, so I love the total staying under 2.5 goals at +105 odds and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Total Under 2.5 Goals (+105)

Burnley vs. Leicester City

Burnley Odds +200
Leicester Odds +140
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (-110 / -110)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here. 

This is a very interesting match, with a lot to sort out when it comes to player personnel on both sides.

First, let’s start with Burnley. Newcastle triggered Chris Wood’s release clause, so he’s off to the Tyneside, while Maxwel Cornet is at the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast. The Clarets also have a lot of second-team players who had positive COVID-19 tests, so this isn’t a good scenario for them. Yet, with that being said, even Aaron Lennon and Jay Rodriguez should be able to create chances against Leicester’s unbelievably depleted defense. 

Now, let’s go over who’s out for Leicester: Johnny Evans, Jamie Vardy, Ricardo Pereira, Wesley Fofana, Boubakary Soumare, James Justin, Ryan Bertrand and Luke Thomas are sidelined due to injury. Wilfred Ndidi, Daniel Armartey (who has been playing out of position at center backs in Johnny Evans absence), Kelechi Iheanacho and Nampalys Mendy are at the Africa Cup of Nations.

So, this is maybe the best matchup Burnley is going to get offensively, because Leicester has allowed nine goals off corners this season, which is the most in the Premier League. Additionally, Leicester has allowed 26 shots inside the six-yard box, which is third most in the league.

Burnley is averaging 0.20 xG per corner, which is the best mark in the EPL, per understat.com. So, even though the club is without Wood and Cornet, there’s a good chance they can score off of a set piece in this match.

In contrast, we’re going to see more Patson Daka with Vardy and Iheanacho missing out, which I think is a good thing because he’s been lethal in his few appearances this season with a 0.61 xG/90-minute scoring rate. Leicester’s attacking midfielders like James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Ademola Lookman are all healthy, and will face a poor defense allowing 1.52 xG goals per game and has only held opponents under one xG four times this season.

I have 2.85 goals projected for this match, so I like the price on the total clearing 2.5 goals at -110 odds.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-110)

Spurs vs. Arsenal

Spurs Odds +140
Arsenal Odds +210
Draw +235
Over/Under 2.5 (-105 / -115)
Day | Time Sunday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Tottenham will be without Son Heung-min, which is a massive deal. However, , Spurs have been revolutionized on the offensive side under manager Antonio Conte. They average 2.15 xG per match, which is amazing considering they only put up 1.06 xG per game under former manager Nuno Espírito Santo.

Arsenal has struggled against good offenses, although it did put up a solid effort against Manchester City until Stewart Attwell gave the penalty to Bernardo Silva that led to Gabriel being sent off. The Gunners only allowed 0.54 xG for the first hour of the game against one of the world’s best offenses.

However, Arsenal is going to be extremely short-handed in the midfield for this match. Thomas Partey and Mohammed Eleney are at the Africa Cup of Nations, plus Granit Xhaka is injured, so that means Albert Sambi Lokonga is the only defensive midfielder left.

So, my guess is Martin Ødegaard will move back in the 4-2-3-1 formation or I wouldn’t be shocked if Arteta switched to a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 tactical approach, which he’s done a few times this season.

However, it’s unsure if Ødegaard will likely be unavailable for the match after a positive COVID-19 test sidelined him from Thursday’s scoreless draw against Liverpool in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semifinal tie. 

Martin Odegaard has tested positive for Covid-19 and will likely miss the North London Derby 🔴 pic.twitter.com/P81g2trVtz

— GOAL News (@GoalNews) January 13, 2022

Either way, this isn’t a good situation for Arsenal, which has struggled against the top offenses and conceded a combined 12.8 xG against Chelsea, Liverpool and two matches against Manchester City.

The Gunners’ offense has been really coming to life since a 4-0 loss to Liverpool in late November. Arsenal hasn’t scored in eight consecutive EPL matches, averaging 1.95 xG per game. And the reason for that is twofold.

First, it has been the emergence of Gabriel Martenelli has provided another goal-scoring threat. He has four goals in his last eight appearances , boasting a 0.46 xG/90-minute scoring rate. Needless to say, that’s  amazing for a winger.

Second, Ødegaard is playing at an elite level in terms of progressing the ball up the field and supplying the attack. In his last eight outings, he has 34 shot-creating actions, 38 progressive passes and 17 passes completed into the penalty area. Those statistics are tops in the league during that timeframe.

So, Ødegaard’s availability for this showdown is key to Arsenal’s success.

I have 2.85 goals projected for this match, so I love the total going over 2.5 goals at -105 odds and will make it my top pick.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-105)

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