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Premier League Odds, Picks, Preview: Our Projections & Best Bets, Featuring Manchester United vs. West Ham United (Jan. 21-23)

Premier League Odds, Picks, Preview: Our Projections & Best Bets, Featuring Manchester United vs. West Ham United (Jan. 21-23) article feature image
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Michael Regan/Getty Images. Pictured: West Ham United star Michail Antonio, center, is mobbed by his teammates.

There is one last slate of Premier League matches before we head into the international break. And it’s a fantastic card coming our way.

We have a London derby featuring Chelsea and Tottenham, Friday’s relegation battle pitting Watford against Norwich City and a massive match between Manchester United and West Ham United that could play a big part in the battle for the top-four 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

Everton vs. Aston Villa

Everton Odds +180
Aston Villa Odds +165
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (+105 / -130)
Day | Time Saturday |  7:30 a.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

This is about as good of a spot that Everton is going to get this season. Rafa Benitez was sacked after the 2-1 loss to Norwich City last weekend, which means the Toffees get the new manager bounce.

Even more important is they’re finally fully healthy coming into a match since the first few games of the season. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Yerry Mina are back in the lineup.

I think we’ve all kind of forgotten what this Everton team is capable of when it has everyone fit, especially in attack. Dating back to last season, when Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison play together, Everton averages 1.43 xG per match. When they don’t take the field at the same time, the Toffees average only 0.98 xG per contest, per understat.com.

GET ON YOUR BIKE RICHARLISON!

💻: @peacockTV #MyPLMorning #NOREVE pic.twitter.com/Mctj7pKZ2U

— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 15, 2022

Aston Villa did improve its squad in the transfer market, adding Phillipe Coutinho and Lucas Digne, but this is still a team with some flaws. First off, the one way to beat Everton is to relentlessly press them. Aston Villa isn’t that team, considering they’re 15th in PPDA and 14th in pressures per 90 minutes. 

The Villans’ offense hasn’t been that effective since Steven Gerrard took over, considering they’re averaging only 1.08 xG per outing in his nine matches in charge. Everton getting Mina back is huge for the club because when he’s in the lineup, the club only allows 1.12 xG per match. When he’s missing, the Toffees concede 1.92 xG per game. 

That said, I love Everton and projected it at +121, so I am backing the club on a Draw No Bet wager at -105 odds via DraftKings and make it my top selection.

Pick: Everton — Draw No Bet (-105)

Man United vs. West Ham

Man United Odds -115
West Ham Odds +300
Draw +285
Over/Under 2.5 (-145 / +120)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

West Ham is going to continually have to play in these high-scoring matches without Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna in the lineup.

The Hammers have now been without them for 11 matches and in seven of those game they’re allowing 1.53 xG per game. When either one of them or both are in the lineup, West Ham only yields 1.15 xG per contest. 

So, facing a United offense that has feasted on inferior defenses under Ralf Rangnick, putting up 8.5 xG in his six matches in charge, I don’t think they’ll have much trouble creating chances. And for that reason, this will likely turn into an open game. Plus, Cristiano Ronaldo was back in the starting lineup against Brentford in Wednesday’s victory.

In contrast, West Ham is flying high at the moment, creating a combined 10.7 xG in their last five matches. Jarrod Bowen is maybe the league’s most in-form attacker, with three goals and three assists in his last five games. For the season, West Ham is averaging 1.50 xG per match, which is the fourth-best mark in the English top flight.

9️⃣ goals
🔟 assists

Big numbers from Jarrod Bowen this season 🔥 pic.twitter.com/ktBf1aq1eZ

— West Ham United (@WestHam) January 18, 2022

Now, West Ham gets to face a United defense still dealing with major issues. Yes, the Red Devils only allowed a combined 8.2 xG to Norwich City, Newcastle United, Burnley, Wolves, Aston Villa and Brentford.

However, all six of those offenses are in the bottom 12 in the Premier League in non-penalty expected goals for. So, this is going to be a massive step up in class for Rangnick’s men.

I have 3.24 goals projected for this match, along with Manchester United at +133, so I love the total cleaning three goals at +115 on alternative line, as well as West Ham getting +0.5 on the spread line at -105 odds in this crucial game.

Pick: West Ham +0.5 (-105) | Total Over 3 goals (+115)

Brentford vs. Wolves

Brentford Odds +205
Wolves Odds +155
Draw +210
Over/Under 1.5 (-190 / +150)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Offensively, Brentford looked so much better Wednesday even in defeat against Manchester United.

The Bees finished the match with 2.77 xG, 18 total shots and two big scoring chances. They also held the Red Devils to just three first-half shots, so it was a really dominate performance before they scored.

(graphic via infogol.net)

Sure, Wolves scored three goals and created 2.2 xG against Southampton this past weekend, but this is still an offense that has only generated more than one xG twice in its last eight matches.

The main reason for that is Wolverhampton has really struggled lately playing through the press, as their Offensive PPDA since Nov. 6 is 10.19, which is well below the Premier League average of 11.67, per understat.com.

So, facing Brentford’s heavy metal style of soccer, in which they’re seventh in PPDA, is not a great matchup. 

When these sides met earlier this season, Brentford earned a 2-0 win and was the more threatening side despite only holding 38% possession, as it won the xG battle by a 2.5-0.60 margin, per fbref.comSo, with the Bees’ offense finally showing some life against United, we could see a similar score line.

Brentford, which is much better on home soil, has a +2.1 xGDiff at home versus a -5.2 xGDiff on the road. On the other hand, Wolves is pretty bad on the road, with a -4.1 xGDiff and only averages 0.99 xGF per match. 

I have Brentford projected at +150, so I love the Bees on the Draw No Bet wager at +110 odds and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Brentford — Draw No Bet (+110)

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