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Premier League Odds, Picks, Preview: Our Projections & Best Bets, Featuring Brentford & Brighton (Jan. 1-3)

Premier League Odds, Picks, Preview: Our Projections & Best Bets, Featuring Brentford & Brighton (Jan. 1-3) article feature image
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Julian Finney/Getty Images. Pictured: Brentford standout Ivan Toney, right, controls the ball.

The festive fixtures finish off this weekend with a fantastic slate of Premier League action before taking a two-week break.

This past week we saw a major upset and shake up in the league’s title race, with Leicester City pulling off a stunning upset as a +750 home underdog against powerful Liverpool.

What an introduction 💫

Watch the Ademola Lookman moment that clinched our #LeiLiv win 🎞️ pic.twitter.com/HMnHXh7GV5

— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 29, 2021

This weekend, we have two top-four battles, with Arsenal hosting Manchester City and Chelsea taking on Liverpool. The latter match is crucial for the championship race, because if Liverpool drops points, Manchester City will effectively be on its way to back-to-back crowns in the English top flight.

Some teams will be playing their third match in a week’s time. So, this would be an important moment to say my projections below don’t take into account suspensions or injuries. Therefore, with the ever-changing COVID-19 news, make sure 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

Crystal Palace vs. West Ham 

Crystal Palace Odds +210
West Ham Odds +135
Draw +255
Over/Under 2.5 (-110 / -105)
Day | Time Saturday | 12:30 p.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Crystal Palace was a little short-handed against Norwich City on Tuesday with no Wilfried Zaha, Conor Gallagher or Joachim Anderson in the lineup. Zaha will be back from suspension and Gallagher could return, as all of the reports indicate his absence wasn’t COVID-19 related. Instead, he  was simply rested.

If Gallagher is back, I don’t understand why Crystal Palace is this significant of a home underdog. The Eagles’ offense hasn’t been great overall, ranking 13th NPxG thus far. However, in their past nine matches, excluding the game against Tottenham this past weekend when they were down a man for 60 minutes, Palace is averaging 1.43 xG per contest.

This angle of the move 🤝#CPFC pic.twitter.com/Na4vmEBC26

— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) December 29, 2021

Crystal Palace’s numbers at Selhurst Park are so much better than they are on the road. The Eagles have a +7.9 xGDiff at home versus a -5.9 xGDiff on the road. Palace is also are a fortress at home, allowing only 7.5 expected goals in 10 games, per fbref.com.

Offensively, West Ham looked great against Watford when it poured in four goals and created 2.9 xG in the win. Yet, that output came against the EPL’s worst defense. Crystal Palace is a much better, more organized defensive outfit that’s top five in NPxG allowed and big scoring chances conceded.

West Ham is still decimated by injuries on their back line, as Angel Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and Aaron Cresswell remain out for this match. The difference in West Ham defensively before the Ogbonna injury and after is night and day. Prior to his absence, the Hammers allowed only 1.06 xG per match. Following the injury against Liverpool, they’re allowing 1.44 xG per contest.

I have this much projected closer to Pick’em, so I love Crystal Palace at +125 on the Draw No Bet line via DraftKings and would play it down to +115 odds.

Brentford vs. Aston Villa 

Brentford Odds +190
Aston Villa Odds +150
Draw +240
Over/Under 2.5 (+110 / -130)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
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It was a really encouraging performance from Brentford against Manchester City on Wednesday, with the league leader only creating 1.00 xG, which was their sides second-lowest xG output this season.

Offensively, the Bees haven’t looked great their past two matches, though, creating only 1.1 total xG against Brighton & Hove Albion and Man City. However, those are two of the five best defenses in the entire Premier League.

Aston Villa has improved under manager Steven Gerrard, but their offense hasn’t improved much at all, creating 6.6 xG in his seven matches in charge. Brentford is a really good defensive outfit, allowing only 1.14 NPxG per match and 11.9 shots per 90 minutes, both sitting top six in the EPL, per fbref.com.

So for Aston Villa, who is bottom five in NPxG, shots per 90 minutes and big scoring chances, it’s going to be tough to create chances.

If we go back to when these side met earlier in the season, I understand Villa was under Dean Smith at that time, but Brentford was the better club. The Bees won on xG battle by a 1.1-0.6 margin and had more touches in the penalty area, shot-creating actions interceptions and tackles than Villa.

Brentford’s pressing should be very successful against Aston Villa, who is one of the worst teams against it in the league, ranking 19th in Offensive PPDA, while Brentford is 7th in PPDA overall.

Finally, Brentford is one of the most efficient teams on set pieces, averaging 0.12 xG per set piece, while Aston Villa is one of the worst EPL teams at defending them. The Villans have conceded seven goals already this season via set pieces and their best defender — Tyrone Mings — is out due to yellow-card suspension.

I have the host projected as a +120 favorite, so I’m backing Brentford on the Draw No Bet line at +115 odds and will make it my top pick. 

Pick: Brentford — Draw No Bet (+115)

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Everton vs. Brighton

Everton Odds +165
Brighton Odds +185
Draw +215
Over/Under 2.5 (+125 / -145)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
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Brighton is highly undervalued in this spot, as they take on an injury riddled Everton squad that hasn’t played in two weeks. 

Brighton looked fantastic against Chelsea on Wednesday, getting a deserved late goal from Danny Welbeck to draw 1-1 at Stamford Bridge. The Seagulls also won on xG with a 1.04-0.72 advantage. They were able to control a large share of the possession for the final 60 minutes of the match, plus they outshot Chelsea by an 18-11 margin.

Come for the goal, stay for the limbs! 😏 pic.twitter.com/o1nmyCMEYO

— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) December 30, 2021

This is such a great matchup for Brighton, who are top five in NPxG allowed, shots conceded per 90 minutes and big scoring chances yielded, going up against an Everton offense that will be potentially missing Richarlison, Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend. The Toffees are only averaging 0.72 xG per match over their last seven fixtures.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be back in the lineup, but who knows how effective he will be coming off a long-term thigh injury with literally no help around him.

Defensivel, Yerry Mina is still out for Everton, which is huge because they have no center back depth. That means Mason Holgate or Ben Godfrey will have to play alongside Michael Keane. When Mina is sidelined, the Toffees allow 1.65 xG per game. With  Mina playing, they’re yielding 1.12 xG per contest.

Also, Everton really struggles versus pressure, ranking 17th in Offensive PPDA, while Brighton is top three in both pressure success rate and PPDA.

Give me the visitors on the Draw No Bet line at +110 odds and play anything when it comes to that wager at plus money.

Pick: Brighton — Draw No Bet (+110)

Leeds vs. Burnley

Leeds Odds +110
Burnley Odds +245
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-105 / -110)
Day | Time Sunday | 9 a.m. ET
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Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Leeds has been horrific defensively as of late, allowing 15.6 xG in their last seven matches. They are also in the middle of an injury crisis, as Kalvin Phillips, Rodrigo, Liam Cooper, Diego Llorente and Daniel James are out for this clash. 

The biggest thing for Leeds is they’ve been facing a lot of teams lately who are good versus pressure, which has led them to getting exploited. Surprisingly, Burnley is actually pretty good against pressure, ranking sixth in pressure success rate allowed. The Clarets are also the most pressured team in the Premier League, so they’re used to it by this point.

Manager Marcelo Bielsa’s team has historically been horrible at defending set pieces, as they allowed the most goals (15) from them in the EPL last season. This season hasn’t gotten much better, as they’ve already conceded seven set-piece goals. Burnley relies on set pieces to create most of their chances, with them accounting for 48% of their xG this season.

*(graphic via understat.com)

Leeds will have plenty of chances in this match, considering they’re seventh in shots per 90 minutes and eighth in box entries per contest, while Burnley is dead last in both of categories, per fbref.com.

When these teams met earlier this season at Turf Moor, it was a 1-1 draw, but a total of 3.16 xG were created along with 40 shot-creating actions.

*(graphic via infogol.net)

That said, I think we’ll see a higher-scoring match than expected given the fact Leeds will have plenty of opportunities and how bad their defense has been.

I have 2.76 goals projected for this match, so I like the value on the total clearing 2.5 goals at -105 odds and will make it my top selection.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-105)

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