Premier League Betting Odds & Picks: Aston Villa vs. Crystal Palace (Saturday, Dec. 26)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images. Pictured: Aston Villa standout Jack Grealish.
- Aston Villa looks to end its poor run at home Saturday on Boxing Day when it battles Crystal Palace.
- BJ Cunningham on why he's backing the Villans as short favorites at Villa Park:
Aston Villa vs. Crystal Palace Odds
|Aston Villa Odds||-135 [BET NOW]|
|Crystal Palace Odds||+333 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+300 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-140/+105) [BET NOW]|
|Day/Time||Saturday, 10 a.m. ET|
Aston Villa looks to make it three wins in four matches Saturday when it hosts Crystal Palace for a middle-of-the-table Premier League clash.
The Villans have had a resurgence after almost getting relegated last season, as they are currently in eighth place in the standings. However, they’ve been struggling at Villa Park this season, going winless in their last four home tilts.
Can Aston Villa end its skid against a struggling Crystal Palace squad?
In contrast, the Eagles have had an absolute rollercoaster of a season. The Eagles sit in 13th place with 5-3-6 record, with the high point being a win over Manchester United at Old Trafford in the second game of the season. Most recently, Crystal Palace was handed a 7-0 blowout home defeat by Liverpool.
Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace,2-0, at Villa Park during the restart this summer, so will we see a repeat of what happened in July?
The Villans have improved drastically since the restart. So much so, they have turned into one of the league’s most potent offenses. Aston Villa’s current average of 1.87 expected goals per match is the second-best rate among the 20 teams, and features one of the best attacking players in Jack Grealish.
The standout already has five goals and six assists to his name, plus he has the third-highest expected assists per 90 minute rate behind only Kevin De Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes.
Aston Villa barely survived relegation last season and much of that was due to how poorly it played defensively, allowing 1.99 xG per match. However, the Villans have made drastic improvements, allowing only 1.00 xG per match.
The Villans made a few key additions to their offense in the transfer window, bringing Ollie Watkins (Brentford), Bertrand Traore (Lyon) and Ross Barkley (Chelsea) into the fold. Watkins, who has been the biggest addition, was the leading goal scorer from Championship last season and already has six goals.
Bottom line, the way this squad is playing, they could be a top-six team in the league and should be able handle a below-average side like Crystal Palace.
Outside of Norwich City last season, Crystal Palace was the worst team in the league during the restart. However, the Eagles have found their usual spot around the middle of the table to start this campaign.
The underlying metrics for Crystal Palace last season were not pretty, as manager Roy Hodgson’s side had the fourth-worst xGD in the league. This year, it’s been the same story, as the Eagles have a -3.36 xGD. Their defense has been right around the league average, allowing 1.32 xG per match.
However, Crystal Palace is going to be without its two starting center backs — Mamadou Sahko and Gary Cahill — so they could be in trouble defensively.
The biggest difference between the past two seasons has been the Eagles’ attack. Crystal Palace is averaging 1.18 expected goals per match, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a lot better than its 0.74 expected goals for per game average during last season’s restart.
Projections and Pick
I think Aston Villa is being undervalued in this spot, especially with Crystal Palace being down its top center backs.
Since I have Aston Villa projected at minus-158, I think there is plenty of value on the its moneyline number ranging from of -105 at BetMGM to -113 at DraftKings.
Pick: Aston Villa ML (-105). Play up to -130.