Premier League Odds, Picks & Predictions: How to Bet Saturday’s Southampton vs. Aston Villa Match
Molly Darlington/Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Grealish.
- Aston Villa enter Saturday's matchup with Southampton with an important tactical advantage over the Saints.
- Villa is in the midst of a fantastic season, and its attack could thrive against the Saints' 4-4-2 setup.
- BJ Cunningham breaks it all down, explaining why he's backing the Villains.
Southampton vs. Aston Villa Odds
|Aston Villa Odds||+125|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-148 / +120)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 3 p.m. ET|
Two mid-table sides meet on the south coast as Aston Villa battle Southampton.
Southampton is in the middle of a terrible run of form, winning only one of their last seven Premier League matches. They were dismantled by Arsenal on Wednesday, losing 3-1 at home after scoring in the third minute.
The Saints are lacking the killer instinct in front of net at the moment, scoring only three goals in that seven-match span. They’ll need to drastically improve if they’re going to keep up with a high-flying Aston Villa attack.
The Villains’ return from an almost three week pause due to COVID-19 has not gone according to plan. They’ve lost two of their last three matches, including a 3-2 loss to Burnley on Wednesday in which they blew two leads. However, Villa is eight points back of the top four with two games in hand, and a win away from home would provide a big boost.
For the Saints, regression was always coming offensively, as they’ve drastically outperformed in front of the net. Southampton is averaging 0.99 expected goals (xG) per match this season compared to their 1.37 goals per match average.
A lot of that has to do with the 4-4-2 formation they utilize, one of the more defensive setups in soccer. Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side likes to press high up the field and have morphed at times into a 4-2-2-2.
However, the high press may run into some trouble when they face Aston Villa. The reason being is if your formation presses high and morphs into a 4-2-2-2, then that is going to leave space out wide for the likes of Jack Grealish and Bertrand Traore who mainly love to cut inside from the wing. In fact, Aston Villa play the same 4-2-3-1 formation that Arsenal played against the Saints on Wednesday.
To make matters worse for the Saints, they’re going through a bit of an injury crisis on their back line with center back Jannik Vestergaard and right back Kyle Walker-Peters out for this match. Additionally, defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu is questionable, so Southampton is going to be shorthanded.
Despite being in the 10th, Aston Villa have one of the best attacks in the Premier League. The Villains are creating 1.80 xG per match from non-penalty situations, which is the second highest rate in the league to only Manchester City.
The reason for that is their do-everything playmaker Grealish, who has six goals and eight assists to his name. He also has the second-highest expected assists per 90 minute rate behind only Kevin De Bruyne.
One of the other reasons Aston Villa have improved from last season is their switch to a 4-2-3-1. The formation allows attacking players the space and time to be creative in the opponent’s half of the field, which is one of the main reasons Grealish is having the kind of season he is.
Villa’s defense has also improved under the new formation, as they are only allowing 1.27 xG per 90 minutes when playing out of it.
Betting Analysis & Picks
I think Aston Villa should be able to run rampant on Southampton’s 4-4-2 just like they did to Burnley’s on Wednesday, when they created 2.73 xG. Southampton’s inefficiencies in front of net have plagued them over the last few months and could be their downfall against Aston Villa’s improved defense.
Since I have Aston Villa projected at +119, I think there is value on the Villains at +140 to head back to Birmingham with all three points.
Pick: Aston Villa +140 (down to +135)