Southampton vs. Wolves Odds, Pick | Premier League Match Prediction (Sat, Feb. 11)
Gareth Copley/Getty. Pictured: Nick Pope.
Southampton vs. Wolves Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+132 / -166)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-106 / -118)|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest soccer odds here.|
Southampton and Wolves came into the season as two teams that could easily get pulled down into the relegation scrap if the season started poorly for them. It’s happened for both and the result is a true relegation six-pointer on the English south coast this Saturday.
Both teams are on their second manager of the season, but neither team has been quite as bad as their position in the table would suggest. The difference is that one team — Wolves — have seen a bounce from the new manager hiring. On the other end, Southampton continue to flounder at the bottom of the table.
Southampton have lost 4-of-5 in the league since returning from the World Cup break, lost in the EFL Cup semifinal and questions are swirling about whether Nathan Jones is the right man to try to fight off relegation.
The market has moved solidly toward Wolves since their 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool last week. In my view, it’s moved too far and Saturday is a time to buy in again on the Saints at home.
Southampton Struggling But Can Utilize Matchup Edges
The firing of Ralph Hassenhüttl and hiring of Nathan Jones has not improved Southampton this season. In the 1,260 minutes Southampton played under Hassenhüttl at even strength (penalties excluded), the Saints were the 16th-best team with a -0.46 xG difference per 90.
If you combine those xG numbers with the worst goalkeeping in the league and add in some other bad variance, you get a team that was in the relegation places.
Hiring Jones has arguably made them worse. Other teams have played worse since then, but Saints are at a -0.63 xG difference per 90. The team is massively underperforming at both ends of the pitch too. Saints are in a pod of six teams in the Premier League that are playing at a clear relegation level (by xGD per 90) since Nov. 10, with one of those teams also Wolves.
Southampton have some major weaknesses, but they also have some key advantages in this specific matchup. One of the biggest issues is that the Saints will get carved open for big scoring chances when they do concede chances. Wolves have created the fewest big scoring chances in the PL.
Saints also have the worst set piece defense in the league — based on xGA per set piece allowed. Wolves have only scored three goals from set pieces all season — second-fewest in the league.
The reports out of Southampton are that the players are questioning whether or not the manager has the right ideas and plan to improve them. The team has been bad and unlucky, but it’s hard to imagine the goalkeeper play won’t improve. Gavin Bazunu has the worst post-shot xG difference numbers in goal.
He’s been more than twice as bad as every other goalie in the PL. It’s probably not going to last.
Wolves Finding Some Results Out of Nothing
Only five teams in the league have conceded more xGA from open play than Wolves in the Premier League this season. Firing Bruno Lage has certainly improved their results, but the underlying process that goes into those results isn’t really any better under Julen Lopetegui.
Until Wolves’ win against Liverpool on Saturday, Wolves hadn’t won the xG battle in a Premier League match since Oct. 23 against Leicester City. Wolverhampton lost Hwang-hee Chan to injury last week too and will still be without Pedro Neto in this match on Saturday.
Wolves have the second-longest average shot distance in the entire Premier League, with their average shot attempt coming from 18.3 yards away. It’s true that there’s likely positive regression coming when you have the lowest goals per shot and goals per shot on goal in the league. But the same could be said for Southampton at the other end of the pitch.
Southampton are averaging 0.43 goals per shot on goal, which is by far the worst in the Premier League. No team in the league is higher than 0.36.
Southampton vs. Wolves Pick
Wolves have been really poor at both ends of the pitch on set pieces too, which is a major key when facing off against Southampton and James Ward-Prowse.
With a total sitting at 2.25 and neither side wanting to take a ton of chances to lose this match, one moment of set piece magic could easily swing the game. In a matchup like this, having someone like Ward-Prowse carries an outsized influence on determining a winner.
Wolves are marginally better in my power ratings based on preseason data and season-long data at this point. But the gap is not nearly large enough to make Wolves a road favorite in this matchup. The market overreacted to a Wolves win against Liverpool that said more about the Reds than it did about Wolves.
I’d bet Southampton on the draw no bet line at -110 or better and hope the Saints have better goalkeeper performances going forward.
Pick: Southampton – Draw No Bet (-110 or better)
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