Premier League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Manchester United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (Sunday, April 4)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Danny Welbeck of Brighton & Hove Albion.
- Don't believe the Premier League standings, folks. Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion are closer than their positions in the league table would suggest.
- The Seagulls tend to bring their best form against top clubs, but have lacked quality finishing.
- Anthony Dabbundo details below why he likes Brighton to pick up at least a point at Old Trafford.
Manchester United vs. Brighton Odds
|Manchester United Odds||-150|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-103 /-122)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 2:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Brighton & Hove Albion visits Old Trafford on Sunday to take on Manchester United in the final Premier League game of the weekend.
The hosts have a firm grip on one of the league’s Champions League spots and could extend their lead over third-place Leicester City to four points. However, the table is lying about the strength of these two teams.
The Seagulls, who are sitting in 16th place in the standings, are underrated and their foes are overrated in my opinion. With that in mind, I believe Brighton should be able to stay in this match and get at least a point.
The Red Devils continue to get results and stay well ahead of the top-four bubble despite pretty unimpressive underlying metrics.
Manchester United isn’t great at any one thing, but it’s pretty good at everything. Its defense has rectified its early-season struggles, improving so much that it’s seventh in expected-goal against out of 20 teams. The Red Devils’ attack has run really hot in finishing, which has it second in league goals despite being fourth in xG so far.
Manchester United is fourth in progressive carries; fifth in progressive passes; and, fifth in shots per match. There’s nothing really exciting in the underlying numbers about the club, but it has been unsustainably good at winning games by one goal.
The Red Devils are also getting healthy for this game, with Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani expected back from injury. Yet, even with both of them returning to the pitch, Manchester United has been very inconsistent at generating attacks against the league’s top defenses.
Brighton, Chelsea, Wolves, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur and have kept the Red Devils off the scoresheet by keeping them out of transition which is where they’re most effective in space.
Brighton is the darling of the analytics and expected-goals community. It seems that every one of its games springs an existential debate on social media about if the club is actually just bad at finishing or if the numbers will regress.
Personally, I’m a believer in the latter and that the Seagulls have been historically unlucky at scoring goals and unfortunate that their opponents are finishing at a much higher clip against them than they should.
The Seagulls have scored five goals from 3.1 xG in their last two games, resulting in two wins to move them out of the relegation picture. Pure xG numbers suggest Brighton is better per 90 minutes than Manchester United.
The Red Devils are at +0.39/90, per FBRef.com, while Brighton is +0.42/90 minutes. It’s not an exact measure of a team’s ability, but it shows how hot the Red Devils have run and how cold the Seagulls have been.
However, manager Graham Potter has consistently set Brighton up well to play out of possession against the big teams. If the Seagulls have a weakness, it’s direct counterattacks up the middle that expose their average transition defense and create one or two high-quality chances.
Manchester United won’t get many of these chances, though. Brighton beat Liverpool and Spurs, plus it outplayed Manchester United and Chelsea when it comes to expected goals.
The Seagulls played even with Leicester City, and was able to stifle Arsenal for large sections of their 1-0 loss to the Gunners. Against the bigger teams, Brighton’s been better stylistically than it’s fared against lower-half teams.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Manchester United is overvalued in this spot following the international break. I make the Seagulls at +100 odds to get at least a point in this match away from home.
Given the number and its success against other top teams in the league this season, I’ll take Brighton getting +0.5 goals at solid +115 odds as my top pick.
Pick: Brighton +0.5 (+115)