Watford vs. Aston Villa Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: Take the Favorite in Premier League Opener (Aug. 14)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images. Pictured: Emiliano Buendia.
- Watford return to the Premier League with a home matchup against Aston Villa on Saturday.
- Villa will be without former star Jack Grealish, whose move to Manchester City will force them to rebuild their attack.
- BJ Cunningham breaks his Aston Villa vs. Watford pick and preview below.
Watford vs. Aston Villa Odds
|Aston Villa Odds||+130|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+100 / -125)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 10 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Peacock Premium|
|Odds updated Friday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Watford return to the Premier League after promotion from the Championship to face Aston Villa to begin the season.
Watford achieved promotion after spending only one season in the Championship. They finished in the second automatic promotion spot, four points above fellow newcomer Brentford. The Hornets are one of the favorites to be relegated, so starting off with a positive result at home is very important moving forward.
Aston Villa has been really busy this summer coming off an 11th place finish last season. Longtime captain Jack Grealish made his move to Manchester City for a British record 100 pounds, but Aston Villa did great business, replacing him with Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen, Emiliano Buendia from Norwich and Danny Ings from Southampton. Dean Smith is hoping the replacements make up for the loss of one of the best players in the Premier League.
Watford Poised for Relegation Battle
I have Watford projected to be one of the three worst teams coming into season.
In the Championship last season the Hornets drastically over-performed, as they had an actual goal differential of +33, but their expected goal difference (xGDiff) was much lower at +20.8 as well.
On average since 2005, teams coming up from the Championship have allowed 54% more goals per match in the top flight than they did in the second division. Conversely, offenses see about 35% fewer goals scored per match in the Premier League than in the Championship.
So based on Watford’s xG record from the Championship of 1.48 expected goals for (xGF) and 1.02 expected goals against (xGA) per match, I have them projected to only average 0.97 xGF going forward while conceding 1.57 xG per match this season.
Watford also made no significant moves in the transfer market, with their average per player squad value is the lowest in the league, per transfermarkt.com.
Villa Begin Life After Grealish
Losing Grealish was obviously a huge blow for Aston Villa since he was pretty much everything when it came to creating chances for their offense.
That being said, Aston Villa used the money from the Grealish sale and brought in a ton of capable replacements who should be able to make up for his loss on the pitch.
Leon Bailey, who came over from German side Bayer Leverkusen, is a very similar player to Grealish from a creation standpoint. He recorded nine goals and dished out eight assists in the German top flight last season.
Even though the Villans finished in 11th place and their expected-goal differential of +3.47 didn’t end up being that impressive, they dominated the teams below them in the table. In 18 matches against the bottom-nine clubs, Aston Villa went 8-4-4 with a +12.38 xGDiff and averaged a sizzling 1.95 xG per contest.
A new-look Villa team should be able to break down Watford’s defense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I think life in the Premier League is going to be difficult for a squad like Watford and I don’t think they have the talent to hang with a side like Aston Villa.
Since I have Aston Villa projected at -108 on the road, I think there’s good value on them at +130 via DraftKings and would play it down to +107 odds.
Pick: Aston Villa +130