Wolves vs Brighton Odds, Picks, Prediction | Premier League Preview
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Wolves vs Brighton Odds
|Over / Under|
-138 / +110
Wolves and Brighton meet at the Molineux for match week 2.
Wolveherampton came into the season with the lowest expectations before Julian Lopategui left his post less than a week before the season started. So, given all of that, their performance against Manchester United on Monday was quite surprising with how well they played. However, there are still clear flaws in this Wolves side that Brighton can expose.
The Seagulls were maybe the most impressive team in the first match week of the season. They dismantled Luton Town 4-1 and never really looked in much trouble. Brighton have high expectations after a sixth place finish last season and have become a legitimate top four candidate. If they are going to challenge for the top four they need to get all three points from matches like this.
Here is my Wolves vs Brighton preview and pick.
All credit goes to Wolves for their performance on Monday against Manchester United. They ended up winning the xG battle, outshot United 23-to-15 and should have had a penalty in stoppage time. However, a lot of those chances came in the second half and they will be facing a much better team in this matchup.
Here is the predicament Wolves are in. When you face Brighton you either have to try and press them high and set pressing traps to stop their build up play or you have to sit off stay compact and try to defend in a low block. Neither of those two things can Wolves do effectively. Last season they finished 13th in PPDA, but 15th in high turnovers and 12th in opponent build up completion percentage allowed. Brighton were the best team in the Premier League in Offensive PPDA, meaning they were the best team at playing through pressure.
Then you take a lot of key metrics from Wolves' ability to defend a low block last year. They were 13th in xG allowed, 16th in shots allowed, 16th in box entries allowed and 15th in final third to box entry conversion rate allowed, along with being very average defending set pieces. They also in the first match had to start Craig Dawson at center back, which isn’t great when you are trying to defend a top four offense.
Roberto De Zerbi has turned Brighton into an offensive force. Since he took over on October 1st last year, Brighton have averaged 2.04 xG per 90 minutes, which was the fourth-most in the Premier League during that time. They showed that in the first match against Luton Town, scoring four goals and creating 4 xG.
His style of play is uber-aggressive. De Zerbi demands Brighton play out of the back and when they do, they bait their opponent into pressing them high, creating space in the middle. It's usually a 4-2-4 build up structure with the two midfielders playing very deep and the four attackers pressing up very high, which creates a ton of space once they beat the first line of the press.
That allows Brighton to create a “transition” opportunity out of the build up phase and attacking opposing defenses when their first two lines have already been pushed too high. Brighton are top four in the Premier League in shots per 90 minutes, box entries, final third entries and progressive passes + dribbles. This is one of the best offenses in England and they're also a good defensive team, allowing 1.22 npxG per 90 minutes under De Zerbi.
Counter-pressing is the key for Brighton when they are out of possession. Wolves got behind Manchester United's first line of the press multiple times, but they also committed 18 high turnovers. United couldn't take advantage of any of them. Brighton finished last season with the best PPDA mark in the Premier League and also were top five in high turnovers.
Wolves vs Brighton
Pick & Prediction
I don’t know how Wolves stop Brighton. It will take Brighton being very poor with their finishing and Wolves being effective at winning the ball off the Seagulls high and going forward in transition opportunities.
De Zerbi and Gary O’Neill faced each other twice last year when O’Neill was at Bournemouth and Brighton created a combined 4.9 xG with over 30 shots combined between the two meetings.
I have Brighton projected at -173, so I like the value on them at -105.