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English Premier League: Our best bets for Saturday’s slate

The Action Network's Nick Hennion delivers his best bets for Saturday's English Premier League Action.

Tyler Adams of Leeds United during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road on August 6, 2022 in Leeds, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Tyler Adams of Leeds United during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road on August 6, 2022 in Leeds, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)Read moremarc atkins / Getty Images

The English Premier League’s second matchday has arrived and with it comes some marquee matchups.

Saturday’s slate features some high-profile teams going up against one another. Fresh off a victory against Crystal Palace, Arsenal will welcome Leicester City for its home opener. Elsewhere, 2021 champions Manchester City welcome newcomers Bournemouth, while their Mancunian neighbors Manchester United travel to Brentford looking for redemption.

What games and markets should bettors target on Saturday? Here are my pair of plays for Saturday’s slate. All odds come courtesy of BetMGM are reflective at time of writing.

Best Bet #1 - Aston Villa/Everton Under 2.5 Goals (-135)

Neither Villa nor Everton’s attacks impressed on Matchday One and I expect bettors could be in for another low-event game Saturday.

At Bournemouth, manager Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa generated only 0.66 expected goals and zero big scoring chances. The good news? Villa’s defense allowed only 0.59 expected goals and one big scoring chance. As for Everton, its defense conceded only 0.88 non-penalty expected goals against Chelsea and seemed perfectly content sitting back and absorbing Chelsea’s attack.

Given manager Frank Lampard will be out talisman Dominic Calvert-Lewin, I expect Everton will once again operate very defensively and try to catch Villa on the counter-attack. Add in that Everton managed only 19 penalty area touches at home — the seventh-worst mark on Matchday One — and I’ll be surprised if there’s much participation from the visitors goal-wise.

Then there’s Villa, whose attack left a lot to be desired based on further underlying metrics. Despite seeing 66% of the possession against Bournemouth, Villa posted only 18 shot-creating actions and 22 touches in the penalty area, per

If Everton once again chooses to sit in, I question whether Villa has enough creativity in the midfield to break down Everton’s blocks. Lastly, the two head-to-head meetings last season saw these clubs combine for no more than two expected goals with each match seeing at least one side create under one expected goal.

Although it’s a high price to lay, I’ll back this market (under 2.5 goals) up to -140.

» READ MORE: Global soccer odds, predictions: Our best bets outside the English Premier League

Best Bet #2 - Southampton/Leeds United Over 2.5 Goals (-140)

I expect a chaotic match between these two sides and even recommend shopping around for some alternate totals.

Last season, Southampton dominated the Leeds defense, generating four combined expected goals across both fixtures. In their home match, the Saints created 2.3 expected goals along with two big scoring chances. Additionally, the most recent meeting between these clubs — with current Leeds manager Jesse Marsch at the helm — was much more open. Although the match finished 1-1, it saw the clubs combine for 2.91 expected goals and four big scoring chances.

Further supporting the case for an over here is that Leeds have (at least historically) played horrific defensively away from home. Last season, it conceded the second-most road xG in the league. The season prior, the Peacocks allowed the most road xG in the English top-flight.

Plus, in road matches against bottom-half clubs last season, Leeds conceded 1.56 expected goals per 90 minutes and saw five of those nine fixtures clear this benchmark. At the same time, though, Leeds generated at least one expected goal in six of nine fixtures and was held goalless on only three occasions.

At full health, Leeds should be able to break down a Southampton defense that has kept it under one expected goal only once in the last four meetings.

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