English Premier League: 2 best bets for Sunday’s action
Nick Hennion of The Action Network breaks down his best bets for Sunday's English Premier League slate.
With Saturday’s Premier League slate done and dusted, we can now turn our attention to the Sunday action.
Only two matches fill out the Sunday slate before a 10th and final fixture on Monday, but both promise to give bettors ample betting opportunities. The first match on the card, Nottingham Forest vs. West Ham United, will serve as an appetizer for the marquee match of the weekend: Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.
How should bettors approach these games? Here is my best bet for each match. All odds come courtesy of BetMGM and are reflective at time of writing.
Best Bet #1 - Nottingham Forest/West Ham United Both Teams to Score - “Yes” (-130)
If there’s one unit I believe showed its true self on Matchday One, it’s the Nottingham Forest defense.
A majority of their summer signings focused on their attacking efforts, but their defense looked horrendous against Newcastle United. Granted, it was playing away from home, but manager Steve Cooper’s side surrendered 1.74 expected goals and two big scoring chances to the Magpies, per fotmob.com.
It also saw very little of the ball, allowing Newcastle to have 61 percent possession and 59 touches in their penalty area, per fbref.com.
Although West Ham’s attack looked miserable last week, that’s somewhat expected when you’re playing against Manchester City. Against a far inferior defense, I expect you’ll see the West Ham attack dominate the midfield and generate scoring chances.
That said, the West Ham defense still leaves a lot to be desired. It will likely play either Michael Johnson or Craig Dawson as an emergency centre-back given Angelo Ogbonna is hurt and Issa Diop was just sold to Fulham. Assuming it’s Dawson, the drop-off from Ogbonna cannot be exaggerated enough. Last season, the Hammers had a +0.86 xGDiff per 90 minutes with the former playing and a -0.32 xGDiff per 90 with the latter.
With Forest playing its first home Premier League game for the first time in forever, expect a favorable crowd to propel them to at least one goal against a sub-par defense.
Best Bet #2 - Chelsea/Tottenham Under 2.5 Goals (-115)
Historically, this head-to-head fixture has proven very defensive and I expect that trend will continue Sunday.
These sides met four times last season in all competitions and three of those fixtures stayed under 2.5 goals. In their two Premier League fixtures, both sides combined for five total goals on only 3.9 expected. At Stamford Bridge, it was a 2-0 Chelsea victory that saw only 1.3 combined expected goals.
Last week, both offenses failed to live up to their hype. Tottenham, despite scoring four goals, only generated 1.5 expected goals against a horrible Southampton defense. Chelsea, on the road against Everton, created only 0.8 non-penalty expected goals. At the same time, though, both defenses played pretty well and held their respective opponents under one expected goal.
Plus, Chelsea’s defense tends to play well at home against the league’s best. In five matches against fellow Big Six opposition last season, manager Thomas Tuchel’s side held four opponents under 1.5 expected goals and three sides under one expected goal.
However, Chelsea’s offense usually disappoints in those matches, too. Save for a 2.9 xG performance against Manchester United, the Blues created under 1.5 expected goals in all of the remaining four matches and under one xG in three, per fbref.com.
Based on those trends, I’ll back this market up to -125.
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