Premier League Matchday One Best Bets
Nick Hennion of The Action Network shares two best bets for the opening weekend of English Premier League action.
Following a brief summer break, the English Premier League returns this weekend for its first Matchday of the 2022-23 campaign.
Crystal Palace and Arsenal will kick off the fresh season Friday at Selhurst Park, while pre-season title favorites Manchester City begin their campaign Sunday against West Ham United. In between, Saturday’s slate will see powerhouses Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea begin their seasons against Fulham, Southampton and Everton, respectively.
But where should bettors look for the opening weekend of action? Without further delay, here are the two markets I’m backing for the opening weekend. All odds come courtesy of BetMGM and are reflective at time of writing.
Best Bet #1 - Leeds United Moneyline (+130) vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
I’m low on Leeds for the season as a whole, but believe it’s worth backing at home against Wolves.
For all their flaws last season, Leeds demonstrated reliability at hone. In 19 home fixtures, it generated at least one expected goal in all but two fixtures -- Chelsea and Aston Villa -- and created 1.40 expected goals per 90 minutes, up from a season-long average of 1.24. Additionally, Leeds’s defense proved decent at home when playing against mid- to bottom-tier sides. In 10 home fixtures against sides 10-20 in the table, the Peacocks conceded only 1.25 expected goals per 90 minutes, down from a season-long average of 1.85, per fbref.com.
On the flip-side, Wolves proved one of the luckiest road sides in the entire league last year. Despite finishing the season with the fifth-worst road expected goal differential, Wolves had the seventh-best actual road goal differential. Plus, I don’t expect Wolves’s attack will keep up with Leeds -- last season, it generated only 0.96 xG/90 away from home while allowing 1.6 xG/90 minutes.
Additionally, Leeds dominated the head-to-head matchups between these sides last season. At Elland Road, it won the expected goals battle 1.99-1.03 while winning the big scoring chances battle 2-1, despite ultimately drawing 1-1. Then, at Molineux, Leeds used a second-half red card for Raul Jimenez to overcome a 2-0 deficit and win 3-2. In that match, Leeds won the expected goals battle 2.29-1.12 while dominating on big scoring chances 6-2, per fotmob.com.
Add in that Leeds won the expected goal battle in seven of 11 home fixtures against sides outside the top-seven, and I’ll back manager Jesse Marsch’s side at +125 or better on the three-way moneyline.
Best Bet #2 - Tottenham Hotspur Goal-Line (-1.5) vs. Southampton (-110)
Money has shown for Tottenham in their first fixture as it opened at +105 on the goal-line. However, I still think Spurs are worth backing at a worse price.
Although Spurs lost at home last season against Southampton, that was the only blemish on an otherwise impressive resume. In 14 home matches under Antonio Conte, Spurs posted a 10-3-1 (W-L-D) record and created at least 1.5 expected goals in all but one of those fixtures. Further, just in its 10 home fixtures against bottom-half sides, Spurs finished the season 9-1-0 (W-L-D) and had a +1.16 xGDiff per 90 minutes in those matches, per fbref.com.
As for Southampton, it has established itself as a horrific road defensive team. Last season, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side allowed the third-most road expected goals, finishing ahead of only Leeds United and Norwich City in that measure. Just in six road matches against the top-six, Southampton conceded 2.05 expected goals per 90 minutes, well up from a season-long road average of 1.84 xG/90. In the season prior, it also finished with the third-worst road defense in terms of expected goals and conceded 2.18 xG/90 against the Big Six.
Plus, prior to its home defeat last season, Tottenham won three straight against Southampton at its home ground. Furthermore, in those 10 home wins under Conte last season, Tottenham covered this spread in eight wins.
With Southampton losing a number of key attackers this summer, expect the Tottenham attack to dominate. I’ll back them on the goal-line up to -120.