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Another huge slate of European soccer action is upon us and I’m here to share two best bets for the Premier League slate.
While a lot of eyeballs will be trained on the FA Cup semifinals at Wembley Stadium featuring Manchester City-Liverpool and Chelsea-Crystal Palace, soccer bettors still get six games to choose from in the English top flight.
For my pair of plays, I”m looking beyond the sides, though, and choosing to focus on two totals, both overs. That said, let’s dive into my two best bets for this weekend’s Premier League slate.
Best Bet #1 – Southampton/Arsenal FC Over 2.5 Goals (-125)
Southampton were embarrassed 6-0 at home in its last fixture against Chelsea and only generated 0.5 expected goals in that match.
However, its home goal-scoring record before that match was solid and I believe its attack will rediscover that form against Arsenal Saturday. Prior to the Chelsea meeting, the Saints created at least one expected goal in six straight fixtures and eight of the last nine. The only fixture in which it failed to do so came in a match where Southampton played down a man an entire half.
Plus, Southampton could see slight positive offensive regression based on its home performances. Through 16 fixtures at the St. Mary’s Stadium, manager Ralph Hassenhutl’s side has scored 20 goals on almost 21.5 expected, per fbref.com.
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That said, Southampton’s defense has struggled of late. In its last five Premier League fixtures, it has conceded two expected goals per 90 minutes and has only held one side under one expected goal. Opponents Arsenal arrive at this fixture in great offensive form — 1.65 xG/90 minutes in its last nine fixtures — and have a solid historical record against Southampton — at least 1.5 xG in two straight and six of the last seven head-to-head Premier League meetings.
But this is also an Arsenal defense that struggles to defend against pressure away from home. In five road fixtures against top-half pressure sides not named Manchester City and Liverpool, manager Mikel Arteta’s squad is conceding 1.3 expected goals per 90 minutes and have kept only two clean sheets, one of which was undeserved.
As a result, expect a high-scoring contest between these sides on Saturday.
Best Bet #2 – Newcastle United/Leicester City Both Teams to Score “Yes” (-140)
I recognize this is quite a bit of juice to lay, but I’m shocked this price isn’t north of -160.
Both sides enter this fixture with a BTTS percentage of 60 percent or better for the season and are both north of 67 percent for their respective venues for this fixture (Leicester City has a 79 percent BTTS percentage away from home this season).
Although Newcastle has kept clean sheets in two of its last three home fixtures, it has been a while since it faced a top offense on home soil. And in seven fixtures against top-half offenses this season, Newcastle has yet to keep a clean sheet and has allowed 2.27 xG/90 in those fixtures.
At the same time, though, Leicester’s defense has not held up well against bottom-half sides, particularly away from home. In seven road fixtures against such opposition this season, the Foxes have allowed at least one xGA in all seven and have conceded at least one goal in six, per fbref.com.
Given only two sides — Manchester City and Chelsea — have held Newcastle goalless at home this season, expect manager Eddie Howe’s side to get on the board quite easily. Add in that Leicester City has only been held under 1.0 xG in two of its last nine fixtures and I expect we’ll see goals at both ends of the pitch come Sunday.