The good news with our EPL side bets? We’re unbeaten in our last four selections.
The only slight caveat is that two of four have pushed, including Burnley last weekend in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace. That said, we cashed easily on the Liverpool spread against Arsenal to round out a 1-0-1 Matchday 12.
Starting this weekend, the real fun begins. Teams will play three matches in one week before an eventful month of December in order to reach the halfway point of the season by the end of the year.
So as everything kicks things off on Matchday 13, here are my two best side bets for the weekend. All odds come courtesy of PointsBet Sportsbook and are reflective at time of writing.
Best Bet #1 - Wolves Moneyline (+115) vs. Norwich City
Let’s agree to collectively not overreact to two straight wins for the Canaries, including their most recent under new manager Dean Smith.
Even though Norwich came out on top in consecutive 2-1 defeats, the metrics say they experienced a whole bunch of luck against Brentford and Southampton. They lost the expected goal battle on both occasions - by a combined 3.4-2.1 margin - and allowed sub-par numbers on shot-creating actions and attacking third touches, per fbref.com.
Furthermore, the Norwich attack has proved less-than-capable at successfully entering the opposition’s box. In their last three fixtures, the Canaries produced below-average attacking penalty area touches, again per fbref.com.
Against a Wolves defense that, so far this season, has proved to be a top defensive side - fourth in both shot- and goal-creating actions allowed per 90 minutes and third in non-penalty expected goals against - I expect the Canaries will struggle to break through offensively.
That means the key cog in this fixture will likely be the Wolves attack. If they’re able to get on the board once or twice against a lowly Norwich defense that ranks last in non-penalty expected goals against, things should go their way.
Setting aside their Matchday 11 road loss against Crystal Palace, who have conceded the second-fewest home xGA, Wolves are unbeaten in their last six matches (5W-1D). And in that set of fixtures, Wolves have registered no fewer than 0.95 expected goals, per infogol.net.
Additionally, in matches this season against teams ranking in the bottom-half of the npxG table, Wolves are a solid 4-1-2. However, they’re 6-0-1 in terms of expected goal victories in those same seven matches.
With that in mind, take a part of Wolves here and sell high on Norwich City.
Best Bet #2 - Two-Leg ML PARLAY: Arsenal & Liverpool (-117)
With Arsenal, you kind of have to throw out their metrics here and instead choose to focus on their brilliant home record against both Newcastle United and Eddie Howe.
In their last eight meetings with the Magpies at the Emirates, all Arsenal do is win. And it hasn’t even been close - the aggregate score of those previous eight fixtures is Arsenal 25, Newcastle 4.
Just in the last four meetings, it’s been Arsenal 10, Newcastle 0. On expected goals? Arsenal 7.5, Newcastle 1.6, per fbref.com.
Then there’s Eddie Howe, who has never done anything but lose in five career visits to the Emirates. All told, the former Bournemouth manager is 1-2-8 in his career against the Gunners.
The key in this match is who gets on the board first. Arsenal are unbeaten this season when scoring first (6W-1D) and have opened the scoring in 16 straight meetings with Newcastle.
When you add in that Newcastle have conceded the first goal in five of their first six road matches this season, I trust Arsenal will be able to hold a lead against a Newcastle side that ranks fourth-worst in road xG, per fbref.com.
Next are Liverpool, who have remained on pace with their metrics at home and have dominated Southampton historically. The Reds have won four straight at home against the Saints by a 12-0 aggregate margin (9.6-3.6 on expected goals, per fbref.com).
The match should be closer than those numbers, but with Liverpool able to rest some key players in the midweek, I expect a rested attack will take advantage of a Southampton defense that has allowed the fourth-most road expected goals against.
Finally, while it may be oversimplifying the match, the fact is Liverpool are averaging 2.5 xGF at home while ranking first in both shot- and goal-creating actions. Put that up against a Southampton defense that has been average at best in their underlying metrics and Liverpool should grab three points easily.
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