Welcome to Matchday 5 in the Premier League, soccer fans. It somehow took four weeks’ worth of games, but every Premier League side has now found the back of the net after Arsenal finally broke their scoreless drought against Norwich City. Speaking of Norwich City, they’re the only squad in the league who’ve yet to secure a single point, falling to four losses in four matches to begin the season. The top of the table is a bit more exciting, as eight teams are in a logjam and separated by just two points between first and eighth position.
We’ve got some exciting matches on tap this weekend, and after our first losing week all season (0-2-1, -1.75u), it’s time to bounce back with a few winners. Here’s who I like to cash in on Matchday 5.
Chelsea / Tottenham Under 2.5 (-125; 0.75u); Tottenham Team Total Under 0.5 (+125; 0.25u)
Get ready for another installment of the London Derby between two sides who really do not like each other. Chelsea and Tottenham are two of the most defensively-sound squads in the entire Premier League, and we’ve already cashed in on an under from each team this season, so why not go back to the well for another when they meet in Tottenham?
First, let’s take a look at some historical trends in previous editions of the London Derby. Over the last five meetings between these two teams, eight total goals have been scored (1.6 combined goals per game). Seven of those goals have been scored by Chelsea to just one for Spurs, who only scored in one of those five games. Not only are we getting strong value on the game total despite laying a little bit of juice, but we’re also getting even better value on Tottenham to be shut out again at plus money.
Edouard Mendy reached his 50th appearance for Chelsea across all competitions yesterday ✅
He's kept a clean sheet in 29 of those matches 🤯 Best keeper in the world rn? pic.twitter.com/Wh7mtvvjcp
— International Champions Cup (@IntChampionsCup) September 15, 2021
Focusing on this season, Chelsea has been great in front of Edouard Mendy, and Mendy himself has been a brick wall, leading the Premier League in saves. They’ve surrendered just a single goal all year, and it was on the road against offensive-juggernaut Liverpool… on a penalty after a questionable red card for a handball. They’ve allowed 4.8 expected goals per game, which equates to 1.2 per game and is obviously higher than we’d like to see when we’re betting on them to shut Tottenham out but consider that 2.7 of those expected goals came against Liverpool. Outside of that match, the Blue are allowing just 0.7 expected goals per game, and they’ll have a chance to continue their dominance against a Spurs side who just hasn’t figured it out offensively.
Tottenham has just three goals in four games, tied with Burnley, Watford, and Brentford for the second-fewest total in the league. They’ve also earned just 3.8 expected goals per game, fourth from the bottom in the league and only one-tenth of a goal ahead of Norwich City, who have lost all four games. According to my model, the Spurs are one of just five teams with an anticipated output per game below 1.0. It’s hard to imagine this team finding its footing against one of the best defensive teams in the league, despite it being a rivalry match at home.
To add, while Tottenham has been sub-par offensively, their defensive prowess has been on display in all four games. They’ve only allowed three goals to find the back of their net all year and seem to be very content clogging up the middle of the field and preventing chances. Chelsea also expects to have N’Golo Kante back in his usual midfield role, which certainly helps with the attacking portion of the game and brings an added layer of security on the defensive side.
I’m expecting a low-scoring affair here, as Chelsea has been far less lethal on the road – scoring just three of their nine goals away from Stamford Bridge. I would play the game total down to -130, and the Tottenham team total down to +115.
Brighton Hove & Albion Two-Way (-110)
I’m not going to touch the three-way line in this one; FiveThirtyEight marks this game as the second-most likely to end in a draw of the 10 matches this weekend. So we’ll put a full unit on the two-way line at -110.
Leicester City may be the more talented team on paper, but games aren’t played on paper. And this game, in particular, is being played at Falmer Stadium in Brighton. The Seagulls have had a surprisingly strong start to the year; they’ve won three of four matches for nine points and sit just one point behind a tie for first place. They haven’t been a goal-scoring powerhouse like many of the other teams at the top of the Premier League standings – they’ve done it by defending their own half, and I think that presents a nightmare matchup for a Leicester City team who’ve really struggled to generate any consistency on the attack. The mismatch will also be amplified in front of a rambunctious crowd supporting Brighton.
Here’s where Leicester ranks in all offensive metric categories out of 20 teams coming into this weekend’s match:
- Expected goals per game (0.9): 19th
- Shot-based expected goals per game (0.9): 18th
- Non-shot expected goals (0.7): 20th
- Anticipated output per game (0.89): 18th
Couple those metrics with Brighton’s three total goals allowed this year and 1.05 expected goals allowed per game, and we may be looking at a clean sheet for the Seagulls.
As mentioned prior, Brighton hasn’t been a scoring machine by any means this season – they’ve only scored five times and are averaging fewer than one expected goal per game, but Leicester’s spotty defending could be exactly what the Seagulls need to finally break through. The Foxes are allowing 2.03 expected goals per game, the fifth-highest in the Premier League despite allowing six actual goals on the year. They’re getting some lucky bounces in their own half, and I think some of that luck runs out on the road here. Leicester also plays Thursday in a Europa League match against Napoli, so there could be a fatigue factor as well.
I wouldn’t play this at a price any lower than the listed -110, but I also don’t anticipate this one moving very much, if at all.
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