EPL weekend betting preview: Hornets sting Saints, fly toward safety

Find line reports, best bets, and subscribe to push notifications in the Betting News section.

It wasn't quite a 6-1 finish on Matchday 31 like it was on Matchday 30, but we still took home a profit, and that's all you can really ask for.

With the FA Cup resuming this weekend, we have an abbreviated Premier League slate with just three games on offer. However, there's still plenty to like from a betting perspective.

Wolverhampton (-125) at Aston Villa (+350), Draw (+250)

Few sides have impressed more since the restart than Wolves, who have comfortably bested a pair of relegation-threatened opponents in West Ham and Bournemouth. Wolves struggled a bit in attack against the Cherries but were hardly troubled at the back and have now yet to concede through two matches as they chase a Champions League spot.

Villa have been competitive in all three of their matches following the hiatus, earning a pair of draws against Newcastle and Sheffield United while narrowly falling to Chelsea. Dean Smith's side netted a late equalizer at St. James' Park on Wednesday, which should act as a bit of a catalyst in the club's return to West Midlands.

The issue for both sides is that fatigue will be creeping in. Smith and Nuno Espirito Santo have each named virtually identical starting lineups for all of their matches thus far, and with such a short turnaround between fixtures, lethargy is sure to play a part here. As fatigue sets in, we can expect more of a cagey affair at Villa Park on Saturday, which plays right into the hands of the hosts as they look to slow the in-form visitors and earn a precious point in their fight for survival.

Pick: Draw (+250)

Southampton (+175) at Watford (+155), Draw (+230)

With things so congested near the bottom of the table, Watford will be sensing a real opportunity here to pull away from the cluster and provide themselves with a bit of breathing room. The Hornets were second-best in their defeat to Burnley on Thursday, but this is a far more negotiable match for them than against a Clarets side that can be quite frustrating to play against.

Southampton are far more porous in defense and will be without suspended center-back Jack Stephens, who has started each of the Saints' 21 league matches since that dreadful 9-0 defeat to Leicester. Stephens has become an integral part of Ralph Hasenhuttl's defense and represents a big loss. That will serve as a massive boost to a Watford side that really didn't look like scoring against the stingy Clarets.

Surely Stephens' name won't be the only omission from Hasenhuttl's team sheet, with the manager having named the same starting XI for each of the club's first two matches. Playing its third game in 10 days, Hasenhuttl will need to rotate his squad with fatigue likely creeping in.

That won't be as much of an issue for Watford after manager Nigel Pearson rested some key figures midweek, with Roberto Pereyra and Abdoulaye Doucoure sure to return. Their fresh legs in midfield will provide quite a jump in what is a crucial match for the Hornets, and that will mean better service for striker Troy Deeney. Watford have developed quite the fight under Pearson, and they will claw to the bitter end to claim a valuable three points and push themselves closer to safety.

Pick: Watford (+155)

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

EPL weekend betting preview: Hornets sting Saints, fly toward safety
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox