EPL Matchweek 2 best bets: Expect a tight affair at Stamford Bridge
The opening weekend of Premier League play was very good to us. While Crystal Palace was unable to grind out a draw against Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea took care of business to give us a 2-1 record.
We'll look to build on that with three more plays for the matchweek ahead.
Everton (+340) @ Aston Villa (-120)
Aug 13, 7:30 a.m. EST
This game features two sides coming off lifeless performances. Aston Villa won the shot-attempt battle 15-7 over Bournemouth, but don't let that fool you; they created next to nothing. It was a quantity over quality approach.
Villa generated only 0.49 expected goals, the fourth-lowest total across the EPL on opening weekend. On the road or not, that is putrid against a side that was just promoted.
Everton had a similarly disappointing showing as they took on a much, much, better club in Chelsea. Even so, generating only eight shot attempts and 0.54 expected goals in a home opener is nearly inexcusable.
Everton doesn't have much dynamic ability, or finishing, in their lineup, so they will be trying to play a tight, low-event road fixture.
I think Villa is going to control possession but will really have to work for their openings in what should be a low-scoring affair.
Bet: Under 2.5 (-125)
Fulham (+205) @ Wolverhampton Wanderers (+135)
Aug 13, 10:00 a.m. EST
Make no mistake, though: The Cottagers were the lesser side in aggregate, generating 1.27 xG but conceding 2.34. That is a lot to give up on home soil. West Ham was the only team in the EPL to concede more, and they played the Premier League favorites, Manchester City.
Based on xG, you would expect Fulham to claim about 0.60 points from their performance. For perspective, Wolverhampton went into Leeds and put forth an effort worth 1.53 expected points, nearly triple.
Obviously, there are limitations to that analysis, and score effects play a part, but the Wolves put together a pretty good performance on the road. Hosting a Fulham team susceptible to defensive lapses, they should be able to claim three points.
Bet: Wolverhampton (+135)
Tottenham Hotspur (+210) @ Chelsea (+130)
Aug 14, 11:30 a.m. EST
These clubs have been on nearly identical trajectories since the calendar flipped. From Jan. 1 through the end of last season, Tottenham accumulated an average of 1.85 expected points per game.
Over the same period, Chelsea amassed 1.87 expected points per game. They did it in different ways - the Spurs generated more chances while the Blues did a better job of preventing them - but the end outputs were eerily similar.
That carried forward into the opening weekend of this campaign. Tottenham dominated Southampton, besting their xG output by 1.23 en route to a 4-1 victory at home.
Meanwhile, Chelsea traveled to Everton and picked up a 1-0 victory. Although the scoreline wasn't as convincing, their xG differential of 1.38 was slightly better than what Tottenham mustered up.
The Spurs have a more dynamic attack with natural finishers, while Chelsea appears to be the better bet to control play and keep things tight on the backline.
I don't see much separating these two teams, and there's plenty of value in backing the final score to reflect that.
Bet: Draw (+230)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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