Aston Villa vs. Fulham Odds
|Aston Villa Odds||+125|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+115 / -155)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday afternoon via BetMGM.|
The international break couldn’t have come at a better time forAston Villa, who were reeling headed into it with four consecutive winless games.
Villa will have star midfielder and top chance creator Jack Grealish back in the starting XI for this matchup with Fulham at Villa Park. Fulham are in 18th and in desperate need for points, two behind Newcastle in the race for Premier League survival.
Regression has finally come for Aston Villa, as the injury to Grealish and eventual decline defensively has led to their tumble to 10th place and 10th in expected goals. The Villans were as high as sixth in my power ratings but have been downgraded significantly, especially after the 2-0 beatdown they took at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur just before the international break.
Villa will have Grealish back in the lineup following the break, and he is vital to the transition attack and the best player in the EPL at carrying the ball into the penalty area.
Villa are +0.64 xG per 90 better when Grealish is on the pitch compared to when he’s off it. Even despite multiple games due to injury, Grealish leads the Premier League in progressive carries and progressive carries into the penalty area.
On the other end of the pitch, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has been the league’s best this season and has outperformed his post-shot expected goals numbers more than any keeper.
Villa’s defense has settled in as about the 10th best in the league, but when their attack is firing, they’re much better than the 10th they currently sit in expected goals numbers. Throw Grealish back in the mix, and Villa’s chance creation will be enough to win the game.
Fulham have been flying under the radar in recent weeks because their league position doesn’t match how good their performances have been. My numbers rank them 15th in the Premier League, clearly above the real bottom five of West Brom, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Newcastle. There’s a jump up to Fulham after that because their defensive numbers are much better than the consensus is.
The Cottagers tried to play a possession-based, slow-paced buildup in attack early in the season, but they were far too open, made too many mistakes on the ball and were leaking goals at the back.
Fulham have a few young, rangy midfielders in Mario Lemina and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who are excellent at tackles and interceptions. It’s improved their defense and made them more difficult to play through. But that’s not how Villa will look to attack the Cottagers.
Fulham will probably have a good amount of the ball in this game, but Villa’s ability to counter through Grealish will be difficult for Fulham to handle.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Fulham are battling relegation and in desperate need of points, but it’s too early for the bump that comes from that urgency to take effect.
These clubs are trending in different directions, and this is a good buy low spot on Villa, whose recent poor form is driving down the money line here. Thus, I show value on them to get all three points back to full strength with Matty Cash and Grealish returning to the side.
I project Villa at -105 here to win and will take them at +110 or better.
Pick: Aston Villa +125 (play down to +110)
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