Manchester United vs. Brighton Odds
|Manchester United Odds||-150|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-103 /-122)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 2:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Brighton visits Old Trafford on Sunday to take on Manchester United in the final game of the weekend. The hosts are comfortably in the Champions League places and could extend their lead over third-place Leicester City to four points. However, the table is lying about the strength of these two teams. Brighton is underrated in 16th place and Manchester United is overrated in second place. The Seagulls should be able to stay in this match and get a point.
Manchester United continue to get results and stay well ahead of the top-four bubble despite pretty unimpressive underlying metrics. United isn’t great at any one thing, but they’re pretty good at everything. Their defense has improved from early-season struggles and is seventh in xGA. Their attack has run really hot in finishing and is second in goals in the league despite being fourth in xG. They’re fourth in progressive carries, fifth in progressive passes and fifth in shots per match. There’s nothing really exciting in the underlying numbers about United, but they’ve been unsustainably good at winning games by one goal.
United is getting healthy for this game as Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani are expected back from injury. But even with both of them back, United has been very inconsistent at generating attacks against the top defenses in the PL. Chelsea, Wolves, Manchester City, Spurs and Brighton have kept the Red Devils off the scoresheet by keeping them out of transition where they are most effective in space.
Brighton are the darlings of the analytics and expected goals community. It seems that every one of their games springs an existential debate on social media about if Brighton are actually just bad at finishing or if the numbers will regress. I’m personally a believer in the latter and that Brighton have been historically unlucky at finishing and unfortunate that opponents are finishing at a much higher clip against them than they should.
The Seagulls have scored five goals from 3.1 xG in their last two games and it has resulted in two wins to move them out of the relegation picture. Pure expected goals numbers suggest that Brighton is actually better per 90 minutes than Manchester United. The Red Devils are at +0.39 per 90 per FBRef.com, while Brighton is +0.42 per 90. It’s not an exact measure of a team’s ability, but it shows how hot Manchester United has run and how cold the Seagulls have run.
But manager Graham Potter has consistently set them up well to play out of possession against the big teams. If the Seagulls have a weakness, it is direct counter attacks up the middle that expose their average transition defense and create one or two high-quality chances. United won’t get many of these chances. Brighton beat Liverpool and Tottenham, outplayed Man United and Chelsea on xG. The Seagulls played even with Leicester City and were able to stifle Arsenal for large sections of their 1-0 loss to the Gunners. Against the bigger teams, Brighton’s been better stylistically than they’ve fared against lower-half teams.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Manchester United is overvalued in this spot off the international break. I make the Seagulls +100 to get at least a point in this match away from home. Given the number and their success against other top teams in the league this season, I’ll take Brighton to grab at least a point in this match.
Pick: Brighton +0.5 (+115)
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