Everton vs. Aston Villa Odds
|Aston Villa Odds||+275|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-117 / -107)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 3 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Peacock Premium|
|Odds updated Friday afternoon via DraftKings.|
Because Everton is behind in the points column, most have left the club out of the top-four race conversation in England. However, the Toffees have a game in hand and a win against Aston Villa on Saturday could go a long way toward a return to Europe through the Champions League or Europa League.
Standing in Everton’s way is Aston Villa: A team that has endured injuries to important attacking players and has fallen off from its hot start. Aston Villa sits in 11th entering its match vs. Everton. Nonetheless, it could still realistically move into the top half of the league standings by leapfrogging Arsenal and Leeds.
Everton’s win against Arsenal was important for its European chances. Moreover, that victory was really a microcosm of its season in many ways. Everton played about even with the Gunners as neither side created any clear-cut scoring opportunities. The Toffees benefitted from a goalkeeping error and won the game 1-0.
After the Toffees’ excellent start to the Premier League season with four wins in as many games, Everton’s squad depth has been tested — and the club has mostly failed that test. Everton’s season-long xG numbers are underwater at -3.1, while its actual goal difference is +4.
The Toffees have won just one of six league games — that lone win coming against Arsenal — and the team’s performances have been deserving of much more. Crystal Palace stands out as the only team that Everton really handled well in recent weeks. That is particularly telling, because Crystal Palace has been the worst team in the league during the last two months.
Otherwise, the Toffees have delivered plenty of mediocrity. Everton has completed the seventh-fewest passes in the opponents’ penalty area; it has allowed the 10th-most. Its opponent on Saturday, Aston Villa, is better in both metrics. Since Jan. 19, the Toffees rank 10th in non-penalty xG difference per 90; Aston Villa ranks 12th.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Aston Villa’s campaign for Europe came to a screeching halt with the injury and setback from star attacking midfielder Jack Grealish. The Villans have been fine without him — a good mid-table side — but haven’t been consistent enough to turn draws into wins and vault into the top seven. Their xG numbers suggest that they’re roughly the ninth-best team in the league. My power ratings have them 10th, one spot ahead of Everton.
Grealish will not play in this game, and that is a significant loss. Aston Villa’s attack has been far less consistent without Grealish on the pitch. He was the focal point of Villa’s ball progression and counterattacking style.
Despite his loss, Aston Villa does have several young attacking options that can contribute to the attack. Ollie Watkins has produced 12 goals and 0.42 xG per 90 in his first Premier League campaign. Anwar El Ghazi is posting 0.47 xG per 90 as a wide forward — sometimes on penalty duties.
A major reason for Villa’s defensive improvement has been goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who has been the league’s best shot-stopper by post-shot xG numbers. Martinez has saved more expected goals than any keeper in the Premier League and has a significant edge over Jordan Pickford: Martinez’s opposition in the Everton net.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Everton is 11th in xG difference per 90 and 11th-best in my ratings. FiveThirtyEight’s soccer ratings agree with me that Aston Villa is a marginally better team at both ends of the pitch.
This number doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, as I project Aston Villa as a very slight road underdog at +185.
In the last two months, Everton has played even with West Brom, Burnley and Arsenal. The Toffees have had a couple good performances sprinkled in, but they have not been consistent enough to warrant this price — even at home.
Furthermore, even if you weight recent form more heavily, the Toffees’ league position in the table flatters for them. As a result, there’s value in betting against them.
Everton is simply not that good. At this price, I love Villa’s chances to get at least a point, and I will take a flier on Villa to grab all three points.
Picks: Aston Villa +0.5 (-150 or better) and Aston Villa moneyline +230 or better
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