After turning a profit again last gameweek, Infogol’s Jake Osgathorpe again selects his best bets from across the weekend’s Premier League action.
Infogol is a revolutionary football product which harnesses Opta data to power an expected goals (xG) model. Expected goals quantifies the quality of a scoring opportunity, allocating each shot a probability of finding the back of the net.
The xG metric can be used to assess teams and their performances, giving an insight into future prospects, making Infogol an excellent tool for betting.
Wolves vs West Brom
Wolves continue to fall well short of the standards they have set in the last few years, with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side languishing in 14th spot following a 2-1 home loss to Everton.
After back-to-back seventh placed finishes in the Premier League, Wolves are now seven points behind that position, and that is a fair representation of their performances this season.
While they were unfortunate to lose at Molineux on Tuesday (xG: WOL 1.15 – 0.44 EVE), they again struggled to carve out decent scoring opportunities, mustering just one non-penalty big chance (35%+) in the 90 minutes.
In fact, they have created just 15 such chances over their 18 league games this season, with their attacking process undoubtedly not helped by the absence of Raul Jimenez.
However, while they have been relatively blunt in attack this term, defensively they remain solid, especially at home, allowing just 1.00 expected goals against (xGA) per game at Molineux.
They welcome West Brom in a Black Country derby on Saturday, and the Baggies attacking numbers suggest that they will likely struggle to create opportunities in this match.
Sam Allardyce remains winless since taking over at the Hawthorns, losing three home league games by a 12-0 aggregate, and confidence will be low, especially after they were dumped out of the FA Cup last weekend at the hands of League One Blackpool, despite playing a strong side.
West Brom are the worst team in the Premier League this season, with their expected goals for (xGF) process of 0.69 being on pace to be the lowest we have witnessed over a season since Infogol started collecting data in 2014.
Allardyce’s side have also struggled defensively, allowing 2.15 xGA, meaning this is a decent spot for Wolves, despite their issues in attack.
Nuno’s side should prove too strong here and get the victory, though I don’t see this being a high scoring game, so coupling a home win with under 3.5 goals is a bet I like at the prices.
Selection – Wolves to win and Under 3.5 Goals @ 2.0
West Ham vs Burnley
West Ham put a four-match winless run behind them when beating Everton 1-0 on New Year’s Day, a deserved result that kept them in the top half of the table.
The victory at Goodison Park came on the back of an excellent defensive display (xG: EVE 0.46 – 1.53 WHU), and the way in which they kept Southampton at arms-length in the game prior was equally as impressive (xG: SOU 0.56 – 1.11 WHU).
Defensively they are very solid, but the Hammers have had issues in attack of late, averaging just 1.08 xGF per game over their last five league matches.
Burnley suffered only their third defeat in their last 10 games in midweek, as they were beaten by now-league leaders Manchester United, a 1-0 defeat that was a typically hard-fought encounter (xG: BUR 1.23 – 1.41 MUN).
It was only a deflected goal that separated the two sides at full time, with Burnley squandering two late chances to equalise (28%, 57%), but all in all they did a good job in keeping United quiet.
As mentioned, their recent form has been excellent, with the vintage stubborn defence we expect to see from Burnley coming to fore after a slow start.
They have conceded nine times in their last 10 games, with five of those coming at the Etihad, so Sean Dyche really has got his defence back to their best, meaning the Clarets are an extremely tough team to beat.
While they are continuing to struggle in attack, creating an average of 0.96 xGF per game this season, their defence is more than capable of keeping West Ham at bay.
With that in mind, the odds on quotes about the hosts seem too short here, with the model pricing the Hammers closer to 6/5, so getting Burnley on side is the value play here.
Burnley or the draw in the double chance market makes great appeal.
Selection – Burnley or Draw @ 2.0
Leicester vs Southampton
Leicester enjoyed a fruitful festive period, picking up eight points from a possible 12 despite playing against both Tottenham and Manchester United.
Both performances against two of the leagues better sides were impressive for differing reasons, and they then followed up with another good display at Crystal Palace, without getting the result they deserved (xG: CRY 0.41 – 1.93 LEI).
Their most recent league game saw them beat Newcastle, but according to expected goals it was their worst attacking performance since their gameweek four thumping at the hands of West Ham, with the Foxes mustering nine shots equating to just 0.60 xGF at St James’ Park.
Despite hitting the net 31 times so far this season, and boasting an xGF total of 27.5, it is worth bearing in mind that Brendan Rodgers’ side have hugely benefitted from being awarded an extraordinary amount of penalties.
They have seen 10 penalties given in their favour, and with every penalty having a conversion rate of 80% (hence an xG value of 0.8), that means that 30% of their xGF total this term has come from spot-kicks. That is the highest percentage in the league, and by some margin.
When isolating just non-penalty xGF process, Leicester are averaging just 1.14, with only eight teams performing worse in that metric. This is an average attacking team.
Southampton played out a low-scoring festive period, with their four games from the 19th of December onwards seeing just two goals combined.
They come into this on a huge high though following their 1-0 win over Liverpool in their last outing, as their FA Cup tie was postponed, but that was a game they were fortunate to win (xG: SOU 0.33 – 1.77 LIV).
Prior to that game, the Saints had been exceptionally strong defensively, allowing just 0.76 xGA per game in the five matches preceding the Liverpool win. However, that solidity has come at a cost, with Southampton only creating 0.97 xGF per game in that time.
Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side do play on fine margins, so it is rare that you see them win comfortably or get beaten convincingly, a trend that will continue over the remainder of the season.
Given the way this Southampton team are playing, and the issues Leicester are having in attack, the price available for under 2.5 goals is a value play, with the Infogol model making pricing the unders at odds on.
Selection – Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.1