BRIGHTON host Watford on Saturday evening. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) delivers his betting analysis.
Brighton v Watford | Saturday 8th February 2020, 17:30 | BT Sport
It’s a relegation six-pointer as Watford travel to Brighton, as the Hornets look to climb out of the bottom three. Nigel Pearson saw his side throw away a 2-0 lead and wilt to a 3-2 defeat after Theo Walcott scored a late winner for Everton. It’s the second league game where Watford have conceded a late goal to pick up no points.
It’s now 15 points lost from winning position for the Vicarage Road club and two in a row where they’ve chucked away leads. Mentally, that’s not something you want playing on your mind and not something as a punter you’d want to see before backing a side.
Brighton did the opposite last week. They came from 2-0 and 3-1 down to pick up a vital point against fellow strugglers West Ham. However, Graham Potter’s men haven’t won in six and will need to arrest the slide quickly if they want to avoid a return to the Championship.
Not much separates the sides on paper. Brighton are 9th and Watford 10th for Expected Goals (xG) with 34.93 and 33.26 respectively. At the other end, it’s not too dissimilar either. They are 14th and 15th in xGA with the Seagulls 38.67 and the Hornets 39.93, so on that, you’d say Brighton create better opportunities and defend slightly better – although Ben Foster (8) has kept more shutouts than Matt Ryan (5).
Hornets to standoff?
There could be a bit of a difference in approaches here, especially when you look at the two managers. Graham Potter has brought his philosophy with him and it’s worked, in parts. Pearson is more pragmatic. Troy Deeney will lead the line and offer some muscle, but they are more than likely to sit deep and allow Brighton plenty of the ball.
The hosts average 54.2% possession compared Watford’s 44.8% so that maps out how this should really pan out. With the visitors expected to sit in then the Brighton defenders are capable of racking up the passes.
Lewis Dunk is averaging 69.2 passes per game, while his centre back partner Adam Webster averages 66.7. Putting them together in a Coral Build Your Bet at 65+ for each only comes out at 8/11, which is skinny.
Keeping the attention on Dunk then there is something I’m interested in. He’s had at least one shot in 12 of Brighton’s last 14. He scored a free-kick against Liverpool and has taken the odd set-piece since. In total, it’s 19 shots in his last 14, which seems high for any central defender.
It’s 12/5 with Coral for him to test Ben Foster in the Watford goal, while he’s 5/1 to have a shot from outside the box. The latter is something he’s done in the Seagulls last two games. Plus, it copped for one of his two goals this season.
39% of Brighton’s shots this season have been from outside the area – that’s the joint-fourth highest, so if Watford do defend their box, then the shots outside the box market could be one to attack.
With Dan Burn injured, it’s been Bernardo who has come into the side. He’s completed 25 tackles in 543 minutes played. He had a busy afternoon against West Ham completing six of seven tackles. Looking at his stats, he’s completed at least two tackles in games where he’s played 45+ minutes.
The 24-year-old made six in 76 minutes away at Spurs, three at Everton, plus five up against Aston Villa, so he’s definitely one to have a look at in the tackles market. Ladbrokes have him at 5/6 to win 3+ tackles and 21/20 for 4+, which are angles to consider.
I’d also be willing to look at right-back Martin Montoya. Even though Graham Potter has switched between the Spaniard and Steven Alzate in this position, I believe he’ll stick with Montoya here given it’s Gerard Deulofeu on the left side of the three behind Troy Deeney.
Interestingly last weekend, Everton’s Djibril Sidibe racked up eight tackles against the Spaniard, so whoever does start at right-back for Brighton enters the mix, especially with Watford on the counter-attack.
Montoya has only completed 90 minutes in three of his last seven matches, but in that trio of games, he’s made three, five and four tackles respectively.
A bit of a difference in opinion here as Sky Bet go 3+ at 5/6, but Ladbrokes go 11/10, so a more attractive price with the latter. Put Montoya and Bernardo together in a tackles bet. The former is 16/21 for 2+ with Bernardo 6/9 for the same bar. It’s 19/20 they both make 2+ with Coral, which looks an excellent way in.
With the pair lining up against Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra, then the fact they are 5/1 (Montoya) and 11/2 (Bernardo) for a card with Bet365 does look tempting with the visitors likely to utilise their pace on the break.
In a game that could well be a draw, the player prop markets look the way to go from a tactical viewpoint with plenty of good stats.