Manchester United vs Aston Villa | Friday 1st January 2021, 20:00 | Sky Sports
In theory this should be quite an easy pick given all the evidence available, but I found this a really tough betting heat.
The theory being that Manchester United look too short at 4/5 to win this game. Even if you ignore the underlying data, 4/5 on a team who have four more points than their opponents after 15 games (their opponent have also played one game fewer) looks too short.
Moreover, underlying data suggests that it is United’s position that is the fluke and not Villa’s, with the former in seventh in the expected points table and the latter in fourth.
In addition to this, you have Villa’s record against the more fancied clubs. To date this season, they have won at Leicester and Arsenal, drawn away to Chelsea and, of course, beaten Liverpool 7-2. With United continuing to fail in terms of performance levels, you are left to presume that they need to be opposed.
However, I have had my fingers burned one too many times opposing this side and perhaps it is just a case that they have a very good goalkeeper and excellent finishers. Moreover, they have been more impressive in recent times. I felt they merited a draw with Manchester City last month, deserved at least a point against Leicester and just about warranted a single goal victory against Wolves.
All things considered, I think it is worth swerving the match odds and looking for value elsewhere. I believe that lies in the second half seeing most goals, which is available at 21/20 with Betway.
Such a bet has landed in eight of Villa’s last 11 matches and while it has been less profitable in terms of United’s games – copping in just four of their last 11 – I do think that is a bit of an anomaly as United do tend to start matches slowly and generally rely on the counter attack late on in matches. Their pace up front will trouble Villa, but I don’t expect United to take the game to their opponents and wouldn’t be at all surprised if the first half was goalless.
Another bet I would look to is the price available on Olly Watkins to score. He is currently a best price of 11/4 to score anytime, but you may be able to get 7/2 on the exchange come kick off.
Watkins may only have six goals but his expected goals total is almost nine and he has also had a couple of very marginal offside calls costing him goals against West Ham and West Brom. The former Brentford player has managed a hat-trick against Liverpool and a double against Arsenal this term and if 7/2 is available at 7ish on Friday night, I shall be on it.
Manchester United vs Aston Villa – Second-Half to see the most goals (21/20 Betway)