Brighton vs. Tottenham: Back the underdog as one of two best bets

With the FA Cup semifinals taking place on Saturday and Sunday, the English Premier League features a smaller-than-usual six-game slate over the weekend. 

Two of the six matches stand out in terms of betting value:

Brighton (+500) vs. Tottenham Hotspur, 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday

No matter the sport, knowing when to sell high on in-form teams is a good skillset for bettors to develop. It is more art than science, trying to figure out when the market has finally reached a tipping point on a particular team, but oftentimes the numbers can help guide you to a pragmatic decision.

Tottenham Hotspur are on fire. With six wins from their last seven matches, Antonio Conte’s Spurs now look like the favorites to nab the final Champions League spot in the Premier League. 

Tottenham’s surface-level numbers during this 6-0-1 (Win-Draw-Loss) run sparkle. Spurs have scored 25 times and conceded just five goals. Tottenham have scored at least two goals in each of their last seven games and have netted four tallies four times in that span. It’s been a whirlwind two months for the North London outfit, so it’s no wonder Spurs now find themselves as -190 favorites over Brighton & Hove Albion.

While Tottenham’s run has been impressive and they deserve full marks for getting themselves into the pole position for fourth-place, they are running quite hot offensively. Over their last seven games Spurs have created 16.5 expected goals. That is still an impressive number, but it lags behind their actual output of 25 goals. At some point you’d expect Tottenham’s attack to sputter — if only a little bit — and open the door for a team to produce a surprising result.

Rodrigo Bentancur claps.
Rodrigo Bentancur celebrates after a Tottenham win.
Getty Images

Brighton & Hove Albion could be that team. Despite a horrendous run of form, the Seagulls still profile as one of the EPL’s most dangerous underdogs. Graham Potter’s club upset Arsenal at a similar price last weekend and has typically given the “Big Six” trouble over the last year. In addition to that win over the Gunners, Brighton has earned draws against Chelsea (twice), Liverpool and Arsenal this season.

It’s been an atypical stretch for Potter’s Seagulls. Just two matches removed from a six-match losing streak, Brighton has also struggled to control matches. Known as the xG kings last season, the Seagulls have conceded more expected goals than they’ve created in nine of their last 11 matches. 

Brighton is better than what it’s shown over the last few months and this is a good price to buy in on a turnaround from the Seagulls against a team that has some negative regression coming.

The Bet: Brighton +500 (down to +470)

Brentford (+150) vs. Watford, 10 a.m. ET on Saturday

While the market has probably become too fond of Tottenham, it seems like there is still opportunity to hop in on the Brentford Bandwagon.

With four wins in their last five matches, the Bees went from a relegation scrap to a potential top-10 finish in their first-ever Premier League season. And if you’ve been paying attention to Brentford’s predictive metrics, you could see this hot run coming. 

Over their last five matches, Brentford has four wins and a loss with a +8 goal differential. According to Understat, the Bees have generated 10.05 xG compared to 4.4 xG against. There’s nothing that screams “fluke!” about this current hot stretch and it’s also no coincidence that Brentford’s best run of form came directly after the club signed Christian Eriksen. The Great Dane has provided the Bees with the play-making prowess they’ve been missing in the middle of the field and his chemistry with star striker Ivan Toney has been superb. 

Brentford will now make the short trip from West London to Vicarage Road to take on relegation-favorites Watford. While the Bees are in terrific form, the Hornets have been a mess lately and seem all but doomed to be sent down to the Championship. 

This is a must-win match for Watford, but the Hornets don’t profile as the type of team that should thrive in this situation. Brentford is one of the best pressing teams in the Premier League and the Hornets don’t have the ball-movers to beat the lines. Roy Hodgson’s teams typically like to sit back and absorb pressure before countering, and that type of soccer is fine in a relegation battle when you’re trying to keep pace with the pack, but that isn’t Watford’s task right now. The Hornets need to swim up to the surface, not tread water.

There will come a time to sell high on this Brentford club, but this isn’t it. Getting +140 or better on the Bees against a club that has lost nine home matches on the spin seems good value, even if it ends up being a square play.

The Bet: Brentford +140 or better

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