EPL Betting Picks for Matchweek 26: Arsenal-Newcastle Should Be a High-Scoring Match

Zack Bussiere
Zack Bussiere@ZackBussiere
EPL Betting Picks for Matchweek 26: Arsenal-Newcastle Should Be a High-Scoring Match

With 25 matches in the books for every team but Bournemouth, we are essentially into the final third of the season. In the coming months, the EPL title, Champions League spots, and relegation will all be decided!

Today, we will be looking at Matchweek 26, which runs from Saturday to Monday, features eight matches, and is highlighted by a clash between Arsenal and Newcastle.

When looking at the EPL soccer odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, which bets make the most sense for this matchweek?

EPL Betting: Matchweek 26

Newcastle at Arsenal (3 p.m. ET Saturday)

Over 3.5 Goals (+126)

Arsenal enters this weekend coming off a disappointing 1-0 loss to Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday. In that game, they generated just 0.5 expected goals (xG) -- per FBref -- their lowest total since their 1-0 win over Manchester City in October.

Arsenal’s strength this season has been their defense, which has allowed the fewest xG/90 (0.72) in the league, but their offense has also been solid as they rank second in xG/90 created (2.01). Before their loss to Porto, the Gunners had averaged an astounding 4.2 goals per match from 2.78 xG per match over their last five EPL fixtures. They have scored at least two goals in 10 of their 12 home fixtures this season.

Facing a Newcastle side that has allowed multiple goals in six of its last seven EPL matches, the Gunners have a great chance to bounce back this weekend. During those seven fixtures, the Toons have allowed 2.7 goals per match from 3.0 xG per match. They have allowed the sixth-most away goals this season (25), with just one clean sheet in 12 road fixtures.

This match combining for more than 3.5 goals will likely depend on Newcastle’s ability to get past Arsenal’s excellent defense. Arsenal has three clean sheets in their last five EPL matches and is on an extremely impressive run -- allowing just 0.34 xG per match during that span.

This will be a difficult task for Newcastle, but they enter this fixture in excellent goal-scoring form. They have netted multiple goals in each of their last six EPL fixtures, which includes matches against Liverpool, Manchester City, and Aston Villa. Over 3.5 goals have been scored in each of Newcastle’s last seven matches.

Over 3.5 goals have also been scored in four of Arsenal’s last five fixtures -- including all three of the matches they kept a clean sheet in. In the reverse fixture back in early November, Newcastle earned a 1-0 victory. With Arsenal at home in this one, I expect a better performance from the Gunners, especially coming off a loss, and the recent results for both sides provide multiple paths to the over hitting on Saturday.

Brentford at West Ham (3:00 p.m. ET Monday)

Brentford Moneyline (+175)

West Ham’s poor underlying metrics have finally caught up with them. After overperforming their xG numbers for the first half of the season, West Ham has now lost three in a row and are winless in their last six. They have failed to score a goal in three consecutive matches and have generated fewer than 0.8 xG in three of their last six. They still sit in ninth on the league table, but their xG differential/90 (-0.51) ranks 17th.

Playing at home hasn’t helped the Hammers much at all. In 12 home fixtures, they have an xG differential of -7.0, second-worst in the EPL, and an actual goal difference of +1, which checks in 10th. Even while drastically overperforming their underlying metrics for much of the campaign, they are midtable side at home. Their current winless run did include losses to Arsenal and Manchester United, but it also included a defeat to Nottingham Forest and draws against Sheffield United and Bournemouth. West Ham has struggled against all levels of opposition.

At first glance, Brentford appears to be on an equally poor run of form. The Bees have four losses in their last five fixtures, but their results can be attributed to an extremely difficult schedule. Their losses came from matches against Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester City (twice). Since Ivan Toney’s return on January 20th, Brentford has won both of its matches against non-big-six opponents by a combined scoreline of 5-2.

Brentford’s underlying metrics have also been excellent on the road. Their xG differential/90 away from home this season (+0.08) ranks third-best, behind only Arsenal's (+1.00) and Manchester City's (+1.19). Only four teams have a positive xG differential/90 both on the road and at home -- Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, and Brentford. Brentford’s performance is even more impressive considering their away schedule has included games against 7 of the current top 10 on the league table.

The Bees' xG metrics indicate that Brentford has been a better side than West Ham this season -- especially since the return of Ivan Toney. I like backing the Bees as slight road underdogs against a West Ham side that has been one the worst home squads in the league

Player Props

Rasmus Hojlund to Score (+135): Hojlund has been a huge part of United’s current unbeaten run, a span during which they’ve scored multiple goals in five consecutive EPL fixtures. Hojlund has scored in each of his last six matches and could extend that to seven versus a Fulham side that has conceded multiple goals in five of their last six away fixtures. United’s struggles on defense make backing them as a -190 moneyline favorite less appealing, but those issues won’t hold Hojlund back. (Editor's note: Since publication, Hojlund has been ruled out due to injury.)

Phil Foden to Score or Assist (+115): Foden has just one goal and one assist since his hat trick on February 5th, but it hasn’t been for lack of trying. In his four matches since then, he has combined for 18 shots, 6 shots on target, and 7 chances created. Bournemouth has just one clean sheet in their last eight matches across all competitions and has allowed the fourth-most goals/90 (1.87). Bournemouth’s defense has been better at home, but in their two home matches against teams on the same level as City (Liverpool and Arsenal), they lost both by a 4-0 scoreline.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.