Soccer

EPL Title Odds: Manchester City Are in the Driver's Seat

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
EPL Title Odds: Manchester City Are in the Driver's Seat

The English Premier League hasn't seen many legitimate three-team title races in the past decade, especially not this late in the season. There's still a lot of the season left to go, but for now, it seems like we are in store for a spicy end of the season.

Here are the teams in the hunt, with all soccer odds coming from FanDuel Sportsbook:

Premier League Title Odds

Team
Odds
Manchester City-210
Liverpool+250
Arsenal+650

Manchester City (-210)

The three-time defending champions are favored to once again lift the trophy.

Manchester City find themselves in a similar situation to where they were last season. They trailed Arsenal for most of the campaign until eventually running away with the crown.

City trail Liverpool this time. However, they are down by only two points and have a game in hand, so it shouldn't be too difficult for City to overcome the Reds.

We normally see City dominating in all the underlying metrics, such as possession and expected goals (xG). They're still putting up elite numbers -- especially in terms of possession -- but otherwise haven't been as dominant as usual. They have the best possession rate by far (64.1%) and sit second best in xG differential per 90 minutes, according to FBRef.

They played nearly the entire first half of the season without Kevin De Bruyne, one of their most important players. He's been back for the last three matches, starting in two of them, and has already racked up four goal contributions.

They've also missed Rodri and Erling Haaland at different points of this season, and now have them back and healthy. City are still in the Champions League and FA Cup, so they will have a demanding fixture list moving forward if they continue to advance in these competitions.

City have a game away to Liverpool that could be a title decider on March 10th. They also will host Arsenal, one of just three teams who have beaten them in the league this season.

This -210 number is fairly steep -- even if City are likely the best team. It might be a better strategy to wait and see how the odds move in the next few weeks. Even if you think City win it, you might be able to get them at a more appealing number at some point.

Liverpool (+250)

The current leaders, Liverpool had a chance to put a gap between them and Arsenal on Sunday.

Instead, they allowed Arsenal to stick around in the race, as the Gunners won 3-1 at home over the Reds. It was a concerning performance for Liverpool, as they lost the xG battle 3.5-0.4, with their only goal coming from an own goal.

Liverpool have weathered the storm in the matches without Mohamed Salah, who left the club to play for Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. Salah picked up an injury in that tournament, and the timeline for him to return is still up in the air.

In the match at Arsenal, the Reds were also without Dominik Szoboszlai, a key piece in their midfield. If either, or both, Szoboszlai or Salah misses extended time, that will be a sizable blow for Liverpool, who can't afford many more slip-ups.

The underlying data has Liverpool with the third-best xG differential per 90 minutes in the league, behind both City and Arsenal. They've overperformed that differential by 9.1 goals, which is the second-most in the EPL. It's common for the best teams in the league to overperform this way, and having a ruthless finisher like Salah in the lineup helps.

The good news for Liverpool regarding their matchup with Man City is that it's at Anfield. City's three defeats in the league this season have all come away from home, while Liverpool are unbeaten at Anfield in the league this season.

I don't mind taking a shot on Liverpool at +250, especially if they get Salah back relatively soon. If you think the head-to-head matchup between Liverpool and City will play a huge role in where the title goes, Liverpool certainly won't be +250 underdogs at home. These odds seem a bit long to me as things stand now.

Arsenal (+650)

Arsenal's big win on Sunday kept them alive in the race. The odds say they are still fairly unlikely to win the league -- which would be their first league title since 2004 -- but they are an intriguing team to consider.

After finishing as the runner-up a year ago and leading the title race for a long time, Arsenal looked like contenders again in the first few months of the season. That was especially true when they beat City at home on October 8th.

Then, December came, and Arsenal struggled. They dropped points in four of their seven matches in the month after having done so just three times previously up to that point in the campaign.

They've now gotten back on track, winning their last three league matches convincingly.

What is most impressive about Arsenal is their defensive record. Arsenal have allowed just 17.5 xG against this season. That's four fewer than anyone else. In terms of actual goals conceded, they are tied with Liverpool for the fewest goals allowed in the league.

Overall, Arsenal's xG differential is the best in the league. In the table, they are level with City and two points behind Liverpool, with City having a game in hand.

With the way Arsenal have played, +650 on them to win the title is pretty enticing. The one complication is that they do have to go to the Etihad Stadium to play City away, which is unlikely to be a win. But if Arsenal keep playing as they have in recent games, they should be able to stick around in the title race.


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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.