- Clubs going in opposite directions in the Premier League square off Wednesday when Sheffield United welcomes Aston Villa to Bramall Lane.
- The Villans, who have dreams of European football next season, could get star Jack Grealish back for this match.
- Jeremy Pond details why he likes the visitors to bag all three points below.
Sheffield United vs. Aston Villa Odds
|Sheffield United Odds||+260|
|Aston Villa Odds||+106|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-120 / +148)|
|Day | Time||Wednesday | 1 p.m. ET|
|How To Watch||Peacock Premium|
|Odds as of Tuesday morning via DraftKings.|
Clubs going in completely opposite directions in the Premier League go at it Wednesday when Sheffield United welcomes Aston Villa to Bramall Lane.
The visiting Villans, who have dreams of European soccer next season, enter this match fresh off a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Leeds United in its most recent outing. The victory kept Aston Villa in ninth place on the table, and just five points behind fifth-place Chelsea.
On the other side, things continue to get worse with every fixture for the Blades. This time, it was defending champion Liverpool inflicting the pain on Sheffield United via a 2-0 triumph. The loss was Sheffield United’s 10th of the season on home soil, which is actually one off the club record.
The Blades, who are winless in four of their last five league contests, have been shut out in three consecutive defeats. They’re sitting on just 11 points through 26 games, putting them 15 points from 17th place and safety.
There are bad teams. And then there are bad teams. Needless to say, the Blades fall under that latter definition of the word.
Sheffield United has been terrible at both ends of the pitch in league action, scoring just 15 goals and conceding 43 during a season where it’s winless in 23 of its 26 matches.
The crazy part of the Blades’ story is that they’re excelling in other places outside league play. Yes, this Sheffield United outfit booked its spot in the FA Cup quarterfinals back on Feb. 10 via a 1-0 win over Bristol City. The club will look to get to the final four of the competition when it faces powerful Chelsea in a March 21 semifinal-round match.
However, for the time being, the Blades must attempt to plan their great escape from the relegation zone if it hopes to stay afloat in England’s top flight next season. And a win over Aston Villa in absolute must for this fading group.
Statistically, Sheffield United is one of the worst teams across the advanced metrics. The Blades sit on a 23.0 expected goals and 38.7 expected goals against, resulting in a subpar -15.7 xGDiff and -0.60 xGDiff/90 minutes.
Manager Dean Smith had to be pleased with impressive road triumph against the Peacocks. Any time you can bag all three points in a road match at this level is huge. However, it’s even bigger when you do it without your best player.
Smith and the Villans were without standout Jack Grealish, who is still recovering from a lower-leg injury that kept him sidelined in the win. Grealish could start or be on the bench for this midweek confrontation, which would be a huge boost for a club already riding high after that solid effort at Elland Road.
Ollie Watkins has been fantastic leading the line for the Villans, recording a team-best 10 goals this season.
When comparing numbers with Sheffield United, Aston Villa has a glaring edge in all major categories. The Villans boast 36.6 xG and an impressive 30.6 xGA, resulting in a solid +6.0 xGDiff and +0.25 xGDiff/90 minutes.
Betting Analysis & Picks
There is no need to overthink this play or try to find an angle that strays you from the obvious. Aston Villa, in that aforementioned hunt for a European soccer berth, needs all the points it can get. Obviously, this is a prime spot for the Villans to secure three more on their schedule.
That said, I am backing Aston Villa to get the job done on the road. Sheffield United has won a grand total of three league matches, and hasn’t gotten unlucky in anyway.
I will also take a swing on Watkins to score anytime at ripe +175 odds. The Villans’ talisman has been lights out this season, so don’t be surprised if he finds the back of the net against the porous Blades defense.
Picks: Aston Villa ML (+106) | Ollie Watkins To Score Anytime — Yes (+175)