Everton vs. Southampton: Is the Underdog Worthy of Your Soccer Picks?

Kevin Stott

Friday, April 3, 2015 3:45 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 3, 2015 3:45 PM GMT

Everton welcomes Southampton to Goodison Park on Saturday for this fixture as EPL play resumes after the International Break and with just 9 games left in the season. Can the Saints make it three straight Clean Sheets against the Toffees?

Odds Overview
Everton vs. Southampton, Saturday 15:00 (NBC Sports Live Extra, Directv (USA); 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): After the International Break, play resumes in the English Premier League this weekend and one intriguing matchup is this fixture at Goodison Park in Liverpool on Saturday between host and 13th-place Everton (8-10-12, 38 GF-42 GA) and visiting and 6th-place Southampton (16-5-9, 50 GF-45 GA). Soccer odds makers have made host Everton -162 favorites in the Three-Way (Winner) marketplace, with visitors Southampton priced at +180 and the Draw at +220 (bet365). The Total Goals in this game is set at 2½ Under -150 (Over +114, bet365), while the Both Teams To Score odds on the ‘Yes’ and the ‘No’ are both priced at -110 at William Hill. Some Props bets for this tilt: Southampton Draw No Bet is +100 (Paddy Power); Halftime Score 0-0 is +167 (Skybet); Correct Score 0-0 is at a healthy +750 (ToteSport); and, Total Corners: 9½ Over -142 (Under + 110, BetVictor). This game should be competitive with Southampton looking to hold on to its potential UEFA Europa League positioning in the table and having held the edge over the Toffees in most recent league competition.

 

Southampton FC
Southampton (7-2-5 Away, 15 GF-11 GA, 53 points) and manager Ronald Koeman will begin Week 31 play 6 points back of 4th-place Manchester United (59 points), ahead of 7th-place Tottenham Hotspur (53 points) only on Goal Differential (GD) and 1 point behind 5th-place Liverpool (54 points). So, the Saints have three potential realities that could happen when this Premier League season comes to an end in late May: 1—Finish in the Top 4 and secure a Champions League berth; 2—Finish either 5th or 6th and land up playing some soccer in the Europa League next year; or, 3—Finish 7th and down and spend the summer wondering what the fuzz happened after getting off to such a hot start and sitting in 2nd place for so long, being in the Top 6 or so for the bulk of the season and then somehow finishing out of the money. Tears for sure.

Southampton’s bread and butter has been its defense and its 21 Goals Allowed is the best mark in England’s Top Flight, led by Premier League clean sheet-leader GK Fraser Forster. On the attack, the Saints get most of its scoring from the same guys: Striker Graziano Pellè (8 goals, Anytime Goalscorer +200, bet365), Sadio Mané (6 goals, +750), Dušan Tadic (4 goals, +300), Victor Wanyama (3 goals, +800) and Shane Long (3 goals, +240). And with the way they’ve been playing defense, their current spot in the table, the 42-21 GF-GA mark and their constant tenacity, fans of Southampton should be extremely proud of what their team has accomplished so far this season and what’s transpired from August to early April bodes well for The Saints Future, but again, should Southampton end up finishing 7th or down in the standings, one can’t but help think what an emotional hit that would be, as well as all of the financial implications from not being able to reap the benefits of TV money from playing in UEFA’s Champions League or Europa League next season. Sometimes, every goal matters.

 

Everton FC
Everton (4-7-3 Home, 22 GF-18 GA) and manager Roberto Martínez have had an awful season to date, but at least the Toffees (34 points) pretty much don’t have to fear Relegation—or use the word anymore—sitting 9 points above 18th place (25 points, Burnley). The Toffees were also recently eliminated from UEFA Europa League play, so that means they could either still really be bummed about that, after playing so well in the tournament, or that they can focus and expend all of their energy now toward finishing strong in the Premier League. Romelu Lukaku (8 goals, +175 Anytime Goalscorer, bet365), Kevin Mirallas (5 goals, +300), Steven Naismith (6 goals, +300) and Ross Barkley (2 goals, +375) have all been a bit underwhelming on the attack for Everton this season, while GK Tim Howard and the Toffees defense have allowed 42 goals in EPL play—the same exact number that Southampton has scored coming in. If ever there were signs that pointed to an underdog which provided some real potential value, it’s here with the Saints (+180, bet365) who are playing better soccer than Everton, have the better defense, are competing for something really big (UEFA tournament play next season) and have held the upper hand in the series in league play lately.

 

Best Betting Approaches and Trends
Everton comes into this fixture ranked 13th in the Premier League in Current Form (L6: LDLLWW; L6 Home: LDDDDW), while Southampton is 11th (L6: DLLWDW; L6 Away: WWWWLD). And, as you can see, the Saints aren’t too bad on the Road (7-2-5) this season, a big reason they’re still in the hunt this late in the season. In English Premier League play in this series through the years, Everton is 37-16-22 (129 GF-86 GA) versus Southampton, with the Toffees a dominating 26-6-5 (79 GF-26 GA) here at Home in Liverpool at Goodison Park (Everton 4-7-4 L15 Home). So, Everton has owned Southampton over the long haul, when the Saints were a much different football team. But over the L4 meetings, Southampton—which has dropped just a league-best 2 points from leading positions all season (16-1-0 in 17 games it has had the lead)—is an unbeaten (3-1-0, 7 GF- 1 GA; Note: 3 of the 7 goals are Everton OGs), with the Saints registering two Clean Sheets in the last two and three of the last 4 meetings, the last a 3-0 win at St. Mary’s Stadium in this season’s first meeting back in Week 17.


But with the Saints winless in their L9 trips to Everton (0-2-7) and having just one win in the L15 Away games against Southampton overall in all competitions (1-3-11), the Series Trends are a real mixed bag and it all depends on who—or if you even choose—to interpret them and if they even matter at this point in Time. The truth is that Southampton (4-1-1 L6 Away) is as good as its been this season, and in a position on Saturday evening to actually equal its highest-ever Points Total (56) in an English Premier League season (last year, 2013/2014). So, things change. Like sands in the hourglass, these are the Days of Our Lives.


With Pellè immersed in a serious scoring slump—the Southampton striker’s last goal was 13 games ago, despite attempting 34 shots (including blocks)—and Forster so darn dependable in goal for the Saints and coming off back-to-back clean sheets in meetings against Everton, look for scoring to possibly be minimal here, with some potential rust from the International Break also possibly being an issue. My advice here is to take the underdogs Southampton, despite the 0-2-7 mark in their L9 trips here to Goodison Park. And employing the Saints on the Draw No Bet line (+100, Paddy Power) seems like the best approach while the Under 2½ (-150, bet365) also looks like a decent soccer pick, and would be a nice counterbalance with a straight bet on Southampton on the Draw No Bet (or Pick) line. Better safe than sorry sometimes.

PREDICTION: Everton 0 Southampton 1
EPL PICKS: Under 2½ -150 (bet365), Southampton Draw No Bet +100 (Paddy Power)

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