Soccer Picks: Aston Villa vs. Manchester City Betting Odds

Richard O'Hagan

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 8:52 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013 8:52 PM GMT

It's soccer betting value galore as high-flying Manchester City visit Villa Park to square off against the Villans on Saturday.

Check out our report on 2013-14 English Premier League Betting Futures!

On the face of it, this doesn’t look like much of a contest. Man City travel to Birmingham high on the success of a convincing win in the Manchester derby. Villa, on the other hand, somehow contrived to lose their last home match to Newcastle.

It is certainly true to say that Villa Park is no longer the fortress that it once was and that one of the reasons for the home team’s struggles in recent seasons has been their failure to win games on their own patch. Former manager Ron Atkinson once even opined that the players were intimidated by playing there. That isn’t all of the story, though, but this is no place for a Jonathan Wilson-esque tactical exposition. What is important is that Paul Lambert knows that in order to improve their league position, Villa have to win games at home, no matter who the opposition are.

They also have to stop conceding goals. Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Norwich was their first clean sheet since December 8th, 2012 and owed much to goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who pulled off a remarkable last minute save to deny Norwich an equaliser, along with an actually-easier penalty stop in the first half.

For City, the challenge is rather different. Putting four goals past Manchester United at home is one thing, but their previous two away games have seen them draw 0-0 with Stoke and, in August, lose 3-2 in Cardiff. That’s not an away record that speaks of potential Premiership champions, no matter how well they perform at home.

Villa look likely to be without star striker Christian Benteke for this game, after he injured a hip early in the Norwich game. Gabriel Agbonlahor, who also left that game injured, should be fit, though, whilst Libor Kozak will be looking to score more now that he has opened his Villa account at last.

City’s concerns are likely to be fewer, especially after fielding a weakened squad against Wigan in midweek. Jack Rodwell is likely to remain out, but Micah Richards could see his first Premier League action of the season after being an unused substitute for the Manchester derby.

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Notwithstanding this, Villa still look the much more attractive betting option, priced at 5/1 with Bet365. City’s poor away form and the undoubted benefit of that maiden clean sheet of the season, coupled with the knowledge that they beat City in Manchester last season (albeit in the league cup) make them a far more attractive soccer betting proposition than City at a best price of 31/50 with Coral.

In fact, the 1-1 draw is the leader in the correct score market, best priced at 8/1 with BetVictor; but at 1-0, the same bookmaker has a Villa win priced at 18/1. Indeed, any market whereby the home side keep a second successive clean sheet will net you a decent profit. It is probably expecting too much for Villa to deny City’s millionaire strike force for the full 90 minutes though, so if you are looking to back a home win with a correct score then 2-1 (again, 18/1 at BetVictor) or 3-2 (40/1 just about everywhere) looks a more likely score.

If you are not feeling quite that adventurous, check out the half time/full time market and consider City winning the game in the second half for your sports picks. Villa have a propensity to concede late goals and lose good match positions by becoming too defensive, so a half-time draw and a City win look good value at 15/4 in the soccer odds thorugh Bwin.

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