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Manchester United Midfielder Bruno Fernandes during the English championship Premier League football match between Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion on February 15, 2022 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England - Photo Phil Duncan / ProSportsImages / DPPI (Photo by Phil Duncan / ProSportsImages / DPPI via AFP)

The Premier League returns to its regularly scheduled programming following some fixture congestion. We’ll provide a look at the Matchday 26 action with our Premier League picks.

Manchester City remain comfortably atop the Premier League table, but the battle for the top four rages on as a handful of teams enjoy a decent run of form. We’re featuring a number of those contenders in our Matchday 26 picks.

A perennial powerhouse sits fourth after escaping with a midweek win, one of England's oldest clubs faces a spell of inconsistency following the insertion of a new manager and a high-profile addition, and a pack of hungry Wolves hunts a spot in Europe.

Here are my top betting picks and predictions for the Premier League Matchday 26 schedule (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Premier League Matchday 26 Picks

  • Manchester United to win and Over 2.5 (+161) ????
  • Aston Villa Under 1.5 goals (+105) ???
  • Wolves-Leicester total goals Under 1.5 (+205) ????

SEE ALSO: Serie A Matchday 26 Picks

Premier League Matchday 26 Predictions

Manchester United and Over 2.5 (+161 via FanDuel)

United haven't been especially convincing in their recent performances, with a relatively shaky 2-0 win at home against Brighton on Tuesday (a makeup of a postponed Matchday 18 affair) highlighting that run of form. However, the club has managed to take 11 points from its last five Premier League matches, and United have been better than their five goals in the last four outings suggest, with eight expected goals during that stretch.

Meanwhile, Leeds are catastrophic at the back. Their 41.2 expected goals against rank second-last in the Premier League, and they've been especially shambolic against England's bigger clubs. Leeds have taken just four points from nine Premier League matches against clubs currently in the top eight, and they concede for fun in those games.

United slaughtered Leeds 5-1 in the reverse fixture, and that was without Cristiano Ronaldo.

If you're feeling froggy about the total, United's 20 xGA away from home rank fourth-worst in the Premier League. You could stretch this play to Over 3.5 on the total with a United win for a +337 parlay at FanDuel.

There will be goals at Elland Road.

Aston Villa Under 1.5 (+105 via DraftKings)

Watford are undoubtedly at least the Premier League's second-most pitiful club. However, they've been oddly competitive away from home, with just a minus-2.6 expected goal differential. That ranks sixth-best in the Premier League thanks to only 16.1 xGA. Though that hasn't yet translated to positive results (they've taken just eight points from 11 away matches), the numbers suggest Watford don't go down easily.

Now the Hornets travel to Villa Park to take on Steven Gerrard's wildly inconsistent side. Villa followed a thrilling 2-2 draw against Manchester United with a strong 1-0 win at Everton before a 3-3 draw at home to Leeds and a 1-0 loss away to Newcastle. The club has managed to grab 15 points from 11 home games. However, just 12.7 xG (fifth-worst) and a minus-2.5 xGD (fourth-worst) paint a picture of a side struggling to put away teams on its own pitch.

Watford will likely lose - it's kind of their thing. And though I fancy Villa to get the job done, it won't be a particularly convincing victory. I'm also interested in the Under 1.5 on the total at +260 at FanDuel.

For those more bullish on the home side, you can get the Asian Handicap on Villa -1 at +115 or Villa -1.5 at +180 at DraftKings. But I'm not so sure they get to that number.

Wolves-Leicester total Under 1.5 (+205 via FanDuel)

These teams have begun 2022 in very different fashions.

Wolves have taken 12 points from five Premier League matches, including away wins over Manchester United and Spurs. Meanwhile, since handing Liverpool only their second league defeat of the campaign, Leicester are winless with just two points from four league affairs.

Wolves haven't conceded more than one goal in a Premier League match since Nov. 6, and the club has done so just three times all season. A Leicester side still without star striker Jamie Vardy won't become the fourth team to accomplish that feat.

For their part, Wolves aren't particularly strong going forward. Their 23.2 xG rank fourth-worst in the Premier League, as do the team's 11.8 xG at home.

The home side will continue its strong run in this low-scoring affair. You can also take a look at Wolves +130 through DraftKings and BetMGM, and Leicester Under 0.5 goals at +175 at DraftKings.

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Premier League Matchday 26 Quick Picks

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Premier League Matchday 26 picks made 2/17/2022 at 1:20 p.m. ET.