Friday, April 23, 2010

Arsenal vs Man City: The Mother of All Matches -- Take the Over

By M.J.D.

Man City takes its UEFA Champions League aspirations into Emirates on Saturday (12:30 FSC) in a match that it absolutely has to win. Unfortunately for City, Arsenal is reeling from losses to Spurs and lowly Wigan, and although its EPL title chances are virtually nil, the Gunners will no doubt be hungry for a home win and an outside chance at overtaking Man U in the two spot in the league by season's end.  We've updated the Power Rankings and looked at the stats and the odds, and here's what we know.

Man City will have to attack, and they are capable of scoring goals on the road. They've scored 31 AGs this season.  Statistically the two teams are virtually even.  But Arsenal does have more total Shots and SOGs, and the Gunners allow fewer SHTA and SOGA.  But in our measure of Quality Shots on Goal, which gives a team credit for the ratio of goals it scores given the number of SHTs and SOGs it takes as compared to the rest of the league, Man City has a substantial advantage.  For example, the average team in the EPL earns .26 goals for every SOG it produces, or 26%.  But Man City scores 37% of the time it manages to create a SOG opportunity--a rather draw-dropping difference.  This means that the scoring opportunities it creates are of a considerably better quality than most of the league.  Arsenal's is up there as well at 34%, but the bottom line is that the Gunners will have to treat City's attack with respect or they will find themselves in a knife fight.

This has the potential to be an extremely tense and entertaining match, with lots of goals.  Which brings us to the odds.  The odds for Arsenal winning range from -141 to +104.  The odds for Man City winning range from +240 to +330.  If you can find a book that will give you positive odds on Arsenal, take it.  If you like to gamble rather than simply  make sound wagers, take City.  We can't imagine this will be a draw.  Finally, there are a range of over bets available from the European and British sportsbooks.  In the States, where the over is generally always at  +2.5, the odds are -140.  We think the over is without a doubt the best bet on this one.  And if you can manage to place a wager some place on the over at +3.0, which some books have in the +100 range or higher, do it.

No comments: