|Aston Villa Odds||+400|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-130 / +100)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(-125 / +105)|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up to the minute soccer odds here.|
Tottenham Hotspur look to continue their pursuit of another top four finish when they host an Aston Villa side that suffered their first league loss under new manager Unai Emery their last time out.
Tottenham have conceded the first goal in their last six league matches, but they were still able to avoid defeat in half of those games. Most recently, Harry Kane’s 65th-minute header and a well-taken equalizer from Pierre Hojbjerg six minutes later helped Spurs rescue at 2-2 Boxing Day draw at Brentford.
The next day, Villa were soundly beaten at home by Liverpool in Emery’s fifth game in charge in all competitions since taking over a couple weeks before the World Cup break. Ollie Watkins’ 59th-minute goal closed a deficit to 2-1 for a brief time, but the Villains were ultimately unable to overcome being thoroughly outplayed in the first half.
Spurs won both league meetings last season, including a 4-0 thumping at Villa Park back on April 9. Going back further, Tottenham have a 15-2-1 record (W-L-D) in these teams’ last 18 league meetings.
Tottenham Looking Like Same Team From Before
After going from hero to goat for England at the World Cup, any concerns Kane’s league form might dip in the aftermath were quieted at Brentford.
First, to review. After scoring an earlier penalty against France in the quarterfinals, Kane misfired in a second attempt from the spot that could’ve helped England force extra time. Instead they were sent home as 2-1 losers with Kane bearing much of the media scrutiny.
Kane wasn’t dominant in his EPL return on Boxing Day, but his 65th-minute header required an excellent finish from a difficult position. It bolstered his Premier League total to 13 goals. In a league without Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, that would put Kane near the top of the Golden Boot race.
Elsewhere in the squad, defender Cristian Romero will be available for the first time since helping Argentina win the World Cup. Fellow South Americans, midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur and attacker Richarlison, remain out with injuries picked up in Qatar.
Spurs have played some open football of late and especially at home where teams have combined for 32 goals in eight league fixtures. That’s an average of four a contest.
Aston Villa Seeking Improved Showing
The first half against Liverpool on Boxing Day was easily the worst Villa have played since Unai Emery took the reins. Perhaps it’s worth just shaking off, though.
While Villa were playing their first game since before the World Cup break, Liverpool had gotten to sharpen themselves four days earlier in an entertaining League Cup defeat at Manchester City. And some of the mistakes on the home side’s part were basics such as not adjusting to the speed of Liverpool’s press.
Even though Emery’s side couldn’t earn anything from the match, the second half was massively improved. That also suggests rust as a culprit.
Goalkeeper Emi Martinez could return after his own break to celebrate Argentina’s World Cup triumph, though deputy Robin Olsen wasn’t to blame on any of Villa’s three goals conceded against Liverpool.
If there’s an early constant under Emery, it’s that Villa have more ideas going forward in his two-striker system. The defense is coming around more slowly though, with both teams scoring in all five games Emery has managed in all competitions.
Tottenham vs. Aston Villa Pick
If you want to bet Aston Villa to score first based on Tottenham’s wonky streak, it’s hard to say not to. But it’s also just one of those weird trends hard to explain by any underlying factor.
Where I think the fundamentals are better is on a wager on both teams to score at -125 odds. As we just touched on, that bet has cashed in every Villa match under Emery, a trend that certainly appears to be at least partly tactical.
The same is true of six out of Spurs’ eight home league matches and 11 of their 16 league fixtures overall. The only teams Spurs did not concede against at home were Everton and Wolverhampton, two sides that have been goal-challenged everywhere.
It’s less than even money, but the odds here are still good. Take advantage before the market wises up on how Villa have changed under their new boss.
Pick: Both Teams to Score – Yes (-125)