The 2022-23 English Premier League season gets underway on Friday afternoon with a London Derby between Arsenal and Crystal Palace at the friendly confines of Selhurst Park. Arsenal check into the match as a -120 road favorite, with Palace sitting as a +340 home underdog. The draw is currently priced at +275.
Most fans, punters and analysts are expecting big things from Arsenal this season. After a wobbly start in 2021-22, the Gunners went 15-1-9 (win-draw-loss) and posted a +15 goal differential over their last 25 matches. Their underlying metrics supported Arsenal’s surge in form as they posted a +19.6 expected goal (xG) differential in that span.
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Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace odds, prediction
By the time the season came to a close, the Gunners were fifth in the table in terms of points, goal differential, expected points and xG differential.
Considering how they started and the media frenzy that followed that slow start, it was a pretty encouraging season for Mikel Arteta’s young squad.
The Gunners had a busy summer adding top players like Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira and Oleksandr Zinchenko to an already talented squad, so a step forward is certainly in the cards for Arsenal, who look likely to challenge for a Champions League spot.
But even with things pointing in the right direction, Arsenal should not be this short against a very dangerous Crystal Palace team.
Under the radar, Palace were perhaps the most impressive team outside of the big six in the Premier League last year. Despite finishing 12th, the Eagles posted the seventh-best goal differential, sixth-best xG differential and were the fourth-best team at preventing big scoring chances. Palace ranked fourth in the EPL, ahead of Arsenal, in xG allowed and actually lost one fewer match than the Gunners did in ’21-22.
And while defense is the calling card for Crystal Palace, there’s plenty of scoring punch on this roster with Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Odsonne Edouard.
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Arsenal is the deserving favorite and is going to be a better team than Palace over the course of a 38-match season, but with the Eagles at home and the chaos that usually comes in Matchweek 1, when teams are not up to speed, the gap between these two teams just isn’t as wide as the odds suggest.
Since 2012, teams that closed +200 or higher in the opening week of the Premier League season have gone 23-71 and, despite their 24% win rate, have turned a decent profit. If you bet $100 on every pooch that closed +200 or longer in their season-opener, you’d have won $2,450.
Palace were a terrific team at home last season and scored big wins over Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United. Overlook the Eagles at your own risk.
Arsenal vs. Crystal Palace pick
Crystal Palace +350 — FanDuel