Watford v Hull City
The basis of this bet is purely on the perceived ability of the team/squads that will play out this match. Whilst Watford probably haven’t performed quite up to pre-season expectations, Slaven Bilic has demonstrated a degree of improvement out of them.
Indeed, looking into the data, Watford are in the top six on performance merit. The expected goal difference across the opening 21 matches sees The Hornets in sixth overall, and sixth purely looking at home performances as well. To say that this period involved a sacking of a manager for poor results, a lot of speculation around where players would end playing, and also a lot of behind-the-scenes wrangling, it is a satisfactory place to begin the second stage of the season.
Hull faced some of the same problems that Watford did of course. A large player turnover, a managerial change, and an interesting ownership. However, the on-pitch product that seemed to start quite well was proven to be quite poor as the season progressed. Indeed, the performances as judged by xG would have The Tigers inside the bottom three overall.
The availability of Watford’s key men, apart from the excellent Imran Louza, is going to be the key for this match. Joao Pedro, no doubt inspired by his countrymen in the World Cup, playing off Keinan Davis, should be too good for the Hull defence here. Ken Sema is again straddling that “too good for the Championship, not good enough for the Premier League” line and the midfield balance has been helped by Hamza Choudhury finding some form with regular matches. The impressive part of their home data though is how well they are preventing teams from creating chances, only 8.4 xG against in their ten home matches.
Hull were not disastrous at creating chances on the road, just less than 1xG per match, but they conceded 50% more than they created. Against a team of this Watford’s quality if that trend continues here then there is a very strong chance the result goes Bilic’s way.
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