It’s the start of a new era at Manchester United with the highly-rated Erik ten Hag taking over as the manager of the illustrious club.
Judging by his successful tenure at Ajax, ten Hag seems likely to be a success at United over the long-term. But for now, things are a bit unsettled at Old Trafford with Cristiano Ronaldo looking to force a move away from the Theatre of Dreams in order to play Champions League soccer.
And even though the odds suggest otherwise, a match with Brighton & Hove Albion is not going to be a walk in the park for the Red Devils.
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Brighton were one of the Premier League’s most effective defensive teams last season, finishing sixth in goals allowed, sixth in expected goals allowed and fourth in big scoring chances conceded. The Seagulls have shown over the past two years that they have the personnel and system to stifle the best attacks in the competition.
In addition to their defensive prowess, Brighton are also a terrific team at playing through pressure, which is what ten Hag will be asking his Red Devils to do. Over the course of the season the United players will start to settle into ten Hag’s high-press style, but it’ll take some time and Brighton are the type of team who can pick it apart if disorganized.
Scoring goals may not come easy for Brighton, but the United defense was quite leaky last season, finishing 12th in expected goals allowed and 13th in big scoring chances conceded.
Not only are the Seagulls a settled, well-drilled side that plays a great press-and-possess style of play, but they were also one of the best giant-killers in the Premier League last season earning wins against United, Arsenal, and Tottenham, plus draws with Chelsea (twice) and Liverpool.
As the season goes on, it would not be a surprise to see United settle in and start to charge up the table under their new manager. But for now, they remain an overrated side that will almost always have bloated odds due to their popularity.
Betting on Sports?
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.
Brighton are a dangerous side that walloped United, 4-0, just three months ago. There’s no reason for the price to be this high on the Seagulls, especially in the chaos that is Week 1.
Brighton vs. Manchester United pick
Brighton +460 — FanDuel