This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
A lot of Everton fans were convinced that the club was headed for relegation following the appointment of Rafa Benitez. Instead, they look to be on the same level as a season ago when James Rodriguez was actually playing. There's a chance the winning stops as the schedule picks up, but Everton are getting points from matches they should, something that didn't often happen last season.
Still, that downer sentiment surrounds the team. They opened at -150 at some places to beat Burnley and that's been bet down to -135. A lot of that is likely a result of how Everton are winning; they're playing kind of like an underdog against teams they aren't underdogs against.
They had 30 percent possession against Leeds with 1.86 expected goals, 34 percent possession against Brighton with 1.40 expected goals, and 48 percent possession against Southampton with 2.09 expected goals.
Some of that is game script, but Leeds controlled possession before Everton scored the opener in the 30th minute. Even against Southampton, a team not known to keep possession for large periods, Everton were either level or losing for the first 75 minutes.
So what's going to happen against a team that doesn't like to keep possession such as Burnley? That's a good question.
Unsurprisingly, Burnley have yet to have more than 36 percent possession in a match this season. While a lot of that is due to matchup and that they scored first against both Leeds and Brighton, that doesn't change who they are. Sean Dyche teams usually prefer to sit back and boot the ball forward hoping for a goal off a counter.
Everton didn't play the same way under Carlo Ancelotti, so there's no reason to look at last season's matches, though it helps my argument since there were no clean sheets between them. But that won't stop me from looking at prior matchups that involved Benitez and Burnley. At the helm of Newcastle, Benitez faced off with Dyche four times: Newcastle won twice (2-0 and 2-1), one was drawn 1-1 and the other, Burnley won 1-0 at home. The Burnley home win was extremely defensive as the score suggests, but in two others, the combined xG surpassed three goals.
That leads me to believe that there will be goals between these teams. Neither wants to control possession, so ideally, this will be a match filled with counterattacks and more goals than anyone thinks. I'm not taking the over 2.5 at +100 (it was -105) because I already vowed to never bet a Burnley over, but if I think about it for a few more days, that may change. Instead, I like both teams to score at -105 a tad more (it was -115). That gives me the possibility of a 1-1 result or even 2-1, a result I can see happening.
If you've followed this entire write up and it makes sense, taking Everton 2-1 at +850 is the most likely result. Both teams will score, but Everton will pull through at home with a late Dominic Calvert-Lewin winner.