This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
My single-game write ups have done fairly well this season with my bolded plays going 10-2-2 from four matches. It's funny to say, but I think this match is kind of easy to project unless Arsenal play completely different than how they have been.
While Crystal Palace have a new manager, I think this game will go fairly similar to how last season's matchups played out. At the Emirates, Arsenal controlled possession 67-33 but only managed .45 expected goals compared to .81 for Palace. When they played at Palace at the end of May, the season was almost over and it was the day before Roy Hodgson announced his retirement. Palace played well and were a bit more attacking, but Arsenal scored on all three shots on target in a 3-1 win, winning the possession battle 69 to 31.
Once again, Arsenal are expected to dominate possession and hold at least 60 percent of the ball. Palace have tried to hold onto the ball a bit more this season under Patrick Vieira, but that hasn't worked away against Chelsea or Liverpool, and it probably won't work here. Arsenal are once again playing things a little tighter to their chest, something they did in spurts last season. They'll hold onto the ball and produce some chances, but most of the time, they'll struggle to hit the back of the net.
Take away the North London Derby and Arsenal haven't shown much this season, scoring two goals in their other six matches. Sure, they've been better at home and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a shot on target in all three home starts, but that's still a hard bet to make. I'd like to see Arsenal play another home match against a team they should beat before betting on them to win. It was only a month ago when they needed 30 shots to sneak one past Norwich in a 1-0 win.
I probably won't bet Arsenal to win at -155 (it was -205 last week). They've won a few matches, but none of them have been overly convincing and they were outplayed by Brighton before the break. I think there will be chances in this match, but I'm not sure of the quality for each side. I like under 2.5 goals at -110 and 'No' on both teams to score at -115.
I am kind of worried that Palace have shown a few sparks this season and have been a bit more attack-heavy under Vieira. That led to a rebound before the break, getting two goals from their bench, allowing them to steal a point from Leicester after being down two in the first half. I still think Arsenal's back line play has been consistent when healthy and that should be enough to keep Palace at bay.
In the same vein, a scoreless draw bet is +950, which would be a repeat of last season. It's not my favorite play because Palace haven't been able to stop anyone, but this is Arsenal we're talking about. You could get Arsenal to win in a shutout at +170 (which was +140 last week), but I'm not sure the odds are worth it, though they are a lot better than they were. Clearly, there were some Palace bettors during the break and they brought Arsenal's line down a decent amount.