English Premier League clubs fighting for spots in the middle of the table need to perform well at home.
Crystal Palace ended last season with a tremendous record at Selhurst Park. The Eagles held their last 10 opponents at home to one or zero goals and produced six straight clean sheets to end the season.
We could see a return to that form on Saturday, when Palace returns home to face Aston Villa. Patrick Vieira's side conceded twice against Arsenal in the season opener at home, but even then, Palace lost the expected goals battle by 0.1.
Palace went through one of the toughest starts in Europe's big five leagues, as it had to face Arsenal and Liverpool off the bat. Palace earned a 1-1 draw against Liverpool and that should help the squad going into Saturday's clash with Aston Villa.
Villa will likely be competing in the same range of the table as Palace this season, but it may be difficult for the Villains to break down a Palace defense that has not been bad despite giving up three goals.
Crystal Palace's run of home unders is one of a few trends in play in Europe this weekend. The other significant one in England comes from Tottenham, who has scored at a high rate in home victories in 2022.
Weekend Soccer Selections
Crystal Palace (+150) vs. Aston Villa (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET)
Under 2.5 Goals (-145)
The under 2.5 has hit in the last four Crystal Palace home games dating back to last season.
The under has hit in eight of the last 11 games played at Selhurst Park across all competitions. Crystal Palace's defense is the main reason for that.
Palace's last home concession of three or more goals came against Liverpool on January 23. The club's early defensive numbers suggest it can hold Villa to a clean sheet.
Palace had an expected goals against (xGA) of 1.0 versus Arsenal at home and it held Liverpool to a single goal at Anfield on Monday.
While Palace started with a tough schedule, Villa began the season with a road loss to Bournemouth and a home win over Everton.
The road loss to Bournemouth is significant because it suggests the Villains will struggle a bit away from Villa Park. Their expected goals (xG) total was just 0.6 in Week 1. Villa scored one or zero goals in 12 of its 19 road games in the EPL last season.
Palace should get a goal at some point against a Villa defense that conceded three times to start the season, but do not expect an offensive outburst inside Selhurst Park.
Tottenham (-1.5; +115) vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET)
Tottenham Team Total Over 2.5 (+160)
Tottenham has an intriguing home streak that rivals Crystal Palace's run of unders.
Nine of Spurs' last 10 home victories have been by two goals or more. That streak dates back to Boxing Day 2021. Spurs also produced three or more goals in all of those victories.
That run of form started up again on the EPL opening weekend with a 4-1 win over Southampton. Spurs have six goals through two games this season and they should put up more on Wolves to open the EPL weekend.
Wolves conceded twice in their opener against Leeds United and gave up an xGA of 1.2 versus Fulham last week in a scoreless draw.
Leeds and Fulham attempted 19 shots against the Wolves defense with five of them going on net. Spurs have been more accurate with 12 of their 28 attempts going on target.
If Spurs' attack can continue to be more accurate, that opens up the potential for a larger concession out of the visitors. Wolves are still in transition mode with their roster and it may take a few more weeks until we see a cohesive XI out on the field.
Bournemouth vs. Arsenal (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Over 2.5 Goals (-130)
There's no fancy trend here.
Just an analysis that Arsenal's attack has been fantastic through two weeks with Gabriel Jesus at the helm.
Bournemouth is coming off a 4-0 loss to Manchester City and it may suffer a similar result against Man City's former striker leading the Gunners.
Arsenal's attack generated 29 shots in the first two games. The Gunners put seven of their 19 attempts on goal against Leicester City last week and they are tied for the second-best xG in the EPL at 3.6.
Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli are two of seven players with multiple goals in the EPL and the early-season form should carry into a match with a relegation contender.
Bayer Leverkusen (-155) vs. Hoffenheim (Saturday, 9:30 a.m. ET)
I hate myself.
I put Bayer Leverkusen on the banned list after last week's 2-1 home loss to Augsburg, but I think I've been sucked back in for one last early-season ride.
Leverkusen opened the season with a loss in the DFB Pokal to a lower-league team and then defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg in which it managed one goal.
Despite all of that, Leverkusen has the eighth-best expected goals in Europe's big-five leagues. I know it's a small sample size, but it is worth noting its xG was 2.6 against Augsburg.
The other component of unbanning Leverkusen is Hoffenheim's dreadful defensive record. Hoffenheim has the 14th-highest xGA in Europe's big five leagues. It is one of FIVE German clubs in the top 15.
Hoffenheim allowed three goals on the road to Borussia Monchengladbach in its road opener and it conceded twice in a wild 3-2 win over Bochum last week.
What I'm saying here is that Leverkusen has been given one more chance to prove itself, or else it has a permanent ban from Soccer Selections.
Osasuna (-115) vs. Cadiz (Saturday, 11:30 a.m. ET)
Time for the first La Liga pick of the season!
Osasuna produced one of the surprises of the opening weekend in Spain with a 2-1 win over Sevilla.
Osasuna is in line for another victory on Saturday, when it hosts relegation fighters Cadiz.
Osasuna has beaten Cadiz in four straight matches. Two of the results, including the home leg at Osasuna last season, were 2-0 wins and the other two were 3-2 victories.
This pick is all about the confidence and recent history in favor of Osasuna. Cadiz started the season with a defeat to Real Sociedad and it could have zero points from two games if Osasuna plays well at home again.
Napoli (-1.5; -105) vs. Monza (Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Victor Osimhen To Score (-110)
Napoli had the most successful opening weekend in Serie A by pushing five goals past Hellas Verona. Five different players, including Victor Osimhen, found the back of the net.
Napoli should have another offensive outburst on Sunday against newly-promoted Monza, who had the highest xGA in Serie A's opening weekend. Monza conceded twice to Torino and had an xGA of 2.6.
Osimhen has been a double-digit scorer for four years running in Europe and he should have no problem scoring for the second week in a row in what should be a lopsided affair in Naples.