Newcastle United vs Wolves Preview & Betting Tips: NUFC Can Bounce Back

Bruno GuimaraesAfter suffering a heavy defeat last weekend, Newcastle United look to bounce back on Friday night, as they host Wolves at St. James’ Park (8pm; TV: Live on Sky Sports). The visitors will be looking for another positive result following their win against Aston Villa. Can they get it? This NUFC vs WWFC preview and its betting tips aims to answer that.

Under the stewardship of Eddie Howe, the Newcastle ship has been sailed to safer waters, that is undeniable, and it now looks as though relegation is extremely unlikely. However, things have gone awry of late. Friday’s hosts have lost each of their last three, conceding seven and scoring just one in the process, while they’ve now gone over 300 minutes of Premier League football without scoring from open play. Yes, they look safe as things stand and the EPL relegation betting reflects that, but that could soon change if they continue to go without picking up points, so Howe will be looking for improvements and fast.

Despite suffering what was a very agonising home defeat to a struggling Leeds side a few weeks ago, the Wolves’ boys have had themselves in decent shape of late. They’ve won three of their last four, a run of form which has landed them comfortably inside the top half.

Not only are they eighth, but they’re in with a shout of qualifying for European football of some form next season. Both West Ham and Manchester United are just two points in front of The Wanderers. After beating Villa last time out and seeing how Newcastle unravelled in North London, Wolves should go to St James’ Park feeling confident.

Struggling to create

After scoring twice in three games straight, Howe’s men have regressed in terms of attacking output, scoring just one goal in their last three, and that must go down to a lack of creativity. In their last three matches, they’ve produced expected goals for figures of 0.2, 1.0 and 0.6. OK, the first and third of those figures came in away matches against top-six opposition, but the second came against an Everton side threatened with relegation. Even if we go back to their last win (against Southampton), they only created 0.7, while they average just 1.01 per 90 minutes since Howe took the reins back in November 2021. All in all, the Magpies find it tough to be creative.

Offensive improvements?

In terms of goals scored, Bruno Lage’s men have improved in recent weeks, and the improvement has been quite dramatic. Between late February and early March, Friday’s visitors scored just one goal in three matches. In their last four, they have scored a pleasing total of nine goals, scoring two or more in three of those four.

Now, is this a result of increased creativity or clinical finishing? Prior to their 4-0 win against Watford, which sparked their upturn in scoring form, Wolves were averaging a modest (at best) 0.95 expected goals for per 90 minutes. In their last four, they have produced an average of 1.00, so you could argue that there has been a tiny creative improvement, though for the most part, their extra goals have either been a result of good fortune or precise finishing.

The point here is that we shouldn’t expect Lage’s side to continue scoring at their current rate when they are averaging around one expected goal per 90 minutes. Overall, they’ve scored 33 goals this term, which is in keeping with the fact that they’ve produced a total of 30.00 expected goals.

What happened when the teams met earlier in the season?

At Molineux in October, it was Wolves who came out on top, winning by two goals to one, courtesy of a double from dynamic forward Hwang Hee-Chan, who interestingly has since scored just twice in the Premier League. In that reverse fixture, neither side could claim to have dominated proceedings, with an almost even split in possession.

Moreover, Wolves registered seven shots, three of which hit the target, while the Magpies fired off eight shots, two of which troubled the opposing keeper. In terms of expected goals, neither side really offered a tremendous amount, with Wolves producing 0.9 to Newcastle’s 0.6.

NUFC vs WWFC: How to bet this fixture

In the early betting, it’s Newcastle who are favourites, which isn’t that difficult to argue with. In fact, the 5/4 available on the home win is quite appealing. Sure, the visitors are in better form, and they’ve been scoring quite a lot of late, but as touched on in this preview above, they are far from overly creative, so we shouldn’t be surprised if the goals dry up soon.

Moreover, it is the hosts who have done a better job of keeping their opponents quiet in recent times. Yes, they stumbled massively against a rampant Tottenham side last time out, but prior to that they’d gone 11 league games without conceding more than a single goal.

In addition, between the start of 2022 and the end of March, the hosts conceded an average of just 0.81 expected goals, which is hard to ignore, especially when during the same period, Wolves conceded an average of 1.58 expected goals. On this basis, for this preview’s betting tip, despite the obvious lack of creativity displayed by both, backing a home win is the way to go.

Bruno to bag

If you’re looking for something a bit different, something at a bigger price, then take a chance on Bruno Guimaraes as an ‘Anytime Scorer’ at chunky odds. The Brazilian has been hugely impressive since joining in January, and though he has only scored once in nine appearances, he is averaging an encouraging 2.8 shots per 90 minutes, as well as 0.24 expected goals, which is more in line with a player at shorter odds.

In a game where it could take the sort of spark from midfield that Guimaraes provides to make the difference, the man from Rio de Janeiro is worth siding with. So these are the betting tips we propose for this NUFC vs WWFC Premier League match preview: