With Newcastle United's Top-4 bid waning considerably, Sunday brings a golden chance at three points as relegation candidates Wolverhampton arrive at St. James' Park.
After boasting just a single loss all season, Newcastle have dropped two consecutive matches and haven't won in the league since mid-January. Wolves, meanwhile, continued their maddeningly unpredictable run with a 1-0 win over Spurs last weekend.
Ahead of Sunday's late kickoff, check out our picks and predictions for Newcastle vs. Wolves.
Newcastle vs Wolves best odds
Newcastle vs Wolves picks and predictions
Despite creating chances at a consistently strong clip and having encouraging underlying metrics game after game, goals have dried up for Newcastle United.
In their last eight league games, Newcastle have scored just three goals, coming against a pair of rotten sides in West Ham and Bournemouth, and a last-gasp winner against Fulham. The three-goal return is made even uglier by the side's expected goals over that same stretch, at 11.3.
Callum Wilson is woefully out of form and the right side of Newcastle's attack, which has been the lifeblood of their production throughout the season, has largely been found out. Without Wilson's typically clinical finishing, the shot-creating actions Newcastle total come to nothing.
Newcastle's attack is unlikely to find a quick turnaround against Wolves on Sunday. Though they remain in danger of relegation, manager Julen Lopetegui has brought in increased defensive stability since taking over after the World Cup.
In Wolves' 15 games prior to Lopetegui's arrival, the side conceded 1.66 goals per game. In 11 games under Lopetegui, however, that has dropped to 1.0 goals per game and that figure is slightly skewed by games against City and Liverpool, in which they conceded five goals total.
Thankfully for Newcastle, amid this dry spell, Wolves aren't going to punish the home side in attack, either. Lopetegui's arrival has seen Wolves score 11 goals and create a woeful 10.1 xG.
After an incredible stretch of defensive solidity, Newcastle have conceded in five straight games across competitions but Wolves present a great chance for the Mags to collect another clean sheet.
My best bet: Under 2.5 (-138 at bet365)
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Newcastle vs Wolves side analysis
With one of the league's most out-of-form teams in Newcastle — their three points in their last five matches is the worst return in the league — hosting one of the league's outright worst teams, I am staying away from the side entirely.
At -154 on the 3-way moneyline, there's no sense in backing Newcastle. Not after they have failed to beat equally poor sides like Bournemouth and West Ham in recent weeks.
One could be tempted by a Wolves/draw double chance play, at +120, but there has just been such a lack of consistency in their results in recent weeks. They thrashed Liverpool at home and then a few weeks later were beaten with ease at Anfield. They lost 1-0 to Bournemouth and then drew Fulham the next weekend.
A win over Spurs came ahead of this fixture, so who knows what this unpredictable Wolves team will display on Sunday.
Ultimately, Newcastle's strong home form against Wolves' woeful away form is enough to keep me away from taking a flier on the Wolves' double chance market.
Newcastle vs Wolves Over/Under analysis
In addition to the full game Under, there are a couple of worthwhile plays that present a chance at a good return.
The first is a clean sheet for Newcastle and goalkeeper Nick Pope at +100. This is still a keeper and defense that, prior to this recent four-match skid in the league, had kept more clean sheets (12) than goals conceded.
Even after conceding in four straight Prem matches, Newcastle have allowed eight-fewer goals than the next closest team (17 to City, Chelsea, and City's 25) and have an xGA of 23.8 bested only by City (21.3).
Wolves, meanwhile, have scored the fewest goals in the league (19) and have created the fourth-fewest xG (24.9) while having played one more match than the even less potent attacks.
The second alternative total play I am going to make is the Under on a full-game total of 1.5 (+220). Everything points toward a game that could quite easily finish 0-0 or 1-0.
Newcastle vs Wolves game info
|Location:||St. James' Park, Newcastle, England|
|Date:||Sunday, March 12, 2023|
|Time:||12:30 p.m. ET|
Newcastle vs Wolves key injuries
Newcastle: Fabian Schar CB (Questionable).
Wolves: Hwang Hee-chan ST (Doubtful), Boubacar Traore (Doubtful).
Newcastle vs Wolves recent form
|Teams||Last five matches|
Newcastle vs Wolves weather
A rainy Sunday will mark the leadup to kickoff on Tyneside but by then, the chance of rain is just 35%. Temperatures around kickoff are expected to be around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.