Leicester City vs. Leeds United Preview & Prediction: Play Peacocks on the Spread

Leicester City vs. Leeds United Preview & Prediction: Play Peacocks on the Spread article feature image

Marc Atkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Leeds United standout Rodrigo, center, celebrates a goal with his teammates.

  • Leicester City will take on Leeds United on Thursday in the Premier League.
  • Where does the value lie in the important fixture?
  • Anthony Dabbundo analyzes a play on the spread.

Leicester City vs. Leeds United Odds

Leicester City Odds+130
Leeds United Odds+200
Over/Under2.5 (-138 / +114)
Day | TimeThursday |  3:15 p.m. ET
How To WatchPeacock
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

Leeds United had an encouraging performance against Arsenal on Sunday, even though the Peacocks lost 1-0 on a first half goal from the Gunners and ended up with nothing to show for their hard work.

The Peacocks' pressing easily disrupted Arsenal's possession-based system, and if not for missed clear chances and a missed penalty, Jesse Marsch's side would have gotten a result.

They'll try to replicate that performance on the road against Leicester City, who have been one of the biggest underachievers in the league to date. Bad goalkeeping, porous defending and a declining Jamie Vardy have all contributed to the Foxes' regression in all areas of the pitch this season.

Leicester have just one win in the new season — a home victory against Nottingham Forest — and the pressure is building for manager Brendan Rodgers.

Despite their poor start to the season, the market hasn't properly adjusted to how much Leicester have regressed. With James Maddison suspended, it's hard to see the Foxes producing enough clear scoring to be favorites in this match.

Leicester City Have A Number Of Issues

The Foxes still have a major problem in goal with Danny Ward, who has been the worst goalie in the league to this point, and they are conceding the fourth-most big scoring chances.

It's unlikely he'll continue to be as bad as he's been, but he's also lackluster at claiming balls in the air on set pieces and it seems like he's playing without much confidence at the moment.

His misread of a ball in behind led to Bournemouth's game winning goal against the Foxes two weeks ago. He's cost them 5.7 post-shot xG in 10 matches, an unsustainable but still concerning 0.57 goals per match.

The problems don't end with Ward though. The attack is 13th in box entries produced and 11th in crosses completed. It's hard to consistently create chances when you don't have impressive ball progression numbers and are reliant on big scoring chances.

Add in the fact that Jamie Vardy is averaging just 0.20 xG per 90 this season and you have an attack lacking shots and firepower. Patson Daka has been solid with 0.43 xG per 90 in four full matches worth of minutes, but there's no guarantee he will start on Thursday.

The Foxes relied on big chances and unsustainable finishing over-performance last year. This year, they are still finishing at 50% over xG and that won't continue. But the chances are fewer too. They're 14th in xG created and 18th in big scoring chances produced.

Leeds United Getting A Bit Unlucky

Leeds created more than two xG in the loss to Arsenal, including the penalty, and they held Arsenal under one xG. The Gunners’ possession system was completely stifled by Leeds constant ball pressure and the Peacocks were able to quickly move the ball vertically and threaten the Arsenal penalty area consistently.

Better finishes or a converted penalty would have seen a very different result on Sunday and potentially a different price in this match. Leeds have been better than Leicester by every metric imaginable this year. Leeds are 10th defensively and sixth in attacking non-penalty xG per 90. Leicester are 14th in attack and 12th defensively.

Leeds haven't won any of their last six Premier League matches but the Peacocks have a positive xG difference this season. That even includes a game in which the Peacocks played down a man for the entire second half against Aston Villa. 

Better finishing is coming for the Peacocks, who have just 11 goals from 13.2 xG this season.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

My projections have Leeds as the better team in this match and once factoring in home field advantage, I make Leicester a small home favorite. However, it’s not enough to get to this line, and a suspension for Maddison only further blunts the underperforming Foxes' attack.

Leicester are middle of the league in pressure success rate allowed and ability to play through pressure. There are questions of whether Leeds can recreate that performance from last week away from home, but the Foxes aren't an elite passing team that will create overloads in midfield and overwhelm Leeds.

Take Leeds to get a result away from home as I expect them to continue improving as the season progresses and cannot say the same for Leicester.

The Pick: Leeds +0.25 (-110 via DraftKings)

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