Leicester City vs. Wolves Odds, Pick, Betting Prediction: Expect Slugfest in Premier League Opener (Aug. 14)
Alex Pantling – The FA via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamie Vardy.
- Leicester City open their new season at home against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday morning.
- The Foxes hope to finally break into the top four this season, while Wolves have a new manager in Bruno Lage.
- Matthew Trebby breaks down his Leicester vs. Wolves pick below.
Leicester City vs. Wolves Odds
|Leicester City Odds||-145|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+102 / -124)|
|Day | Time||Saturday | 10 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||NBCSN | fuboTV|
|Odds updated Friday afternoon via FanDuel.|
And we’re back.
After a fantastic summer of soccer with the Euros, Copa America and much more, the Premier League is back. This matchup between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers should provide plenty of intrigue.
At the end of each of the past two seasons, Leicester have lost chances to finish in the top four on the last day of the season. After some intriguing summer recruitment, the Foxes will look to break through again.
Wolves, meanwhile, have a new manager after Nuno Espírito Santo moved on, although it looks like their signature 3-4-3 is here to stay.
Let’s break down both teams and find where the betting value lies.
Foxes Hope to Finally Break Through
Leicester have already had the injury bug hit them big time, as defender Wesley Fofana, coming off a fantastic debut season in the Premier League, suffered a broken leg during a preseason friendly and is likely out for the season. Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard has been tabbed to replace him.
Otherwise, the two big summer signings are striker Patson Daka from Red Bull Salzburg and midfielder Boubakary Soumaré, who won Ligue 1 last season with Lille.
Daka scored 61 goals in all competitions over the past two seasons for Salzburg, and the 22-year-old could present real competition in the side for Jamie Vardy. I’d expect Vardy to start alongside Kelechi Iheanacho, who was Leicester’s star man last season, but Vardy’s numbers indicate he’s on the way down.
Vardy is 34 years old and scored 15 goals last season, although a staggering eight of those were penalty kicks. He scored seven from open play from a possible 13.09 non-penalty expected goals (NPxG).
Like Vardy, Iheanacho and winger Harvey Barnes, whose fitness will be a big boost for Leicester, also overachieved in terms of expected goals. Leicester finished fifth with a +18 goal difference last season, but their non-penalty expected goal difference (NPxGD) was just +5.65, which ranked ninth in the league behind even Arsenal.
Leicester lined up in a 4-2-3-1 against Manchester City in last week’s Community Shield, with James Maddison sitting behind Vardy in the middle of the pitch. It’s a more attacking lineup that could see Leicester’s xG totals improve this season.
It’s not encouraging to see Vardy as the point of attack, though. If the Foxes are going to play with one striker and a midfield with Maddison and Youri Tielemans, Iheanacho should be the lone frontman. I’m not optimistic for Leicester if this is their setup throughout the season.
There’s not much to take away from the Foxes’ 1-0 win over City at Wembley Stadium last week. The reigning Premier League champions had very little available in attack and didn’t mount much of a threat against Leicester.
Wolves Get Their Striker Back
Wolves went with what got them to the dance in terms of replacing Nuno, which of course is looking to Portugal.
Bruno Lage replaces the new Tottenham manager, having left Benfica after the 2019-20 season. Lage won the Portuguese Primeira Liga in 2019.
Lage does have experience in England, having served as an assistant manager at Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City from 2015-18. That will be seen as a plus, no doubt, for a club that has thus far been very stable in the Premier League.
This Wolves squad is built to play with three at the back. Willy Boly, captain Conor Coady and Romain Saïss are institutions in the Wolves back three, although the promising Ki-Jana Hoever could be in line to start taking some playing time in the third spot.
The rest of the Wolves team is going to look very similar, and it’s good to see Raúl Jiménez back up top. After a head injury last winter ended his season, the Mexican striker is back to scoring goals this preseason and will likely be the target man for this one.
Alongside him, there’s a promising bunch of attackers. Francisco Trincão is the most noteworthy summer signing (on loan from Barcelona, along with goalkeeper José Sá to replace Rui Patrício. Trincão will compete with Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence, Fábio Silva and Adama Traoré for starts.
Trincão, Neto, Podence and Silva are all relatively similar. No one is like Traoré physically and in terms of his pace, but a lack of end product has made it tough to really build around him in recent years.
Wolves disappointed last season with a 13th-place finish and -16 goal difference, although their -10.53 NPxGD indicates they deserved slightly better. Expect them to be better going forward with Jiménez back, giving those quick attackers a true target in the 18-yard box.
Betting Analysis & Pick
While Jiménez is back, Wolves are not a dynamic attacking team. Since returning to the Premier League, they have always looked to beat teams on the counter attack. Leicester was pretty similar in their approach last season.
Last season was also very profitable for people who like to live on the edge and bet the under. I’m surprised the under is not a bigger number. There was just one goal between these teams’ two Premier League meetings last season.
I’d play the under up to -140, and the best number you can get is currently on FanDuel at -124.
Pick: Under 2.5 goals (-124)