Leicester City vs. Manchester United Odds, Pick & Preview: Will Both Offenses Push Pace in EPL Matchup?

Leicester City vs. Manchester United Odds, Pick & Preview: Will Both Offenses Push Pace in EPL Matchup? article feature image
Credit:

Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Manchester United forward Jadon Sancho.

  • Leicester City welcomes Manchester United to King Power Stadium for a Premier League matchup on Saturday morning (10 a.m. ET, USA Network).
  • Neither side was playing well prior to the international break, going winless in four combined matches.
  • Anthony Dabbundo breaks down his Leicester vs. Man United pick below.

Leicester City vs. Man United Odds

Leicester City Odds +245
Man U Odds +110
Draw +260
Over/Under 2.5 (-135 / +115)
Day | Time Saturday | 10 a.m. ET
How To Watch USA Network | fuboTV
Odds last updated at 8 a.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get live soccer odds here.

As recently as 2020, Leicester City traveled to Old Trafford on the final day of the season needing a win to usurp Manchester United from the top four places and secure its spot in the Champions League.

Leicester lost that day and completed its collapse from the top four. In 2021, Leicester once again sat in the top four for most of the season before faltering late and falling out on the final day of the season in a loss to Spurs.

This year, LCFC’s performances and early season results suggest that Leicester won’t be anywhere near the top four race in the English top flight. Two wins in the first three games masked terrible underlying numbers and the Foxes have now won none of their last four PL matches. Draws with Crystal Palace and Burnley followed losses to Manchester City and Brighton.

Their opponent on Saturday is one of the more puzzling teams in the Premier League. Clearly top four based on underlying numbers, Manchester United has not been tested with games against any of the big six sides. They’ve produced very similar xG difference numbers to last season despite adding Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.

United has been a really difficult team to project this season, but the leaky defenses at both ends of the pitch lead to my numbers showing value on the over in this matchup.

Leicester City Defense Still Vulnerable

Leicester’s attack is trending in the right direction after a poor start to the 2021-22 season. At one point, they were in the bottom five of box entries, shots per 90 and shot creating actions. The team struggled to muster much of anything going forward and was held under 10 shots in each of the first four games of the season.

The last three games, Leicester has produced six expected goals, five actual goals and improved its ball progression numbers. The Foxes are now up to seventh in NPxG and ninth in penalty area entries. They’ve gotten almost nothing in crossing from their fullbacks, which is surprising, and most of the attack has been funneled through the middle of the pitch.

Despite the improved offense, though, the defense is struggling mightily. Its defense has allowed the fewest big scoring chances, but is 14th in shots allowed and 13th in NPxG allowed. This is concerning because it’s likely one of those numbers is misleading and it’s much more likely to be the few number of big scoring chances allowed that’s going to worsen. Leicester doesn’t really do anything special defensively to prevent these chances from being created.

Add in that LCFC’s defense is 17th in box entries allowed and 18th in crosses allowed and the result is easy ball progression and chance creation for Manchester United in this game.

Man United’s Roller Coaster Season Continues

Manchester United has been arguably the most inconsistent team from week to week in the league thus far. Despite a weak schedule, United has combined mediocre games against West Ham United, Aston Villa and Everton with dazzling displays against Leeds United and Newcastle United.

The Red Devils haven’t played any of the league’s elite yet and that will change in the next two months, but Leicester is unlikely the team to really expose the weaknesses in United.

United has easily progressed the ball into the area against worse teams thus far and given how little resistance LCFC has offered, the Red Devils should pile up possession in dangerous areas and shots. United is third in box entries and shots, but just sixth in non-penalty xG. Attacks are breaking down for them inside the opponent penalty area and that’s when they’ve been quite vulnerable defensively.

The Red Devils have conceded at least one expected goal in six of their last seven games in the Premier League and Champions League. David de Gea is running really hot defensively at shot stopping and preventing United from conceding more goals, but that won’t last forever.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

My projection for this game puts the total at 2.99 goals, as Manchester United’s defense has seen significant issues defending in transition. That’s where Leicester has been most effective on the attack this season as well.

Both teams should be able to get on the board, and while my projection for the full game shows no value on the three-way moneyline, I like over 2.5 goals at -135 or better. United’s attack has had no issues getting the ball into the penalty area and getting chances, so the expected goals and goals usually come soon thereafter given how effective the ball progression has been.

However, the Red Devils will be vulnerable to the Foxes’ improving attack at the other end and that should make this an open, entertaining match with plenty of chances and goals.

Pick: Total Over 2.5 Goals (-135 or better)

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