Saturday Premier League Odds, Picks & Predictions: How to Bet Leicester City vs. Manchester United (Dec. 26)
Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Martial (left) and Marcus Rashford.
- Manchester United's roller coaster season has landed them in third place heading into Boxing Day weekend.
- The Red Devils can pull within two points of league-leading Liverpool with a win over Leicester and the bookmakers have made Manchester United the favorite on Saturday. Should bettors ride with United?
- Matt Trebby previews Leicester City vs. Manchester United.
Leicester City vs. Manchester United Odds
|Leicester City Odds||+205 [BET NOW]|
|Manchester United Odds||+125 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+260 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-148/+120) [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 a.m. ET|
Boxing Day fixtures rarely get better than this. Nos. 2 and 3 in the Premier League table will meet bright and early at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as Leicester City hosts Manchester United.
The two sides enter this fixture in relatively good form. Leicester have won three of their past four games, while United are red hot at the moment. The Red Devils have dropped just two points over their last seven games, which have seen them win six and draw Manchester City.
Leicester enter this game one point above United and four behind Liverpool. A win would leave the loser even further behind the sensational Reds early in the season.
Let’s find some value:
For most of the season, this has been a different Leicester City squad than the one that looked to be Liverpool’s closest title challengers early last season. That team, built around Youri Tielemans and James Maddison in midfield, looked to keep the ball a bit more than teams with Jamie Vardy up top usually do.
In this new campaign, the old smash-and-grab Leicester City is back.
It’s co-star: the penalty kick.
The Foxes have been awarded nine penalty kicks through 14 games this season, scoring eight of them. Vardy has six of those, while Tielemans has two.
To be fair to Leicester, they have gotten only one in their past four games — the opening goal in an impressive 2-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday. That result showed that Leicester are beginning to show signs of last season’s creative team.
The difference: a fit Maddison. The 24-year-old Englishman was not fit for most of Project Restart, which was a huge reason the Foxes missed out on a top-four finish. He has started these past four league games, scoring twice in a 3-0 win over Brighton.
Still, the reliance on penalties to get results is startling. Leicester’s non-penalty expected goal difference is -2.05. That’s 11th in the Premier League. That’s so low that it’s only 0.55 better than Arsenal.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team is on fire at the moment in the Premier League. Since a Nov. 1 loss to Arsenal (what an embarrassing result that is to look back on), United have scored 19 goals in seven games and climbed to third in the table.
The Red Devils have been particularly smoldering away from home. United have won their last four road games while scoring exactly three goals in each. In their last game, a 6-2 win over Leeds United at Old Trafford, Solskjaer’s men were especially scintillating.
Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford have paced the attack this season, each with five goals not from the penalty spot (Fernandes’ total is nine if you count his four penalties) and the duo has a combined nine assists, as well.
One potential concern is that United are still conceding plenty of chances. The Red Devils allowed two goals in each of their last two games against Sheffield United and Leeds, with the combined xGA total coming in at 3.42.
It’s tough to bet against United in such a run of form, especially when they’re getting plus odds against a team that is not going to have them overmatched in the talent department.
While Leicester will be a tough out, I expect United to draw first blood in the Premier League on Boxing Day and get all three points.
Don’t overthink this. Take the Red Devils’ moneyline at +128.
Pick: Manchester United ML +128