Premier League Odds, Picks and Predictions: Leicester City vs. Sheffield United (Thursday, July 16)
Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamie Vardy celebrates with Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City.
Leicester vs. Sheffield United Odds
|Leicester odds||+100 [BET NOW]|
|Sheffield United odds||+310 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+230 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (+120/-148) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Thursday, 1 p.m. ET|
A huge match with European football implications takes place at the King Power Stadium on Thursday. Leicester is tied on points with Manchester United for the fourth and final Champions League spot. But the Foxes holds the goal differential tie breaker by three goals over United.
The Foxes cannot afford to drop points here, as this is their best opportunity left on the schedule to get a win. Sheffield United is looking to secure European football and can jump into a Europa League spot with a win on Thursday.
The Foxes’ form since the restart has put them in a precarious position to qualify for the Champions League. If they win this match, their match against Manchester United on the final day will most likely decide who qualifies for the Champions League.
Since the restart, the Foxes have taken just five points from their past six matches, but they’ve been a tad unlucky as they have won the expected goals battle, 8.63 to 8.59, in those matches.
Expected goals (also known as xG) is an advanced statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as luck or outstanding goalkeeping.
Brenden Rodgers’ men play out of a 4-1-4-1 formation, which is uncommon in modern day football. The formation’s success is reliant on passing triangles forming around the pitch, especially out wide. When working effectively, the five man front can overwhelm the opponents back line, creating a lot of 5-on-4 situations.
However, their opponent Sheffield United plays a three-man back line, so if Leicester can move the ball quickly through their passing triangles, they will have ample chances to score against Sheffield.
The Foxes have found a lot of success, boasting a +9.96 xGD, when playing out of the 4-1-4-1 formation this season. The Foxes’ front man Jamie Vardy has found a lot of success in the formation as well, bagging 23 goals and averaging 0.57 xG per 90 minutes for the season.
The Blades’ dream of European football is starting to look more realistic by the day. Sheffield United can leap frog both Tottenham and Wolves for the current final Europa League spot with a win on Thursday.
(Note: If Arsenal does not win the FA Cup, the seventh place team will qualify for the Europa League)
Sheffield is starting to find their form, winning three of their past four matches — including upsets against Chelsea and Wolves last week. However, if the Blades are going to qualify for the Europa League, they’re going to have to overcome their poor form on the road.
Sheffield United has earned just six points from its past eight matches on the road and have a -6.22 xGD in those matches. However, this is nothing new for the Blades as they’ve been poor on the road this season.
Sheffield United has struggled offensively away from home averaging 0.94 xGF per match, which ranks 17th in the Premier League. Defensively, they haven’t been much better letting in 1.54 xG for the season and 1.71 xG over their last eight matches on the road.
The Blades have looked great over their past four matches, but I think their run will end on Thursday.
Based on my model, I think this is a perfect buy-low spot for the Foxes:
- Leicester projected odds: -124 (55.41% win probability)
- Sheffield United projected odds: +410 (19.61%)
- Draw projected odds: +300 (24.98%)
- Leicester projected xG: 1.60
- Sheffield United projected xG: 0.93