Saturday Premier League Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Leeds United vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Jan. 2)
Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images. Pictured: Tottenham Hotspur star Heung-min Son.
- Despite being in a poor run of form, Tottenham Hotspur is an odds-on favorite to defeat Leeds United on Saturday in Premier League action.
- Considering Leeds' high-variance style, Michael Leboff thinks there's more value backing Spurs to win by multiple goals instead of just to win.
- Leboff breaks down the match and gives his reasons why he supports that angle below.
Spurs vs. Leeds Odds
|Spurs Odds||-134 [BET NOW]|
|Leeds Odds||+340 [BET NOW]|
|Draw||+300 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-115/-108) [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET|
|How to Watch||NBCSN|
Saturday’s match between Leeds and Tottenham Hotspur features two very different teams coached by two very different iconic managers. Jose Mourinho and Marcelo Bielsa are two of the world’s most famous soccer minds and they are both maniacal, but the two giants approach the game from opposite ends of the tactical textbook.
Bielsa prefers his side to overwhelm the opposition with an all-out press. Like a swarm of footballing bees, Leeds are relentless and don’t stop until someone scores. Then they do it all over again. No matter the opponent, no matter the stakes, Bielsa’s men will seem like they’re all over the pitch, because they are.
While Leeds are, without question, the most entertaining side to watch in the Premier League, Spurs are at the end of the spectrum. Mourinho wants his side to be ruthless, clinical and resolute — or as he says “to be bastards” — and is happy to sacrifice entertainment value so long as he comes away with three points at the end of the game.
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.
Leeds United have taken a unique path to get to a .500 record and a net even goal differential. You’d think that their chaotic style would lead to some wonky results, but the Peacocks are 7-2-7 (W-D-L) with 30 goals scored and 30 goals allowed. They are fifth in the Premier with 1.81 goals per 90 minutes and second-to-last with 1.81 goals allowed per 90. It’s truly remarkable that this complete outlier has found a way to be the definition of mediocrity in the table.
What isn’t mediocre is the way that Leeds create scoring chances. The Peacocks create 1.63 non-penalty expected goals (npxG) per 90 minutes, which is the second-best mark in the Premier League. Of course that offense comes at a price as only one team allows more npxG/90 than Leeds. Roller coaster.
Leeds are in a decent patch of form with three wins from their last four matches. Those wins, however, came against Newcastle, Burnley and West Brom, three of the worst teams in the league. It should also be noted that Leeds’ 1-0 win over Burnley was pretty fortunate, as the Clarets out-played the Peacocks in the second half and probably deserved at least a draw. Even so, Leeds still generated 2.13 xG against a sturdy Burnley defense.
One thing that West Brom, Newcastle and Burnley have in common is a lack of offensive firepower. Leeds typically can swat aside lower-level teams that don’t threaten them going forward. Of their five wins, only Everton and Aston Villa rank inside the top-half of the Premier League in goals scored and xG created. In fact, five of their seven wins came against teams ranked 14th through 20th in goals this season.
Tottenham rank eighth in goals and 10th in non-penalty expected goals per 90 minutes this season.
After a bright start to the season Spurs have sputtered and now find themselves fading fast from a once-promising title race. Tottenham have not won any of their last four matches, going 0-2-2 against Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Leicester and Wolverhampton.
Although Spurs acquitted themselves pretty well in the 1-0 loss to Liverpool, none of those results were out of order according to the xG models. In fact, Tottenham sport a -1.27 xG differential over their last four contests.
Under Jose Mourinho, Tottenham have turned into a counterpunching side. Mourinho wants his team to absorb pressure, pounce on a mistake and spring a counter-attack before the opponent has time to get settled. A lot of pundits and fans complain that this style is boring, but it can be effective. Not too long ago, Spurs were on top of the league and their mercurial manager was being praised.
This match has all the right ingredients for Spurs to be able to execute a Mourinho Masterclass. Leeds will certainly test Tottenham’s defense in the early going, but the Peacocks are prone to turnovers and defensive mistakes, so there should be plenty of opportunities for Harry Kane and Heung-min Son to finish off counter-attacks.
People love to sling the term “get-right game” around in the NFL or college football when a really good team plays a weak one, but I think the contrasting styles in this match set up Spurs for a “get-right game” since the conditions should be too their liking.
Bookmakers installed Tottenham as odds-on favorites for this match and they took some money to shorten to -134 after sitting at -115 earlier in the week. Part of the line movement may come down to being the more rested side after Spurs had their midweek match with Fulham postponed. That said, I do think Tottenham will win this match.
Leeds’ high-risk, high-reward style could play right into Tottenham’s hands and I expect there to be plenty of opportunities for Kane and Son to put Spur
Instead of laying the juice, I think a bet on Spurs to win by multiple goals makes sense. Although Tottenham haven’t been featured in many blowouts lately — only two of their last 11 matches have been decided by more than one goal — I think if Spurs do win, it’s likely to be by multiple goals.
And while Tottenham may not participate in many barnstormers, Leeds certainly do. Matches involving Leeds average 3.75 total goals in 2020/21, easily the highest mark in the league. Additionally, three of their last four games featured winning margins of at least three goals.
Bielsa-ball is ripe for chaos, which leads to more variance. I think 2/1 odds on Spurs to win by at least 2 goals is a great bet for this showdown.
The Bet: Spurs -1.5 (+200)