Premier League Soccer Picks: Liverpool vs. Leicester

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, December 31, 2014 6:28 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 6:28 PM UTC

Liverpool is looking to right the ship and what better way to stay on a roll and snag three points than with Leicester City coming to town on New Year’s Day? The Reds should roll here in a very good betting opportunity.

Odds Overview
Liverpool vs. Leicester City, Thursday 15:00 (NBC Sports Live Extra. Premier League Extra Time (US), 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT): Last-place Leicester City (3-4-12, 17 GF-31 GA) picked the wrong week to head to Anfield to play eighth-place Liverpool (8-4-7, 26 GF-25 GA), not that the Foxes pose any real particular threat to English Premier League clubs on the road so far this season. And remember the name Leicester City because you probably won’t have to be using it against next season as the Foxes will most likely be relegated, despite actually ending a 13-game winless streak in their last outing.

Odds makers have made hosts Liverpool healthy -250 favorites on our soccer odds in the Three-Way (Winner) marketplace in this one with Leicester City heavy +800 underdogs and the Draw priced at a robust +400 (bet365). The Total Goals is set at 2½ with some very high juice (-166, bet365) on the Over, so expect to see 3’s in your betting shop or offshore sportsbook by gametime. The Both Teams To Score odds for this match have the Yes priced at -125 (William Hill, No -105).

Some prop wagers to look at: Winning Margin Liverpool by 3 is +550 (Paddy Power); Over 3½ +150 and Over 4½ +333 (bet365); and, Match Result and Both Teams To Score Liverpool is priced at +200 (William Hill).

Leicester City FC
Leicester City (2-0-8 Away, 5 GF-16 GA) manager Nigel Pearson enjoyed seeing goalkeeper Ben Hamer register the clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Hull City on Sunday in Week 19 play at KC Stadium in Kingston upon Hull in a fixture in which the 10-man Foxes Riyad Mahrez had the game’s only goal and a welcome and lucky result that ended a 13-match winless streak for Leicester City. But the Foxes still sit in last place (20th) in the English Premier League table with just 13 points and will have to worry about being relegated and playing nervous from here on out. And they will. One big reason this team finds itself in the situation it’s now in is the problem scoring goals on the road—Leicester City has tallied just 5 away goals so far and the 31 goals the Foxes have allowed heading into this game ties them for last in England’s top flight of soccer with poor, poor Everton.

Striker Leonardo Ulloa (7 goals) is Leicester City’s only real scoring threat—he’s priced at +240 in the Anytime Goalscorer marketplace—while David Nugent (1 goal, +260 Anytime Goalscorer), Chris Wood (1 goal, +330 Anytime Goalscorer), Jamie Vardy (2 goals, +300 Anytime Goalscorer), Mahrez (2 goals) and midfielder Jack Barmby (+500 Anytime Goalscorer) have chipped in where they could but 1 or 2 goalw at the 19-game point in the season isn’t impressive at all, especially considering Liverpool’s Adam Lallana bagged 2 goals on Monday in Liverpool’s 4-1 thrashing of Swansea City at Anfield in the final match of the first half of the EPL season.

The last time Leicester City beat Liverpool was way back in 2001 (2-0 at home), so, a last-place team that can’t score on the road heading to Anfield against a hungry and now motivated Reds bunch? This seems like a very good game to bet on and from a number of different angles.

Liverpool FC
Liverpool (4-4-2 Home, 13 GF-9 GA) looked really good on Monday, beating Swansea City here at Anfield, 4-1 as Adam Lallana (2 goals vs. Swans) and Philippe Coutinho had strong games and the Reds—still playing without injured striker Daniel Sturridge—looked much like they did for parts of last season with fluid passing and incredible confidence on the attack. The injury to Sturridge and the loss of superstar Luis Suárez has hurt this Liverpool team much and manager Brendan Rodgers seems to be in the proverbial Hot Seat at the moment, but this Reds roster is chock full o’ talent and once this team starts playing consistently as a unit, they may be dangerous, despite Rodgers. But the poor start and 7 losses has dug a deep hole for this team who obviously prefer The Beatles over The Rolling Stones.

Along with the Asian Handicap marketplace, this appears to be an ideal game in which to try to take a shot in the Anytime Goalscorer market with Liverpool potentially being able to put up 3, maybe 4 goals in this one against overmatched Leicester City.
In odds order, potential Liverpool scorers here include Mario Balotelli (-105)—still looking for his first Premier League goal as still as crazy as a loon—Rickie Lambert (+120), sparkplug Raheem Sterling (4 goals, +137), Fabio Borini (+137), the aforementioned Southampton-acquiree Lallana (+137)—who, along with Balotelli, seems like a good bet here—20-year-old Serbian sensation Lazar Markovic (+185), Coutinho (2 goals, +200) and defender Martin Skrtel (1 goal, +650). Once Sturridge returns, this team, which also has the likes of Steven Gerrard (3 goals), Alberto Moreno (2 goals), Jordan Henderson (2 goals), Glenn Johnson (1 goal) and Emre Can (1 goal), will be one to watch but goalkeeping problems could probably continue to haunt Liverpool .

When these two played in Leicester at King Power Stadium almost a month ago (Dec 2), Liverpool rolled 3-1 as longtime captain Gerrard, Henderson and Lallana all scored for the victorious Reds. And this game in the friendly confines of The Kop could evolve into a very similar affair.

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Best Betting Approaches and Trends
Just-promoted Leicester City hasn’t been up in the Premier League long enough to have any real relevant trends against Liverpool as most of them stretch back more than a decade. Anyway, Liverpool is 3-1-1 in its 5 games with Leicester (8-7 goals) here at home at Anfield and the Reds are 8-5-4 overall in 17 series meetings with the Foxes (22 GF-15 GA). The last time these two played here in Merseyside was almost 12 years ago when Liverpool escaped with a 2-1 victory.

With Leicester City being so bad on the road, Liverpool figuratively foaming at the mouth now and seemingly clicking on offense and Balotelli probably literally foaming at the mouth because he can’t put the ball in the net, a perfect storm of Reds Angst has been built and Sterling and Lallana and Coutino and Balotelli should all have confidence-building and productive games here against lowly Leicester City. This one could get ugly early on Thursday and expect Liverpool to look good for a third straight time and to start trying to make a move up the league table this second half of the Premier League season. Vaya con Los Rojos.

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Prediction: Liverpool 4 Leicester City 1

Free Soccer Picks: Liverpool -250, Over 2½ -166, Liverpool -2 +200, Adam Lallana Anytime Goalscorer +137 (bet365), Both Teams To Score Yes -120 (BetVictor)

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