Leicester City (+433) at Liverpool (-159), Draw (+300)
Leicester City (1-1-1, 4 pts), last year’s storybook squad, are having a hard time recreating the magic that brought them an EPL title last season. The Foxes have just four points through three fixtures and now have to hit the road for a tough test at Anfield against a dangerous Liverpool side (1-1-1, 4pts) this Saturday (12:30 PM Eastern).
Leicester were tremendous at both ends of the pitch last year, scoring 68 goals (third in the league) while conceding just 36 (tied for third). The defense has been decent through the first three fixtures this year, giving up three tallies in three matches, but the offense has only mustered three of its own.
Leicester were shocked in their season opener by Hull City (2-1 away), earned a point at home against Arsenal (0-0), and then finally got their first win of the season over Swansea (2-1 home). Jamie Vardy, last season’s top EPL scorer, broke his goose-egg in the win, notching his first of the season in the 32nd minute.
The absence of N’Golo Kante has been noticeable early in the season. The defensive-minded midfielder was sold to Chelsea in the summer, and Leicester has suffered for it. They’ll likely miss him all the more against Liverpool’s attack. The Reds have an identical 1-1-1 record through three fixtures, but have scored six goals on the year. They started the season in impressive fashion, upsetting Arsenal 4-3 on the road.
They weren’t able to carry the momentum forward, losing to Burnley the next week (2-0 road). But a draw (1-1) at Tottenham last time out was a decent result. Now they finally return home for their first game of the year at Anfield, where they haven’t lost to Leicester in over 15 years (4-1-0 since 1999-2000).
Each team was able to win in their home stadium last year, and I expect that trend to continue this season. Leicester were great on the road in 2015-16 (11-6-2 overall) but this is clearly not the same Foxes team that took the entire league by storm last year. Liverpool will exploit their depleted midfield and earn an important three points at home.
Pick: Liverpool (-159).
Photo credit: Ruaraidh Gillies, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.