Leicester City vs. West Bromwich Albion Best Bets
Last Time Out:
Leicester City lost 2-0 to Manchester United; West Bromwich Albion drew 2-2 with Queens Park Rangers.
Leicester City defeated West Brom 4-1 on March 10, 2018, at The Hawthorns.
About the Matchup:
It's Week 1 of the NFL today, but before you get your bets in on football, there's money to be made on European football, as the Premier League continues its opening weekend. West Bromwich Albion makes its return to England's top league after spending two years in the Championship. They've drawn a tricky opener in a Leicester City side that has to feel like it threw away a Champions League place last season.
In truth, these two sides endured a similar poor run of form after the pandemic hit, as Leicester saw its top-four place fade away, finally getting caught by Manchester United and Chelsea on the final day of the season. West Brom also endured a rough post-quarantine reality, as the Baggies slipped out of first place in England's second-tier and had to hold on for dear life to a promotion place. Unlike Leicester, West Brom kept what it wanted most, which means only one side is going to view this match as a chance for redemption. Can West Brom show that it belongs at this level as Premier League soccer returns to The Hawthorns?
Scouting Leicester City:
When COVID struck, Leicester City looked like a certain bet to qualify for the Champions League. The Foxes were a secure third place behind Liverpool and Manchester City, and they hadn't spent a day lower than third place since October. But when play resumed, Leicester was not the same team that had looked like one of the best in Europe. Post-quarantine, the Foxes won twice in nine matches and failed to win in their final eight road matches. Instead of third place and a Champions League windfall, Leicester fell to fifth and the Europa League.
At one of the blue-bloods of England, that finish would have cost Brendan Rodgers his job. But Leicester knows that it's still a relatively new power and is a lot more patient, so Rodgers will get another chance to make the most out of this side. It could be tough sledding for the Foxes early, however, as injuries have really decimated Rodgers' preferred lineup. Midfielder James Maddison won't be playing Sunday, and defenders Wes Morgan and Filip Bencovic aren't likely to suit up either. That means Jamie Vardy will have even more on his shoulders than usual, which could make it challenging for Leicester to get a result.
Scouting West Bromwich Albion:
They're known as the “Boing-Boing Baggies” for a reason, as West Brom has already been relegated from the Premier League on four separate occasions. Twice, West Brom has gone straight back down to the Championship after its first season back in the Premier League, and the Baggies are strong bets to do it again, as most people expect them to finish 19th at best.
That's in large part to the way West Brom finished last season, as the Baggies returned from quarantine as a mess, winning just three of their final 11 games in the Championship. Only an outstanding start to the season kept West Brom from throwing away its Premier League place, as the Baggies were still able to hold on to second.
The good news for West Brom is that the man who stepped up when it mattered most last year, Callum Robinson, will remain in a Baggies shirt. Robinson came down to West Brom on loan last year, and the Irishman's three goals down the stretch were vital to West Brom's promotion. The Baggies officially brought him in from Sheffield United on a permanent basis, and he's now likely to be the focus of the West Brom attack. That should free up aging forwards Charlie Austin and Hal Robson-Kanu as secondary options, which could help West Brom develop a Premier League-level attack. However, that's going to take time.
Dan's Best Bets:
Leicester isn't at full strength, and West Brom has plenty of motivation in its first game back in the Premier League. As such, this is a perfect time to take the Baggies on a double chance at -129. West Brom has played Leicester tough in the past, as three of the last five matchups have either resulted in a draw or a West Brom victory.
Given that history, I think the best bet on the board is a draw and both teams to score. I don't expect a ton of goals given that Kasper Schmeichel remains a world-class keeper for Leicester, but I think West Brom has enough to find a goal before all is said and done, considering that Leicester will start a patchwork defense. I don't think you need to worry about a scoreless draw in this matchup; I can't see Leicester managing a shutout with so many starters missing. But if you want to play it safe, taking +260 isn't a bad price to do so by any means.
Finally, I'd throw a dart on Callum Robinson, scoring the first goal of the match. Robinson is likely to get most of the chances for West Brom, yet he's going off at +1000 to open the scoring. That's a gamble that's absolutely worth a couple of dollars.