Leicester City entertain Burnley on Sunday evening in the Premier League on BBC One, and Alan Dudman is backing the hosts to cover the Handicap...
"In conclusion, Leicester's quality should be far superior against a Burnley team that only scored 26 goals from open play last term."
Leicester City v Burnley
Sunday 20th September 19:00
Live on BBC One
Foxes can aim for a top four finish again
Leicester started their Premier League campaign last weekend with a comfortable 0-3 success at West Brom, a triumph that was their biggest away victory since New Year's Day.
The Baggies played into their hands a little by adopting a back three/five under an ultra-defensive strategy, and with just one shot on target, Leicester's new-look back-four wasn't exactly tested. On that evidence, Slaven Bilic's side will struggle to stay in the top flight this term. With a snapshot of just one game, it's impossible to judge whether the Foxes are Champions League material, but they certainly had the swagger of one before tamely dropping away a few months ago.
City can be backed at 9.6017/2 for a Top Four Finish and look interesting with +31 on the Handicap at 19.018/1.
Of course we shouldn't get too carried away by last week's performance, but I like the way Rodgers plays as the hallmark of his teams are fast and aggressive with quicksilver ball rotation. New signing Timothy Castagne slotted in perfectly at the Hawthorns for his PL debut, and the 24yo Belgian looked at home with his attacking sorties from full-back.
Rodgers moved Wilfrid Ndidi back to centre-half last weekend alongside Caglar Soyuncu, with the latter the only member to play against West Brom who was a regular part of the defence from the previous campaign.
Clarets might struggle to replicate last season's efforts
Burnley didn't have a game in MD1 so the only run-out for the new campaign was the midweek EFL Cup match against Sheffield United - in which they secured a third round berth thanks to a penalty shoot-out victory.
However, it's off the field that is perhaps a cause for concern with the continued bids from West Ham for defender James Tarkowski. Clarets boss Sean Dyche has repeatedly outlined that it will have to be "considerable money" to lure the 27-year-old away from Turf Moor, but the Hammers seem to determined to get their man with the most recent bid of £30million.
Dyche has admitted he operates under tough transfer guidelines, so replacing Tarkowski, if he leaves, will be difficult. Losing players after lockdown and the need for reinforcements puts them in a completely different situation to the hosts.
Hosts unsurprisingly long odds-on for victory
Backers of Burnley usually get rewarded with a decent price when they win, and that's the case again here with a massive 6.05/1 on offer for the visitors. It's a price that completely underrates them, and that is often dangerous considering both games in the head-to-head last season ended with a 2-1 home victory for each.
Indeed, for the fixture at Turf Moor last season (which Burnley won 2-1), Leicester were priced up at 1.9210/11, so they are capable of defying the odds, but Burnley have to beat the Opta stat here; as the Foxes have lost their opening home game in just one of their last 13 PL campaigns (W7 D5).
Backing the hosts for this at 1.674/6 is about the price to be expected, but it's the sort of number that layers might opt to have a go at considering their 15th position in "Project Restart". Did they just run out of gas? Will the break have freshened them up?
I am hoping James Maddison starts following a cameo from the bench against against the Baggies. He's nearing full fitness and is integral to how Rodgers wants to play higher up the pitch. And will he be able to play in the same eleven as Youri Tielemans? Add to the mix Jamie Vardy's goals and Harvey Barnes - who can frustrate and excite at the same time. The one criticism that has been levelled at the winger is the lack of goals in comparison to number of shots, but Leicester look a better team when he plays, and for me, he works ever so well with the wing-backs allowed to overlap.
In conclusion, Leicester's quality should be far superior against a Burnley team that only scored 26 goals from open play last term. The 1.674/6 is clearly too short, therefore the 2.1011/10 on Leicester in the Asian Handicap -1 looks a sounder bet as I do think the hosts are capable of outscoring Burnley.
Both can score on last season's evidence
On the evidence of the pair of 2-1 scorelines in 2019/20, the 1.981/1 on offer this time around for Both Teams To Score will attract plenty. Although it's perhaps a little bigger than normal with the perception that Dyche's team might not be as strong this time around. The speculation around Tarkowski certainly doesn't help.
The strange twist from the 2-1's was the fact that both winning teams recorded a lower xG. When City won 2-1 their xG was 0.83, likewise Burnley's home success of the same score saw them hit 1.51 compared to Leicester's 1.92 away.
Holding me back slightly from the bet is the stat that the Clarets drew five blanks last season and only scored 19 away, which points me to the Under 3.5 Goals markets.
We might take a hit on price, but it covers the 2-1 either way and it's difficult to envisage Burnley scoring twice at the King Power. Leciester are also unbeaten in nine home league games against Burnley (W5 D4).
Golden Boot Vardy to add to his Baggies' brace?
The Golden Boot holder Jamie Vardy started where he left off last season with a brace of penalties against West Brom. The 33-year-old still has the pace and the knack inside the box, and it's easy to understand a price at around 1.8810/11 in the To Score market. With his high conversion rate of shots, he has netted more times than any other player since the start of the Premier League last season.
Chris Wood could have a say for the visitors, his 14 goals from the previous campaign is not too shabby at all. He's scored in his last three PL matches too.
Back Leicester City -1 v Burnley @ 2.1011/10