Newcastle 2.915/8 v Leicester 2.68/5; The Draw 3.65
It has been a very difficult start to the season for new Newcastle United boss Steve McClaren following his arrival this summer. His side endured a miserable first couple of months after an eight-match winless run left them propping up the table. Early pressure was on McClaren as his side were bundled out of the Capital One Cup by Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday and thrashed 6-1 in the league at Manchester City.
But there have been signs in recent weeks of an upturn in form hinting at better days for the long suffering Toon Army. Newcastle got off the mark in the league with Georginio Wijnaldum netting four goals in a 6-2 thumping of Norwich City last month and the team showed a resilience too often lacking after grinding out a 1-0 win at Bournemouth in their last outing.
The Foxes remain the surprise package of the season and there appears to be no end in sight to their exceptional campaign under Claudio Ranieri. Leicester's great escape in the last campaign undoubtedly gave them momentum, but few could have forseen such a superb run which has taken them to third and just a point off the summit.
City have based their success on their attacking style which has seen them consistently outscore the opposition. Their defence has been breached plenty of times but the Foxes have netted in every single match this season. Arsenal are the only side to beat them in the league and Leicester are also undefeated away from home.
Although 15 points separates the teams in the table, the odds suggest it is very difficult to split the teams at St James' Park this weekend. Leicester are rightly favourites but are uneasy ones at 2.68/5 as there is always a concern that their early season form could tail off at some point.
Newcastle are priced up slightly bigger at 2.915/8 and there are some that think the team could climb swiftly up the table starting with a win against Leicester. But backing a team with just two league victories to their name requires a leap of faith and the value just is not there against such an in-form side. If you fancy the hosts and want a safety net, there could be worse options than draw no bet at 2.111/10 but the match odds do not appeal strongly for either side.
A rule of thumb for betting on Leicester matches this season has been to go for goals and I see no reason to shy away from this again. Ranieri's side have kept just one clean sheet all season and every away match has seen both teams score. Understandably this has not been missed by the layers and both teams to net is predictably short at 1.625/8. You won't get rich backing this but profit is the name of the game and this looks a very safe bet.
There is every chance of a high scoring contest with three of Leicester's last four away league matches producing at least four goals. Two of Newcastle's last five games saw them either score or ship six goals so entertainment is on the cards. Over 3.5 goals is only available at 2.89/5 which looks quite skinny. Another alternative is the low risk option of laying under 3.5 goals at 1.564/7.
One player that cannot be ignored again is the unstoppable Jamie Vardy. The England striker is bidding to score for the tenth consecutive Premier League game after a remarkable run of 11 goals in the last nine matches. There is some doubt about his fitness after missing international duty with a hip injury but the bet will be void if he is not involved at all. Vardy is in the form of his life and if he starts you cannot pick holes in odds of 2.47/5 to score.
To be shown a card
This is not a market I normally get involved in but it looks too good to ignore when the match features certain players. Aleksandar Mitrovic has proved a liability for Newcastle since joining this summer. The Serbia striker has been sent off once and booked six times for club and country this season. Mitrovic always looks capable of blowing up and the chances of him being shown a card remain reasonably high.
Back Jamie Vardy to score at 2.47/5
Back both teams to score at 1.625/8
Lay under 3.5 goals at 1.564/7
Back Aleksandar Mitrovic to be shown a card at 2.829/5
Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster
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