Leeds vs. Liverpool Odds
|Over/Under||3.5 (+130/ -160)|
|Day | Time||Sunday | 11:30 a.m. ET|
|How To Watch||NBCSN | fuboTV|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here|
The Premier League only has one match on Sunday after Saturday’s eight-match slate, and it’s two of the most entertaining watches in the entire top flight Liverpool travels to Leeds United to try to keep its unbeaten PL start alive after the Reds won two games and drew one prior to the international break.
Leeds has had a difficult start to its second season since returning to the PL with a defeat to Manchester United and consecutive draws with Everton and Burnley. Defense continues to be an issue for the Peacocks after they finished the 2020-21 campaign with the second worst defense by expected goals.
Given Leeds’ defensive issues and my projection for the match, I see value in Liverpool to take all three points, even as an odds-on road favorite.
_PromoID=[5576, 1217, 5577]
Leeds Has Issues Defending Top Teams
Many fans and media marveled at the attacking numbers that Leeds United was able to put up in their first season in the Premier League in more than a decade. But that was last year, and this is a new year, and Leeds’ defensive issues appear to be more long-lasting.
Leeds really struggled to prevent average attacking sides from creating high-quality chances against them. The Peacocks struggled in the preseason defensively against lesser sides, and that has continued into the new season after they allowed 1.7 expected goals to Burnley and 2.2 expected goals to Everton. Neither of the sides are expected to be in the top 10 attacking sides in the league.
While some of their 5-1 loss to Manchester United can be chalked up to a great United shooting day, that match showed some of the concerns I have with their defense against teams who are excellent at breaking into space and beating men marking systems.
Manager Marcelo Bielsa isn’t one to change tactics for anyone, and I doubt he’ll change his side’s high-octane approach even with Liverpool coming to town on Sunday.
Liverpool Has Stylistic Matchup Edge
Liverpool entered the 2021-22 Premier League season with more questions than any team in the projected top four. While their expected numbers took a bit of a dip last season, they also dealt with cluster injuries in their defense that hampered their ability to be as aggressive as usual, sending fullbacks forward in attack.
The Reds attack is top five in progressive passing, box entries, touches in the attacking penalty area and shots per 90. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been able to get forward much more, and thus is second in shot creating actions behind only Wolves’ Adama Traoré.
The finishing is still running a bit behind expected goals, after running way under xG last season. The Reds were unable to score, up a man for 45 minutes at home against Chelsea, but their performance indicated it was more a matter of variance than poor performance.
Liverpool should really have all nine points this season and has a stylistic matchup edge against leads with their ability to break into space left behind by Leeds high-pressing system.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I was lower on Leeds than the market entering the season, and their first three matches have only strengthened that position. My projections make Liverpool -165 in this match, thus I show value on them at -145 or better. The Reds won’t have Roberto Firmino up front, but Diogo Jota is more than capable of making up for the offensive production and pressing intensity in the middle of the pitch defensively.
Leeds’ defenders have struggled with miscues when facing high pressure, and Liverpool is one of the top pressing success rate teams in the whole league. United and Liverpool are bad matchups for Leeds, perhaps the worst in the league. That will come to fruition on Sunday.
Pick: Liverpool ML (-145 or better)