England Premier League Vegas Odds and Picks: Arsenal Hosts Leicester City to Start EPL Season
by Matt Cash @MattCashCapper
The English Premier League kicks off its season on Friday with Arsenal taking on the champ from two years ago, Leicester City. They were calling for long-time head coach Arsene Wenger’s head for much of the season, but Arsenal finished the season on a high note with a dominant final two months. After a mad dash, they finished out of the top-four for the first time since 1996, but they pulled off a surprise win in the FA Cup Finals. They defeated league champion Chelsea in a year where they were the runaway winners.
Arsenal is dealing with a rash of injuries to start the season, none bigger than to last year’s star striker Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez scored 24 goals and 10 assists last year, the only player in EPL to have double digits in both categories. He suffered an abdominal strain in training last week and will miss this week’s game for sure. Mesut Ozil is another stalwart who is doubtful along with Aaron Ramsey, Shkodran Mustafi and Per Mertesacker.
All eyes though will be on the debut of new striker Alexandre Lacazette who scored 91 goals in the French Ligue over the past four years. That is tops of all players in that league.
Leicester City will be starting their season for the first time under new coach Craig Shakespeare who took over midway through last year after the team came out flat trying to defend their title. The team found their game under the new boss going 8-3-5 down the stretch and he was rewarded with a three-year deal.
The team still features James Vardy as their lead striker and he’s about the only player to have success against Arsenal, scoring the last three goals his team has had against them.
Leicester City’s main addition was Vincente Iborra to shore up the mid-field, but he suffered an injury in training this week and is certain to miss this game and perhaps a whole lot more.
This match-up has been about as one sided as it gets in EPL. Arsenal has ruled at home with ten straight wins against their opponents. It’s their longest such current streak against any opponent. It’s 21 games and counting since Leicester City beat Arsenal (0-7-14). Their only win came in their first ever game back in 1994. But the Gunners will have to overcome their opening day struggles of recent years with just one win in the last seven years. That includes three losses in their last four years.
Cash It In: Arsenal are -210 favorites and Leicester City +550 underdogs. The draw sits at +350. Those are some long odds and even with the Gunners opening day struggles of late, this is the perfect opportunity to break that string. Arsenal 3-1.