Leicester City are set to be one of the most intriguing teams of the 2016/17 Premier League season, with nobody quite sure whether they’ll repeat the heroics of last year or whether they were simply a one hit wonder and are, therefore, due to crash back down to earth. In the short-term, however, The Foxes are still worth backing this weekend – and are priced at 11/10 by several bookmakers – given that they face Hull City, the side least prepared for the upcoming season.
The fact that Hull don’t even have a permanent manager in place – and are currently left with Mike Phelan as their caretaker after Steve Bruce walked out – sums up how turbulent their summer has been. That they have only added one player – 18-year-old goalkeeper Will Mannion – to the squad that came up via the play-offs last season, while losing six of their ten most-used players, only serves to accentuate the sense of chaos hovering over the KCOM Stadium.
Claudio Ranieri’s men are in prime position to benefit from their opening day opponents’ misery, while Jamie Vardy could do so on an individual level. He looked as sharp as he had all last season when he latched onto a loose ball in last weekend’s 2-1 Community Shield defeat to Manchester United, so could similarly capitalise on any slackness in the Hull City ranks. Bet Victor have last season’s 24-goal man at 7/4 to score anytime, while he is priced at 5/1 by Coral to score the first goal of the game.
Given how one-sided this match between the current champions and many experts’ pick to finish bottom is shaping up, a better value bet than the 11/10 price for a Leicester win could be to back Ranieri’s men to win to nil – which Paddy Power have at 12/5. The Foxes’ march to the title last season was helped by their defensive solidity, with only Petr Cech picking up more clean sheets than Kasper Schmeichel’s 15, so they could certainly finish this match with three points in the bag and zero goals against. When you consider that two of Hull’s top three goalscorers from last season have departed the club, it’s even more unlikely that they’ll get on the scoresheet.
Abel Hernández – who netted 22 times last season – does give Hull fans a glimmer of hope and Bet365 are offering the best odds – of 5/2 – on him to score at any time. Marathon Bet have the optimal odds on the unlikely home win, at 31/10, while 12/5 odds on a draw can be found at multiple bookies.