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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Leicester's corner capacity may have been underestimated

Wise words from the soccer boffin

Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy of Leicester
1 of 1

Leicester v West Ham
Premier League, 3pm Saturday

Bet365 have perhaps underestimated the chance of Leicester dominating the corner count in their Premier League game at home to West Ham. Back Leicester -1 Asian handicap corners at decimal odds of 2.0 – equivalent to fractional odds of evens.

For the bet to win Leicester must take at least two more corners than West Ham. If they take one more corner stakes will be refunded. And if anything else happens the bet will lose.

Leicester will be in the Premier League next season. West Ham probably will but that is not certain. Leicester have nothing tangible to play for while West Ham do.

Leicester v West Ham preview

That is acknowledged in result-related markets, which recognise that West Ham have a better chance of scoring most goals at the King Power than they would have done earlier in the season. But it is just possible that bet365 have swung their corners expectations too far.

Result-related markets imply a 55 per cent chance of Leicester scoring each goal that is scored. A Premier League team with a 55 per cent chance of scoring each goal in a match would typically have at least a 55 per cent chance of taking each corner that is awarded. And such teams would have a slightly better than even-money chance of beating an Asian corners handicap of –1.

At the King Power a lot may depend on if, when and for whom goals go in. West Ham need something from the game and Leicester do not – though last Saturday Leicester lost 5-0 at Crystal Palace, so they might feel there is more they want to show than would usually be the case in such a game.

If West Ham fall behind they will have to attack even more, which would reduce the number of corners Leicester are likely to accumulate. But if West Ham take the lead the opposite could happen.

At this stage we do not know how – or even if – the score will change. All scenarios are possible. If the result-related markets summarise them properly the chance of Leicester beating an Asian corners handicap of –1 may be at least slightly better than even. This is the dog-end of the club season, when it can be harder than usual to find bets that might represent value for money. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is one.

Leicester -1 Asian handicap corners
1pt Evs bet365

Premier League standings

Bet on this game at

Thought for the day

There is a saying going round that Real Madrid “know how to win”. I do not think it is true in the sense it is meant.

Madrid qualified for the Champions League final – their third in as many years – by beating Bayern Munich 4-3 on aggregate. In both legs they had less possession, fewer shots and mostly from worse positions. It is hard to imagine what they could have been doing deliberately that enabled them to go through.

“Champions win even when they are not playing well,” is a longer version of the same sentiment. A better way of putting it, I believe, would be: teams who win when they are not playing well can become champions.

Those sentences might sound similar but they are not the same. Perhaps that will become clearer if I use yet another phrase: good teams can become champions if the ball rolls their way when it matters.

Madrid are a good team who reached the final on this occasion because they won a tie they did not deserve to. They did not deserve to beat Munich last season in the quarter-finals either. Such things can happen at any level in any sport.

One of my favourite sayings comes from a former Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho. He said: “It’s really about details – lucky or unlucky in the draw, if the ball that hits the post goes in or out, the player that is suspended and cannot play a crucial game, the timing of injuries whereby a team goes into a game missing two or three key players, a refereeing decision that can go for or against you. Of course only a very good team can win the Champions League, but I can find seven, eight, nine teams who can win.”

Mourinho got to the heart of the matter. A saying I like even more came from Sepp Herberger, a World Cup winning manager of West Germany: “The ball is round so it can roll in any direction”.

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There is a saying going round that Real Madrid “know how to win”. I do not think it is true in the sense it is meant
E.W. Terms
Sky bet