Sports Betting Weekly

Sunderland v Leicester

When: Saturday, 16 May 2015 @ 21:00 (FINISHED)
Where: Stadium of Light
With the survival bids of both Sunderland and Leicester having received a shot in the arm last week thanks to 2-0 victories over Everton and Southampton respectively, there can be no denying that the biggest game in the relegation run-in takes place at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.

Dick Advocaat’s side hauled themselves up to 16th in the table after winning at Goodison Park last weekend, but given the Black Cats are still only two points above the drop zone and face daunting trips to Arsenal and Chelsea in their final two games, the Dutchman will have earmarked this fixture against the in-form Foxes as a must-win if they are to safely preserve their Premier League status.

The problem for Sunderland, however, is plain to see – in Leicester, they face a side that sits second only to Arsenal in the Premier League form table with five wins from their past six games – and Nigel Pearson’s side will arrive in the north east in bullish mood, having been written off entirely a couple of months ago only to surge up the table to 15th and give themselves a real shot at beating the drop.

Essentially, then, this could be a winner-takes-all clash with absolutely catastrophic repercussions for the beaten side – and it is one that the bookies are fairly reluctant to stick their neck out on. Buoyed by their back-to-back Premier League wins, Sunderland go into the match as favourites at 33/20, but Leicester are not far behind at odds of 15/8 and the draw is available at a similarly-priced 12/5 too.

This last outcome would certainly be more welcome for Leicester than it would be for Sunderland, given that a point could potentially secure their safety if Hull fail to beat Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, but there would be no such assurances for Advocaat’s side in such an event given their -20 goal difference would leave them eminently catchable given their difficult final fixtures.

The situation therefore presents an interesting conundrum for the Black Cats – with the game poised at 0-0 going into the final few minutes, do they attack Leicester in a bid to guarantee their safety or do they hold on for a point and rely on the Tigers failing to win either of their last two games? While it won’t please fans of a nervous disposition, the answer is likely to be the latter – and you can enhance your odds on the draw by backing a 0-0 scoreline at 9/1 or a 1-1 draw at a more likely 6/1.

With Leicester keeping four clean sheets in their last five and Sunderland also preventing Everton from scoring last time out, you can get 12/5 and 9/4 on each side shutting out the opposition respectively, but if you are going to back a first goalscorer, it is definitely the visitors who are in better attacking form and last week’s hero, Riyad Mahrez, is available at 9/1 to find the net first, while Leanardo Ulloa – who is a slight injury doubt – is among the favourites at odds of 11/2.