Aston Villa v Leicester: Foxes late show on the cards
Aston Villa and Leicester will fight for a place in the Carabao Cup final on Tuesday and Andy Schooler has picked out a 2/1 shot for the semi-final second leg.
Aston Villa v Leicester Tuesday 28 January, 19:45 Live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event
Aston Villa defied the odds in the first leg of this Carabao Cup semi-final to gain a 1-1 draw at Leicester's King Power Stadium but the markets believe they still face an uphill struggle to reach Wembley.
Villa are 3.05 to qualify and meet one of the two Manchester giants in the final on March 1.
It is worth pointing out at this stage that away goals do not count and if the tie is still all square after 90 minutes at Villa Park, there won't be extra time - it's straight to penalties.
Villa must keep it tight
Some will be tempted to get with the hosts for Dean Smith's men stuck manfully to their task three weeks ago, defending resolutely to earn their share of the spoils.
Yet it should also be remembered that they had just 30% of the ball and lost the shot count 21-3. In two games against Leicester this season, Villa have now allowed 44 shots to rain down on their goal.
Even Smith admitted "Leicester were the better team" after that first leg, adding, "but we defended well at times".
He'll need another strong defensive performance here (sadly for him there haven't been too many this season) but I'm not too sure that any team would regularly get a result against Leicester when offering up so many chances to shoot.
It should be remembered that when Leicester visited Villa Park in the league they won 4-1.
To be fair to Villa, their draw in the first leg has not been their only decent result of late. Last time out they claimed a late win against in-form Watford and before that earned a draw at Brighton.
But when they last played an elite team at home, Manchester City crushed them 6-1.
Danny Drinkwater endured a miserable debut that day but he's cup-tied here. Villa will at least have new recruits Pepe Reina and Mbwana Samatta available. The latter could make his debut up front - a big ask in a game of such magnitude.
Whether Samatta, scorer of 10 goals for Belgian side Genk this season, starts or not, Jack Grealish is likely to remain key to their chances of success.
He's now scored in seven of his last 15 league games and also has two in this competition.
At 10/3 for a goal at any time, the 24-year-old is worth considering if you do fancy Villa.
Ndidi boost; Vardy back?
However, Leicester will likely have Wilfred Ndidi back from injury for this one (he missed the first leg but returned as a sub against West Ham last week) and a player who leads the Premier League for interceptions and has made the second-most tackles could be vital in stopping Grealish in the areas he loves to get into.
Top scorer Jamie Vardy is looking good to play at time of writing. However, even if Vardy doesn't make it, the form of Kelechi Iheanacho is encouraging for the Foxes, as his record against Villa - the Nigerian has five goals in five appearances against these opponents, his best tally against any club.
Harvey Barnes has also caught the eye of late and he's also contributed goals, netting in three of his four games since the turn of the year. He's 11/4 to strike again here.
Leicester are 1.79to win the game in its own right which looks fair enough.
The Foxes have been pretty ruthless against the Premier League's stragglers, winning 11 and drawing one of their 13 games against those currently in the bottom half of the table.
Villa's record against the better teams hardly does anything to suggest they are worth backing at 4.70 - they've drawn one and lost 10 of their 11 matches against teams currently in the top half.
The draw is on offer to back at 4.30.
However, it's another trend at a bigger price which looks particularly appealing and it involves second-half performance.
Trends point to second-half dominance
For a team battling relegation, Villa have been surprising good in the first half of games - a table of 'results' based on the first 45 minutes has them eighth (and Leicester seventh).
But the teams are wildly split when it comes to second halves. Villa sit 16th in that table; Leicester second. Villa have conceded a league-high 28 goals in the second half of games, while Leicester have scored 31 (62% of their total) after the interval. Only Man City have more.
Clearly there is big lay potential in-play, particularly if Villa score first.
Pre-match punters can get 7/2 with the Sportsbook that Villa score first but fail to win but I'll go with another bet at 2/1, namely Leicester to score two or more goals in the second half.
Their scoring prowess in the second period, as well as Villa's propensity to concede, has already been shown and when you focus in further on the stats you'll also find that Leicester have delivered on this bet in 10 of their 24 league games so far (42%).
Yet the odds are suggesting it's a 33% chance - and that's before you consider the potential for late goals if one team is chasing to get back in the contest.
With Villa having also conceded two or more in nine of their 24 league matches, the 2/1 looks to have added value.
It seems better than getting involved with the goals line for the entire game. Over 2.5 is just 1.58 but history clearly shows that goals are most likely to come after the break and so the suggestion is to bet with that mind.
Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho has been involved in seven goals in his last four appearances against Aston Villa (5 goals, 2 assists), including scoring against the Villans as a substitute in the first leg at the King Power Stadium.