After three seasons of solid investment, Leicester City finally appear well-placed to launch a promotion charge.
Sitting pretty at the top of the table, the Foxes are the Championship’s form team with six wins in their past seven games and are currently bwin’s 4/1 title favourites.
One of the sides who previously seemed capable of keeping pace had been Palace, who were as high as second provisionally when they were leading in their midweek game at Barnsley.
The Eagles players had been rocked prior to the match by the departure of manager Dougie Freedman and the news arguably contributed to Palace dropping two points at Oakwell as the Tykes fought back to claim a 1-1 draw.
The Scot’s mooted move to Bolton was finally confirmed this morning and the main focus of all those connected with the club will now be on minimising the longer-term impact of his decision.
But in those circumstances, a trip to the King Power Stadium could hardly have arrived at a worse time and that is perhaps why Leicester are clear favourites at 12/25, while Palace are 21/4 for the upset with the draw 31/10.
Pre-Freedman, Palace were perennial relegation candidates and it would be easy to say they’ll slump back into that pattern.
However, the 2012/13 team is filled with more quality in internationals Kagisho Dikgacoi, Mile Jedinak and Jonathan Parr and they will still fancy their chances of nicking a result, especially if they get the opening goal at 11/5.
The Eagles have turned 75% of their leads into three points so punters expecting them to draw first blood could do worse than back Palace to be winning at half-time and full-time at a very enticing 10/1.
However, they haven’t made things easy for themselves in their nine-game unbeaten run, keeping just two clean sheets, and against a Leicester side who’ve scored in every fixture this term, caretaker boss Curtis Fleming’s men are unlikely to shut out the Foxes.
It could therefore be worth backing both sides to score at 3/4, but considering Leicester have been more efficient than prolific – they have failed to win any game by more than a two-goal margin so far – the 31/10 on the hosts to win another match of under 2.5 goals looks a decent price.
New customers backing this selection with the free £20 bet they receive when registering with bwin would stand to win £81 if successful.
However, with offensive talent on show such as former England international David Nugent, French U-21 star Anthony Knockaert and exciting Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, I’m sure the goals will flow at both ends in a Leicester triumph.
For that reason, the pick of the punts here could well be for Nigel Pearson’s men to win a game of over 2.5 goals at 23/20 and that’s where my money will be going.