This article is part of our Betting on Soccer series.
I've been pretty good at analyzing stand-alone games, but Steve Bruce and Newcastle always seem to disappoint somehow. They closed last season in decent form but have failed to carry that over with just one point from four matches, not including the penalty loss to Burnley in the League Cup.
Unfortunately, this match won't be as easy as simply picking against Newcastle because Leeds haven't been much better, with two points from four matches, and they're thin on the back line. At their peak last season, Leeds were a top-10 team and battling with the best clubs in the league. While some of their early struggles are due to schedule, it's still disappointing to allow 11 goals in four matches, no matter the competition.
Last season's results point to Leeds, but none were with Newcastle's three center-backs, which they've been using since last April. That said, Leeds won both meetings: 2-1 at Newcastle and 5-2 at home. Leeds dominated possession in both contests, but Newcastle actually had 22 shots compared to just nine for the game at St. James' Park. Some of that was because Leeds were leading most of the way, but it's still noticeable Newcastle racked up chances despite just 42 percent possession.
I can't think of a reason to take the under in this match, and that's why over 2.5 goals is -150. These teams have had two of the worst back lines in the league, allowing a combined 23 goals, on the same level as Norwich.
Because of those odds, you can go a better route at DraftKings Sportsbook by taking a total goal band from three to five. That means you win if there's three, four or five goals scored in the match at +100 odds. If you like the over and want better value, I'd take that route, but you still have to hope that these teams don't go off for three goals a piece.
Leeds have won the possession battle in all but the Liverpool match this season, so it's likely they'll have the ball for at least 60 percent of the time. If you can bet on possession, I'd definitely take Leeds.
I was set to take the over on corners, but even though these teams combined for 11 and 13 in their matchups last season, neither are high on corner numbers this season. It could be Newcastle's 5-3-2 formation that's limiting corners or it could just be a small four-game sample. Even so, I think taking Newcastle first to three corners at +115 or first to five corners at +160 is worth a look.
Whether this game is back and forth or if Leeds score first, I think there's a decent chance Allan Saint-Maximin is a problem for what could be a make-shift back line (Pascal Struijk is suspended and Diego Llorente is injured again). In prior results, Newcastle were level with Villa on corners and had one more than both Southampton and West Ham. If you want to take Newcastle to have the most corners, that's +165, another reasonable bet.
There's not a ton of information for Leeds against this kind of formation, but it's definitely worrisome that they lost both matches to Wolves last season. Of course, I don't want to bet Newcastle to win (+200), especially since that means taking Steve Bruce over Marcelo Bielsa.
If anything, I'd look at both teams to score in the second half at +170 or Newcastle to score first at +110. The second half being a higher scoring half at -105 is also decent value. As long as there's a goal in this match at some point, I think the shakiness of these back lines will inevitably lead to more goals. If this match finishes 1-0 or in a scoreless draw, then I'll probably never bet on a Steve Bruce game again.