Leon vs Chivas Prediction, Odds & Picks
- Following their draw, Leon will be expected to step up their attacking efforts at home
- Given a starting role for the first time in this season’s playoffs, Joel Campbell emerged as a not-so-secret weapon for Leon
- The numbers make it appear improbable that Chivas will be able to continue holding back their opposition
Leon vs Chivas Odds
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Leon vs Chivas Predictions and Picks
During Wednesday night’s first leg of the Liga MX playoff semifinal series between Leon and Chivas, we learned that Chivas won’t make this easy. With some gifted attackers that are able to create counters, Chivas didn’t go down without a fight in their 1-1 draw earlier this week.
Saturday’s second and final leg should be close as well, but unfortunately for Chivas, it’s tough to imagine that they’ll keep pace with the league’s #1 playoff seed for another full 90 minutes.
No matter what Chivas build or create defensively, Leon will have the upper hand through their numerous attacking options. Chivas should hold their heads high after making it this far in playoffs, but following the weekend, it’s unlikely that they’ll be given an invitation to the league’s championship series.
Leon has rarely failed in the 2020 Apertura season, pick them for a win over Chivas.
Leon for the win (-134)
How to Watch Leon vs Chivas
|Leon vs Chivas Information|
|What||Leon vs Chivas|
|Where||Estadio Leon (Guanajuato, Mexico)|
|When||Saturday, December 5th at 10:00 PM PT|
|How to Watch||TUDN|
As the underdogs earlier this week in the first of two playoff semifinal legs, Chivas had a surprising amount of bite against Leon.
Down 1-0 in the 38th minute after attempting to sit back, Chivas manager Victor Manuel Vucetich made all of the right moves by bringing on substitutes Jose Juan Macias and Alexis Vega. Both returning from injury, Macias, and Vega immediately linked up as a dangerous attacking duo that quickly changed the pace of the match.
Chivas took control, and after earning a penalty early on in the 2nd half, Macias scored from the spot in the 52nd minute. That “control,” however, was short-lived.
Although both teams were unlucky to not score a second goal, Leon were the side that truly gained momentum back in the 2nd half. Eagerly chasing a game-winner, the #1 seed pushed forward and launched 16 shots in the last 45 minutes.
Chivas, with a draw in hand, survived the siege. Nevertheless, it’s doubtful they’ll be able to do that twice in just a handful of days.
Onto Saturday’s second semifinal leg.
Leon Will Be More Attack-Minded At Home
It’s an obvious statement but one that has to be mentioned.
Despite the fact that Leon has been commanding in their recent away performances, at home, they’ve been near-perfect. With eight wins, one draw, and zero losses so far this season, there has been no reason to question Leon when they are hosting matches.
Most importantly, they seem to be more proactive and aggressive in the final third when playing visiting teams. Recognizing that Chivas narrowly survived Wednesday after attempting to slow down their attack, Leon might prove to be too much to handle for a second consecutive game in a row.
The Joel Campbell Factor For Leon
Speaking of attacking players that Chivas will need to shut down, one figure that they couldn’t stifle from Leon was Joel Campbell. With more successful dribbles than any other player on the field on Wednesday, the Costa Rivan proved to be a menace for Chivas’ backline.
Which leaves an imminent problem.
Should Vucetich guide more of his players to mark Campbell or continue to let him dance around the field and potentially gain another assist? If he does tell his players to focus more on Campbell, does that then give more space for other attacking figures from Leon such as Luis Montes or Angel Mena?
There’s no easy solution here, but what’s obvious is that while Leon can continue with their current gameplan, it’ll be Chivas that need to adjust.
And there are no guarantees that they’ll get it right.
Questions Remain Regarding Chivas’ Strategy For More Than One Game
According to FiveThirtyEight, the xG (expected goals) total from both Leon and Chivas in the first semifinal leg were exactly the same: 1.6. But for the sake of dissecting this further to analyze what could happen during the second leg, what about non-shot xG?
Looking at non-shot xG — essentially the expected goals resulting from actions that don’t shot — Leon had the advantage. As opposed to Chivas’ 0.9 non-shot xG, Leon racked up a tally of 1.8.
Which makes sense if you watched the match. Playing in a more conservative style, Vucetich almost had Chivas play too safe as he held his team back for most of the match. Granted, Chivas escaped with a point, but it’s doubtful that he could do it for two consecutive games in a row against Leon.
If we’re playing the numbers game, Leon was closer to scoring a second goal in the game than Chivas were, and if Vucetich attempts to sit back once again, he might simply invite too much pressure and attacking space for Leon to fail.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast.
Email: [email protected]