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Come the end of the Premier League season the majority of fans are ready for a bit of a break. Whether teams have performed well or poorly, the slog of a Premier League campaign always takes a toll. Over the past couple of months we’ve all had a rest from the domestic scene but it is now time for the excitement levels to ramp up once more.
This will have to be an extra special renewal of the Premier League to live up to last season. Leicester’s title win capped off perhaps the least predictable season in the league’s history but this next term could be well up there in terms of entertainment value.
We’ve got some of the very best managers in the world, scores of world class players and any number of teams in with a chance winning the title. So, let’s have a look at the most popular outright betting markets to see if we can find some winning bets ahead of the big kickoff.
Antonio Conte, the new Chelsea manager, suggested that up to seven teams could realistically go on and win the title. He may have suggested that to take the pressure off ahead of his first season in Premier League football but you have to go down to the seventh favourites with the bookies to find the defending champions which shows the high level of competition we’re expecting from now until May.
Manchester City 13/5 (Sportingbet)
Manchester United 7/2 (888Sport)
Chelsea 13/2 (William Hill)
Arsenal 13/2 (Coral)
Liverpool 9/1 (Paddy Power)
Tottenham 10/1 (Sky Bet)
Leicester 33/1 (William Hill)
In a very tough title race to call, the bookies have only been able to take educated guesses about the managers in charge, the signings they’ve made and the players who remain from last season. That explains why Manchester City are the pre-season favourites at 13/5 with Sportingbet.
This is Pep Guardiola’s first season as City manager which must go down as a huge bonus. He has won the title wherever he’s managed and is sure to bring a certain level of success to the Citizens. Guardiola’s also been well supported in the transfer market, bringing in a number of class players to key positions. The problem that City have is that all of their main competitors have strengthened over the summer.
Long-time rival, Jose Mourinho, has brought in some big money players to a Manchester United squad that finished level on points with City last season despite being heavily criticised at times. United are sure to be more competitive than last season but the price of 13/2 that William Hill are offering looks very tempting about Conte’s Chelsea.
Conte will be working with largely the same squad that won the title in 2015 and has made important additions to both the playing and coaching staff. The former Italy manager showed at the Euros that he has the ability to coax the best out of players and his Juventus side were all-conquering in Serie A. Chelsea are a club who expect success and they could just bounce back from last season’s horror show in style.
This is going to be a particularly tough title to win but there looks to be little value in the Manchester clubs while both Liverpool and Tottenham look a little short.
If there are seven teams in with a shot of winning the title, how many teams have the potential to finish in the lucrative top four positions?
It depends how you look at it. Either those sides gunning for the title are so good that it’ll be a closed shop in the top four or there is enough quality further down the table that there could be a surprise team representing the Premier League in the 2017/18 Champions League.
Certainly the likes of Southampton, Everton and West Ham will be hoping to put themselves in the conversation. They’ve each had ups and downs in the past few seasons but equally their squads are full of talented players who are overseen by exciting managers. However, those three clubs should take a finish in the top seven as a very good season. Tottenham and Liverpool both see their futures amongst the elite of European football and it is incredibly tough for any club to force their way up there.
Tottenham are going to tempt a few people into backing them at 6/5 with Sportingbet but the team who present the most value in an incredibly competitive market is Leicester at 6/1 with BetVictor. Claudio Ranieri still has a very talented squad who know his requirements and trust them completely. They also look to have bought well over the summer so that looks a good price for an outside bet.
Leicester’s win last season could have a fundamental impact on the Premier League. Teams who were once content simply to finish in a mid table position will now believe that much greater achievements are possible. However, before you can mount a challenge on the top, you have to retain your position in the Premier League. That is no easy task as the ferocity of the relegation battle proves year after year.
Hull 8/11 (Stan James)
Burnley evens (Bet365)
Middlesbrough 21/10 (Paddy Power)
Watford 9/4 (Coral)
West Brom 5/2 (BetVictor)
Sunderland 5/2 (Paddy Power)
As you would expect, the three teams who won promotion from the Championship last season are the bookies’ favourites to go straight back down. However, it is never that simple. Two of the three teams who were promoted in 2015 retained their place in the Premier League last season and there is enough quality in the squads of both Burnley and Middlesbrough to believe that they’ve got a real chance of extending their stay in the top flight. It will surely be tougher for Hull given the off field issues that have dogged them over the summer but backing them to be relegated at odds on doesn’t seem worth it at this early stage.
When it comes to a value bet, Watford stand out at 9/4 with Coral. Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo took the Premier League by storm early doors but their form and that of the team in general fell off a cliff in the second half of the season. In Walter Mazzarri they’ve got yet another new manager who has no Premier League experience and there has been more upheaval to the playing staff. The fans were very unhappy with the way that Watford ended the season so there is a real chance that a poor start to their season will see their odds for relegation tumble.
It will also be interesting to see how Sunderland fare under David Moyes. The Black Cats seem to have been in a perpetual relegation battle for the last five years and once again hope has been pinned onto a new manager. Moyes has had to hit the ground running following Sam Allardyce’s appointment as England manager so the early stages could well be tough for Sunderland.
Sergio Aguero 7/2 (Sky Bet)
Harry Kane 7/1 (Bet365)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 10/1 (Betfred)
Romelu Lukaku 12/1 (Ladbrokes)
Jamie Vardy 18/1 (Coral)
Every team in the Premier League is desperate for a striker who scores 20 goals a season. Having a main man up front to rely on takes the pressure off the rest of the team but stats show that it is rare to find players who can achieve that feat with any sort of regularity. Last season only Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Sergio Aguero managed to pass the 20 goal mark and each of them are fancied to score their fair share once again.
Aguero and Kane are sure to be the focal points of the attack for Manchester City and Tottenham respectively. The pair of them are numbers one and two in the betting markets to be the Premier League’s top goalscorer while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is well fancied to take his form from Ligue 1 straight into English football. There are, though, reasons to suggest that Jamie Vardy looks the man to bet on at 18/1 with Coral.
Kane really struggled at the Euros which is sure to affect his confidence, Aguero has to find his groove with a new manager and new tactics while Ibrahimovic is 34 and nobody really knows how he will adapt to the Premier League. Vardy, on the other hand, scored at the Euros, plays for a team who set up specifically to get the best out of his game and truly believes he is one of the best strikers in the world.
It could also be worth taking a small stakes punt on Christian Benteke at 50/1 with 888Sport. The big Belgian is not going to score 20 plus goals for Liverpool but there’s a big chance he will be leaving Anfield for pastures new and a team who will play to his many strengths.
Chelsea to win the league at 13/2 with William Hill
Watford to be relegated at 9/4 with Coral
Jamie Vardy to be the top goalscorer at 18/1 with Coral