The new Premier League season is almost upon us, and now is the time to look at season-long bets to keep us interested during the long winter months.
Manchester City are the defending champions and have brought in talented midfielder Riyad Mahrez to boost an already competitive area.
City won the league by 19 points last season, and while it is now nine years since anyone retained their Premier League title it’s difficult to see that gap being completely overturned. Hence their odds on price.
Liverpool look the team best equipped to challenge. They have spent a lot to plug defensive gaps and they should continue to score goals. However, again the bookies have reacted to this and the Reds are as short as 4/1 to win the title.
Of the other big shots, Chelsea and Arsenal have to bed in new managers, Tottenham have been very quiet in the transfer market and Jose Mourinho has been vocal about his displeasure over the way the close season has developed at Manchester United.
We can’t see past City winning again, but we won’t be lumping on an odds on shot. Instead we’ll turn to the handicap market. Of the promoted teams—the sides who tend to be given the largest points advantage—we have been taken with the way Fulham have handled themselves since promotion. They played good football last season and have strengthened their defence since. We think they could outperform expectations and take them to win the handicap race.
On the flip side, we think Cardiff City could struggle this season. It’s true they were promoted ahead of Fulham last year but we thought their style was very functional. With little money to play with, Premier League teams could find this style easy to combat.
Cardiff are odds on favourites to go down at the end of the season, but we’ll take the 9/2 that they are bottom at Christmas. In the 26-year history of the Premier League, 15 teams have bottom at Xmas and then the season’s end, equating to something like a 4/6 shot. Now it’s true there have been recent examples of this not occurring, but this has been put down to wise spending in the January transfer market, and we’re not sure Cardiff have the cash.
Finally, while we’re not going to bet on Manchester City to win the title, we do think their free-flowing football will result in Sergio Aguero claiming the Golden Boot. Liverpool also look likely to score bundles but they could spread the goals around. Harry Kane is the favourite but he looked tired towards the end of the World Cup and he may need a rest. Romelu Lukaku also had a fine tournament, but we’re not sure Manchester United will score enough goals. We’ll side with Sergio.
Fulham to win the handicap race, 1 pt, at 14/1, SkyBet
Cardiff to be bottom at Christmas, 1 pt, at 9/2, Paddy Power
Aguero to be top goal scorer, 1 pt, at 15/2, Paddy Power
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