Of course, the English Premier League is the most difficult to predict out of all the European top-flight competitions. While the Spanish, German, French, and Italian leagues are all dominated by one or two clubs, the EPL has at least 6 teams who start the season with a real chance of being on top come May. In the last couple of seasons, the bookies have failed woefully to predict the winner, in 15/16, Leicester City beat the 5000/1 odds to claim the title, and Chelsea were hardly the bookies favorite last season.
Who the bookies are backing
Despite getting it spectacularly wrong the last few years, many fans still rely on the bookies to accurately predict the winner. This season, Manchester City are the universal favorites, with odds at 5/4 and 11/10 from Bet365 and SkyBet, respectively. Pep Guardiola’s team have started out ok, the 1-1 draw to Everton was disappointing, but their total thrashing of Liverpool will have boosted their odds, albeit against 10 men. They certainly have the attacking depth to see off any team in the league, but question marks remain about their defense. John Stones has started off well, but Otamendi still looks like a liability. He was getting torn apart by Mo Salah before Mane’s red card, but if he can improve, then it’s hard to see anyone finishing above this City side.
Manchester United are the second favorites, with William Hill and BetVictor giving them odds of 5/2 to claim the title. For decades, the Red Devils dominated English football, but they’ve slumped in the post-Ferguson era, but fans are hopeful that Jose Mourinho will bring the trophy back to Old Trafford. Manchester United burst out the blocks, winning their first 3 games, scoring 10, and conceding none. But a draw away to Stoke has reminded fans that they are far from the finished article.
The outsiders include Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Arsenal. The latter doesn’t look like mounting a title challenge, but it would be wise not to write off Chelsea. Despite a bad start last season, the Blue went on a fantastic winning streak and finished up deserved champions. Alvaro Morata looks a great replacement for Diego Costa, and if their key players perform, they are in with a strong chance.
The word on the street
As you would expect, football fans are fiercely divided, and the debate rages over who is favorite to win the league. overall, most supporters agree with the bookies and it might be worth choosing a good sports betting bonus and splitting the odds on the title ending up in the red or blue half of Manchester.
Arsenal fans have all but despaired of mounting a serious challenge, and Tottenham fans are still unconvinced about their team’s home form, especially considering their poor record at Wembley. Virtually nobody is expecting a huge upset, like we saw in 2015/16 and there aren’t any teams outside the top 6 with any realistic expectations of winning the league.
As always, the EPL is unpredictable and that is what makes it so special. No one like to see a one-horse race, and the intense competition makes great viewing for the neutrals. The pressure on the managers couldn’t be higher, and if teams like City don’t live up to their expectations, there will plenty of moans and groans from their diehard fans.