We are back again for another season of English Premier League action and as always, there are plenty of questions about how England’s top flight will play out over the next nine months and 380 matches.
First at the top of the ladder we ask, can City complete a 3-peat or perhaps one of Liverpool or Spurs will end their League Title drought?
In the next tier of teams, we wonder if any of Arsenal, Chelsea or United will pull their respective fingers out and compete for something higher than the fourth place trophy.
Then at the other end of the table, which promoted side(s) will survive and which established club will drop out?
There is always plenty of betting value in the English Premier League and the 2019/2020 season will be no different.
THE BIG 6
Last Season: Champions – 98 Points
City have been historically good for the last two seasons, amassing 198 points and losing just six out of 76 games.
Unfortunately, it makes finding good value betting on them a real mission and it looks like it will be a similar story for most of, if not all of this season.
They are an unbackable $1.57 to win the Premier League title so if you want to back that, you’d be better off looking at the Dual Forecast or Straight Forecast markets.
Perhaps the only big question about the City squad is how can the replace the leadership void left by Vincent Kompany who has departed after finishing a couple of injury plagued seasons.
Up front they have the firepower to score for fun if they go on all cylinders and a manager in Pep Guardiola who will drive them every week.
Bottom line, it’s City’s title to lose but there’s not a lot of value in backing them outright, instead, just back them to win in the head to head market every week and as long as they win 30 or more you’ll come out ahead on the season.
BET: Back City to Win Each Match
Last Season: Runners Up – 97 Points
It’s easy to forget that in the midst of winning the Champions League last season, Liverpool were also historically good in the Premier League.
They amassed the third highest points total in League history, but were pipped by another historically good side in City.
Of course winning the Champions League was still some comfort, especially that night against Barcelona.
As for this season, it seems like Jurgen Klopp has opted to consolidate his squad rather than splash the cash to try and improve it.
It’s hard to see Liverpool losing just one game all season this time around so perhaps their points total might be closer to 90 or even in the high 80’s which probably won’t be enough to pip City.
What does seem entirely possible is Mohamed Salah improving on his 22 goal tally from last season and being a key figure in the Golden Boot race.
BET: Back Mohamed Salah as Leading Premier League Goalscorer @ $6.00
Last Season: 4th Place – 71 Points
Mauricio Pochettino was able to splash the cash this offseason and make his first signing in over a year as his side looks to rebound from a fourth place finish and defeat in the Champions League Final.
In comes Tanguy Ndombele to help out in central midfield but questions still remain over the future of Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen possibly heading for the exit door.
For a period of time last season, Tottenham were in the title mix before falling off the frenetic pace set by Liverpool and City and they will be looking to improve on the 71 points they earned last season.
A key figure in all of that will be Harry Kane, who struggled with injuries last season coming off the World Cup but if he can feature more frequently, that should be worth a handful of points.
While they are not quite at title challengers level yet, the struggles of the teams in the “next tier” means a top three finish is looking very likely.
BET: Back Tottenham as the Top London Club @ $2.00
Last Season: 3rd Place – 72 Points
The Maurizio Sarri experiment was fun while it lasted but the Italian manager is now in charge of Juventus and Roman Abramovich had to hire another boss for season 2019/2020.
He settled on Frank Lampard, which is a tough position to put the club legend in, considering they sold star attacker Eden Hazard and can’t replace him or any other departures due to a transfer ban.
While they do have an army of youngsters who have spent plenty of time on loan to call on but there are so many questions about the makeup of the squad and the experience of the manager that it’s hard to have much confidence in Chelsea doing anything of note.
Before you go planning your Chelsea relegation party however, they still have more than enough quality to compete with most teams.
What it does mean however is that in an era where there are six sides competing for the top four, someone has to miss out and it looks like it could very well be Chelsea this year as they have all the indicators for a “season from hell” and could find themselves in a batter for sixth spot.
BET: Back Chelsea to Finish Outside the Top 6 @ $4.33
Last Season: 6th Place – 66 Points
Which Manchester United side will we get this season?
Is it the one that struggled out of the gate under Jose Mourinho, or the revived one under new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that went nearly three months without a Premier League loss?
Perhaps we will see the side that closed the season with two draws and three losses, the bottom line is, we just don’t know.
Realistically we will wind up with a side that is somewhere in between all three of those extremes and offering up more of a top four challenge, as long as Solskjaer is able to keep this side pointing in the right direction.
There is still a lot to unfold in terms of United’s transfer plans however their defence will be significantly shored up with the addition of Harry Maguire.
Of course they do still have the issue of Romelu Lukaku and whether or not the Belgian forward will have to lead the line.
Going into this season, it looks like United are in a three team race with Arsenal and Chelsea for fourth spot and perhaps almost by default, they appear to have the inside track.
BET: Back United for a Top 4 Finish @ $2.00
Last Season: 5th Place – 70 Points
In the race to look like the biggest mess this offseason, Arsenal have been putting forward an Oscar-worthy performance.
They lost Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer and haven’t been able to offload Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Shkodran Mustafi all of whom have failed to deliver for the club while earning big wages.
To top it all off club captain Laurent Koscielny has decided he has had enough and now wants to leave for free to return to France.
If you’re looking for positives, the Gunners do have one of the best strike tandems in the league in Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who will be good options in the Goalscorer markets week in and week out.
Add in Dani Ceballos and club record signing Nicholas Pepe and they at least have the potential to keep pace with the goals their struggling defence will let in.
Keeping clean sheets was a huge mission for Arsenal last season thanks in large part to a backline that really struggled, in particular with Mustafi in it, so for a season play, back plenty of goals in Arsenal games, especially the ones featuring the German.
BET: Back Over 2.5 Goals and/or Both Teams to Score in Arsenal Games
THE CHASING PACK
Last Season: 7th Place – 57 Points
Wolves enjoyed a successful return to the Premier League last season, finishing just nine points off Manchester United and winning more games than they lost.
From mid January on, they never dropped below eighth on the table and made the semi finals of the FA Cup, so the question for them this season is: how can they build on that for this season?
Working in their favour is the fact that the bulk of their squad is back including 13 goal striker Raul Jiminez who is now on a permanent deal and will be looking to push that tally to something closer to 20.
If they can address their lulls in form from last year, then they could be in position to take advantage of a side like Chelsea having a massively down year and opening up a spot in the top six.
I’m backing Wolves to take a step forward and break into the top six this season, but if you want to have a bit of insurance on your Wolves season play, you can instead back them to be the best side without the big six.
BET: Back Wolves to Finish in the Top Six @ $5.00
Last Season: 8th Place – 54 Points
The Toffees are seemingly settled into the Top 10 mix and now they have to look for a way into Europe.
Despite a couple of very rough patches of form, Everton still managed to finish in eighth place but know they will need to be better this year if they have continental aspirations.
They have brought in Andre Gomez permanently after he impressed on loan last season and will expect more contributions from him this season.
If the form table holds from last season, Everton will be in the mix with Wolves, Leicester and possibly West Ham to be the “best of the rest” club.
To earn that honour, they will have to put together a better festive period than last season, where they won just three games from December 3 to February 27.
Everton might be one of those sides that it is better to just sit back and wait for a betting play to emerge on instead of trying to force something in before the first game.
BET: No Play
Last Season: 9th Place – 52 Points
The Brendan Rodgers era has survived its first offseason and based on the way he is building his squad, there are strong desires to get this club higher than last season’s 9th place finish.
One big upgrade is the acquisition of Ayoze Perez from Newcastle to replace Shinji Okazaki and help ease the burden on Jamie Vardy.
Add in the coup of getting Youri Tielemans and this side has plenty of goals in it which may come in handy, considering the big blow to their defensive stocks with Harry Maguire going to Manchester United.
Last season they had the Premier League’s seventh best away record with 25 points and they will need to at the very least replicate that and find another 10-15 points at home to try and give them a real competitive edge.
Of course with this squad, there is a chance it could all go pear shaped and Rodgers could be out of a job by February but I’m expecting a top 10 finish, sadly there’s not a lot of value there.
BET: Back Over 2.5 Goals and/or Vardy/Perez Anytime Goalscorer in Matches
Last Season: 13th – 45 Points
Not that they are going to win, or even challenge for the Premier League title, but West Ham should be insulted that they are on the same line of betting as Newcastle.
While Arsenal contended mightily, Mike Ashley’s club has to take out the honours for the most dysfunctional offseason in the Premier League.
They had an excellent manager in Rafael Benitez, he left and has been replaced with Steve Bruce whose resume… isn’t exactly inspiring.
Not to mention they sold one of their best attackers to Leicester but at least did opt to replace him with Brazillian forward Joelinton but there’s no guarantee he is going to be able to replicate what Perez offered.
It would not be a surprise to see Newcastle start off very slowly and wind up having to play catch up.
With they way this club is set up, a relegation battle seems likely and I’m ready and willing to back Newcastle to go down.
BET: Back Newcastle to Be Relegated @ $3.00
Last Season: 10th Place – 52 Points
Are West Ham going to be really good or really bad this season?
With Manuel Pellegrini at the helm, they have more than enough talent to pick up a fair few big wins and really put some fear into some bigger clubs… maybe not Man City in the opening week though.
They replaced the departing Marko Aranautovic who had been eyeing the exit door for a while with Sebastien Haller who if nothing else should get along with his teammates a bit better than his predecessor.
If this midfield can click then they will make West Ham a really tough opponent to deal with so I’ll happily back them for a top 10 finish and take the over even money value here.
BET: Back West Ham to Have a Top 10 Finish @ $2.10
Last Season: 12th Place – 49 Points
Will he or won’t he?
That’s the question that has been plaguing Palace all offseason regarding their star man Wilfried Zaha, whom they were very reliant on in their 12th place finish last season.
If he does complete his rumoured move to Arsenal or another club, it really does put Palace in a bind at the start of the season as they are running out of time to replace the Ivorian.
They also lost full back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United for £55 million but haven’t re-invested his fee beyond a meagre £2.8 million purchase of forward Jordan Ayew who will have to also offset the absence Michy Batshuayi who returned to Chelsea following the completion of his loan.
If they manage to hold on to their star man they should be in for a season of comfort sitting just out of the relegation battle but if he does go, they’ll at least have plenty in the kitty when they launch a January spending spree to save their season.
BET: Back Against Palace Early in the Season
Last Season: 16th Place – 39 Points
It wasn’t a great campaign for Southampton last season, winning just one of their first 14 games meant they spent a lot of time trying to get out from behind the 8-ball.
After impressing on loan last season, Danny Ings is in permanently to lead the line in what was a surprisingly stable offseason for a club used to losing its best talent.
That stability should come in handy early on as they look for a faster start than last season, overall that should lead to a better campaign where they work their way up closer to 10th place.
As for a season betting play it’s worth a look into the geographical markets and how they will go compared to the other southern sides to find some value.
I’ll bank on the stability of the squad and have them as the best finishing South Coast side ahead of Bournemouth and Brighton.
BET: Back Southampton to be the Top Southern Club @ $2.20
Last Season: 11th Place – 50 Points
It’s easy to forget that Watford had a pretty good season in their own right last time out, they were in the race for the Top 10 before falling off late as they reached the FA Cup Final.
Chances are they will be in a similar position to that this year, going on hot and cold streaks and trying to finish in the top half of the table.
As much fun as their FA Cup run was last year, it’s hard to see them repeating in that competition which bodes well for their league form.
As a pure value play, it’s worth backing Watford for a top half finish as they are one of the few clubs that are at over even money and could realistically do it, especially if one or two of the forecasted top ten clubs falter.
BET: Back Watford to Finish in the Top 10 @ $3.75
Last Season: 14th Place – 45 Points
This will be Bournemouth’s fifth straight season in the Premier League and have comfortably settled into being a mid-bottom table club without having to worry about falling too far out of the mix.
In their Premier League spell they have finished 16th, 9th, 12th and 14th largely thanks to Eddie Howe finding ways to get the best out of his players.
This season their story will be much the same, race to 40 points as quickly as possible, ensure safety then see where they can go from there.
Expect plenty of goals in their games this season, they scored 56 and conceded 70 in 2018/2019, the second highest tally of total goals in the Premier League, behind Arsenal’s 124.
So for a betting play, back the overs in most Bournemouth games plus Callum Wilson as an Anytime Goalscorer, he could be in for a productive season.
BET: Back Overs in Bournemouth Games
Brighton and Hove Albion
Last Season: 17th Place – 36 Points
The good news for Brighton is that they survived last season… just.
The bad news is the Seagulls are probably going to be in for a similar type of campaign this season where they are battling to keep their head above the water.
To have any hope of booking another season of Premier League football, they really need to find a way to score some more goals this season, their tally of 35 was by far the worst of the 17 clubs to survive the drop.
Realistically, this squad just has too many holes to feel that confident in anything other than a relegation battle and a bet on them to go down will likely be alive into May.
BET: Back Brighton to be Relegated @ $2.80
Last Season: 15th Place – 40 Points
Forget Burnley’s 7th place finish of two seasons ago, this side is closer to what we saw last season and will focus on consolidation this time.
Nobody will be winning any style awards playing for this side but they will win games with a compact, defensive minded approach and by finding ways to stifle opponents.
The key to betting on Burnley this season will be picking your spots when they are going to have games decided by one goal or possibly even a scoreless draw.
BET: Back the Under in Burnley Games
THE PROMOTED BUNCH
Last Season: 5th Place – Championship Playoff Winners – 76 Points
Villa are adamant they aren’t “doing a Fulham, signing a whole bunch of players in an attempt to stave off going straight back to the Championship.
They did go into the transfer window with a clear motive to try and improve a squad that was the fifth best in the Championship last season.
What is important is having all of their new players find their role quickly and the building phase is quick.
They should have the quality to survive the drop this season and be the most successful of the promoted teams
BET: Back Villa to be the Top Promoted Side @ $1.87
Last Season: Championship Winners – 94 Points
Norwich appears to be following the opposite team building philosophy to Aston Villa, thinking that for the most part, they have a good enough squad for Premier League survival.
They have opted only for minor investment in the transfer window with their biggest outlay coming in the form of a loan fee for goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann from Schalke.
There are also high hopes for Patrick Roberts, a winger in for the season from Manchester City but for the most part they will be counting on the players that helped them reach the Premier League to ensure their survival.
Realistically Norwich will probably be in the bottom five teams this season and will likely go down but there isn’t a lot of value on offer for them to stay up or go down.
In the interests of honesty, there isn’t a betting play that clearly leaps out for Norwich so it might be better to just approach them on a game by game basis.
Last Season: Championship Runners Up – 89 Points
Let’s not beat around the bush, it’s probably going to be a really short stay in the Premier League for Sheffield United.
While they do have a couple of familiar names in that team such as Phil Jagielka and Ravel Morrison, both of whom have Premier League experience but won’t be in a position to carry the team.
They have gone out to upgrade their attacking stocks as well with purchases of striker Lys Mousset, winger Callum Robinson and midfielder Luke Freeman which should give them a few more options going forward if they need to chase games.
Overall though it looks like it’ll be a slow season for the Blades where they lost a lot more games than they win, so back against them in games.
BET: Back against Sheffield in Most Games