The new Premier League campaign kicks off on August 10, just four weeks after the World Cup finished. It’s been a frantic summer for most clubs. The 2018/19 season could take a long time to settle into a coherent pattern, can the outsiders take their chance? In our EPL bitcoin betting guide, we look at whether the favourites could walk it or if there will be surprises in store.
Manchester City are still the favourites for the title following their ‘Centurion’ success under Pep Guardiola last season. New coaches at Arsenal and Chelsea promise to liven things up at the top end, while Liverpool have had a superb transfer window. The jury is still out on a surprisingly quiet Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.
Elsewhere, optimism is running high at West Ham United, Everton, and Wolverhampton Wanderers, where managerial changes and significant investment has made all three worth keeping an eye on this year.
Premier League Title Race
Manchester City signed Riyad Mahrez in an update to their embarrassment of riches in attack, making them runaway favourites to retain the title at 1.70. Guardiola’s magnificently complex football is already near-impossible to beat, and yet one of his biggest assets at Bayern Munich and Barcelona was an ability to constantly reinvent. He will have plenty of new tricks up his sleeve to bamboozle opponents this season, starting with deploying Mahrez as a number ten.
Liverpool look the most likely to challenge Manchester City.
Liverpool, in signing a new goalkeeper (Alisson Becker) and two new midfielders (Naby Keita and Fabinho) has dramatically strengthened the spine of team. Meaning Klopp can look forward to a highly successful campaign. Ultimately they are unlikely to hit a points tally in the mid-90s, which is probably needed to finish above City, but they are a good bet to finish top w/o Man City, priced at 2.25.
Manchester United (6.70) will surely fall short again, not least because Jose Mourinho’s attitude is beginning to take its toll in Manchester. The tide might just be turning against the Portuguese, meaning a series of poor performances in the Autumn could be enough to trigger one of his famous third season collapses. It will be fascinating to see just how the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard will react to playing under a suffocating, restrictive tactician after their superb – and freeing - World Cup campaigns.
Tottenham Hotspur (15.2) haven’t changed much from last season and therefore are likely to soldier on to another top four finish, although little can be said for their chances until Daniel Levy finishes his traditional deadline-day business. Jack Grealish would be an outstanding addition to the side.
Chelsea (15.2) and Arsenal (18.9)both have new managers in Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery respectively, although early signs suggest they will be moving in different directions. After 15 years of counter-attacking football built in Mourinho’s image, Sarri has been tasked with rewriting the club’s tactical identity on a small budget – and in just four weeks. The gruelling Thursday-Sunday Europa League schedule only adds to the sense it could go horribly wrong at Stamford Bridge.
Conversely, Emery’s gegenpressing football is perfect for the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Aaron Ramsey, while many of the club’s key players didn’t travel to Russia. He has had plenty of time to get his idea across, and with expectations relatively low a good crack at the top four is likely.
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The fans must be nervous at Craven Cottage. Fulham, after such an impressive campaign in the Championship and spending big sums on new signings over the summer, have come hurtling down to earth. The gulf in class between the two leagues has never looked more wide. Winless after their first two games, they'll need to get some points on the board against fellow strugglers Burnley (3.5) to show they've invested in the right players.
After collecting seven points from their first three games of 2017/18 Huddersfield Town gradually declined. The goals dried up and David Wagner’s side hobbled over the line, which is an ominous sign for the upcoming campaign given the strength of the newly promoted teams.
Brighton and Hove Albion, Cardiff, and Bournemouth (5.75) could still be among the candidates to go down. The Welsh side will almost certainly fall short due to Neil Warnock’s direct, defensive style of football and their poor transfer window, while it would be a minor miracle for Brighton to survive two years in the top flight. See the latest relegation odds at Cloudbet.
Best of the Rest: Who’s had the most productive summer?
The three clubs that have made the biggest splash this summer are West Ham, Everton, and Leicester City; all three will harbour ambitions of breaking the big six monopoly. The Hammers have appointed Manuel Pellegrini, whose attacking football and vast experience could help stabilise the club – particularly considering the board have reportedly given him full control over transfers. The addition of Felipe Anderson, Jack Wilshere, and Andriy Yarmolenko has galvanised the team. Supporters will be hoping their bubble doesn't burst early on.
Everton might have made just one new signing but he is perfect for the bold attacking football of new manager Marco Silva. The Portuguese will get the best out of Richarlison and maximise the potential of this under-rated Toffees squad, potentially nipping ahead of Chelsea by the end of the campaign. Leicester’s chances are lower, although their outstanding recruitment record continues with Ricardo Pereira and Jonny Evans arriving at the King Power.
Winner: Man City – 1.70
Winner w/o Man City: Liverpool – 2.25
Under 32.5 points: Cardiff City – 2.13
Under 34.5 points: Huddersfield Town - 1.80
Under 38.5 points: Brighton - 1.80