The Premier League returns to our screens soon and with a number of big-money summer transfers, the race to be crowned champions looks as competitive as ever. In this piece, we’ll be looking for the best three ante-post punts for the 2014/15 campaign.
Manchester City (5/2) made it two titles in three years last season, smashing the 100-goal barrier in the process. But Manuel Pellegrini’s side are rated second best in the outright markets this time around and it’s hard to argue. No team has successfully defended their Premier League crown since 2009 and whilst the Citizens have made some decent additions, it doesn’t compare with the market leaders.
This season’s favourites Chelsea (19/10) have proved mightily impressive in the transfer window. The squad has been improved across the board and Jose Mourinho has been quick to talk up ‘his side’ ahead of the new campaign. The Blues beat title-rivals Manchester City and Liverpool home and away in 2012/13 and only finished four points off the top despite never getting out of second gear.
Chelsea kept an unrivalled 18 clean sheets and that defence looks even better with Filipe Luis’ arrival and the return of Thibaut Cortouis – the world’s best young goalkeeper. Six of the last 11 Premier League winners finished runners-up in the previous season and it’s hard to oppose the Blues at the top of the tree.
Premier league ante post – 3 best bets
But rather than a simple play on Mourinho’s men, a punt on the 5/1 Straight Forecast of Chelsea-Manchester City could be a better ploy. The two teams look a cut above the rest and it’s hard to envisage either team finishing outside the first two places.
The loss of Luis Suarez is bound to hit Liverpool hard whilst Brendan Rodgers’ team must also now face the prospect of Champions League football alongside the pressure’s of the Premier League. With Manchester United freed from European distractions and top-class coach Luis Van Gaal at the helm, a serious challenge for a Top 4 finish is expected. However, 8/15 quotes aren’t enticing enough to take.
With Arsenal completing possibly the signing of the summer in luring Chile ace Alexis Sanchez to the Emirates and the potential for another big-name arrival before September, the Gunners look sure to be in the Champions League places again come May. That leaves the two north-west rivals battling it out for fourth but Liverpool’s (11/10) price looks about right.
Tottenham (7/2) and Everton (7/1) will come up short with a fifth-placed finish the most likely. Spurs will look for stability after a turbulent 2013/14 whilst Everton must contend with Europa League distractions.
Which brings us to the battle for survival. With as good as 13 teams effectively playing to keep their Premier League status, the relegation race looks as tight as ever. All 13 clubs have been chalked up at 10/1 or shorter in the betting but one sticks out.
Aston Villa (13/4) appear to be going backwards. Their last three finishes (16th – 15th – 15th) have left disgruntled supporters demanding answers and Paul Lambert’s men could only manage 38 points last time out. Throw in the fact their defence was the worst bar the relegated clubs and their attack only managed 39 goals and another season of struggle looks likely.
Villa finished the campaign with 15 defeats from their final 24 matches and must do without star striker Christian Benteke for the start of the new campaign. Without him they managed just three wins in 15 last season. Lambert’s business this summer has been less than inspiring and their 26-year stay in the top-flight could soon be coming to an end.
Meanwhile, for something a bit bigger, the Top Goalscorer markets should offer punters plenty of value. Thierry Henry was the last favourite to win the award since 2005/06 and in six of the last seven years a player at 50/1 has placed.
To place, goalscorers are expected to score between 15-18 goals and with tallies of 20 – 9 – 14 in his last three campaigns, Edin Hazard (50/1) fits the bill nicely. With Chelsea looking more threatening going forward following their summer business, Hazard should have plenty of opportunities to better last season’s total. The Belgian star will get plenty of games and was also on penalty duty in 2013/14 which should aid his chances.
Chelsea-Manchester City straight forecast (5/1)
Aston Villa relegated (3/1)
Edin Hazard Top Goalscorer (50/1 e/w)