Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:57 PM
EPL Champion - Best Bets
Premier League 2019-20 Winner Betting Preview
Last year’s Premier League was defined by a big six, divided into a top two and four teams chasing the other Champions League spots. While the identity of the last four spots may be up for question this season, bookmakers are sure there are only two sides with any realistic chance of winning the Premier League: Manchester City and Liverpool.
Manchester City are the favourites at 1/2 odds (Bet $100 to win $50), having taken an astonishing 198 points from their last two seasons. They won 64 of their 76 league games in that period, scoring 201 goals. English football has not seen a period of dominance like it. They became the first team since Manchester United in 2009 to retain the title, and they look rock solid to make it three in a row.
Their only major signing has been Rodri, a fine holding midfielder from Atlético Madrid, while Angeliño will provide competition at left-back.
In City’s favour is their incredible depth. Their back-up front three of Leroy Sané, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus would be the envy of almost every other first XI in the world. They managed to cope without their best midfielder, Kevin de Bruyne, for much of last season and still managed 98 points.
At the moment it seems that there are only two things that could work against them. The departure of club captain Vincent Kompany will not affect them too much on the field, but he was a true leader of that dressing room. His departure, as well as the signing of Rodri, could mean Fernandinho spends more time playing at centre-back and takes on a greater leadership role.
The other is that the Champions League is the biggest priority for City and for Guardiola, who has yet to win one away from Barcelona. They start as favourites for every competition they are entering, and assuming City go deep into Europe it would not be a surprise to see them rest players for league games.
Liverpool are 13/5. Could this be there year? They managed 97 points last year - easily the most for a team that did not win the league - and of course won their sixth Champions League title. But perhaps last year was truly their year, and they were just unlucky to come up against a team in the league who were even better.
Jürgen Klopp’s side threw everything at last season, and were slightly fortunate to get as many points as they did - Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty and their freak winner against Everton are two examples of their good luck. They have not made a major signing yet, and it looks unlikely that they will. Their pre-season has not gone well, and although that does not matter very much, there is a sense that Liverpool may have missed their big chance last year.
Of the four sides who battled it out to get Champions League football last year, Tottenham Hotspur look in the best shape. They are 18/1 to win the league, but are heavily fancied to get top four at 1/2.
Tanguy Ndombele looks an outstanding signing at centre-midfield, while there are still hopes that they can get deals for Giovani Lo Celso, Ryan Sessegnon and even Paulo Dybala over the line before the window shuts. They have a fantastic manager and a brand new stadium, although making up 27 points on Manchester City from last year will surely be beyond them.
This leaves one spot for Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.
All three of these clubs are ridden with problems. No club apart from Crystal Palace was as reliant on one player as Chelsea were on Hazard last season. He has departed, and the club have been unable to spend his transfer money this summer because of their ban on signing new players.
Frank Lampard looks like a sensible, if inevitably risky, appointment to manage a squad full of talented young players, but Hazard’s departure will surely outweigh any benefits that Chelsea reap.
Arsenal would not even have been in contention for top four had it not been for their lethal front line. Their big summer signing, Nicolas Pepe, makes that part of their team even stronger, but their awful defensive issues simply have not been addressed. They fell apart at the end of last season and there are still question marks over Unai Emery. Time and again they struggled against lesser teams only for Aubameyang and Lacazette to bail them out, and their thrashings at Leicester and Wolves late last season indicated that there really may not be very much to choose between Arsenal and those sides.
But from a betting point of view, Manchester United are the most tempting team to oppose. The appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks, in hindsight, like a rushed, misguided decision. They have spent big in defence, and the purchases of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka look shrewd. But the side looked lost going forward in the latter part of last season, and their attacking weaknesses have not been addressed at all. Underachieving players have not been sold, and there is every chance that this season will be yet another disappointment for England’s biggest club.
Manchester City 1st, Liverpool 2nd, Tottenham 3rd - Tricast at 8/1 (Must finish 1-2-3)
Manchester United not to finish in the top 4 at 8/11.