With the English Premier League set to open its season this weekend, sportsbooks are gearing up for what could one of the most hotly contested seasons in recent league history.
It’s going to be hard to topple the dramatic conclusion of the 2011-2012 season, but the way the championship odds have been placed, the championship could very well be decided in the last week of the season again.
Ahead of opening weekend, three teams have been tabbed as co-favorites to win the Premier League title. Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea all received 11/5 odds, although those lines could still swing dramatically on both sides with the impending transfer window still a few weeks away from closing.
The safe bet seems to always be the red side of Manchester, who, in addition to being the defending champions, have also won a record 20 Premier League titles. But backing United also poses some risks, especially with the kind of upheaval brought about by the retirement of skipper Sir Alex Ferguson. Former Everton manager David Moyes now takes the helm for the Red Devils and it’ll be interesting how he handles the increased scrutiny brought about by being the manager of arguably one of the most popular football teams in the world.
Meanwhile, City and Chelsea also have new managers to roll out to the field with the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini and the return to Chelsea of Jose Mourinho. If for nothing else, the three new managers for all three co-favorites could be a sign that we’ll have one of the most unpredictable seasons in league annals.
Outside of the top three, the next closest to win the Premier League title is Arsenal at 10/1, followed by Liverpool and Tottenham, both of which have been priced at 25/1. Keep a close eye on these two teams because if they lose Luis Suarez and Garreth Bale in the transfer window, then all bets are off, figuratively at least. Expect a steep drop in the line specifically for the Spurs, who will not only lose their best player, but the best player of the entire season last year.
Those six teams are expected to challenge for the Champions League and Europa League berths. Putting money on any other team other than the aforementioned six figures to be an exercise in insanity with Everton the closest to the pack at 250/1 odds.
Other than that, you’re better off burning your cash and flushing it down the toilet if you’re thinking of putting in some money on Newcastle (1,000/1), much less on the seven teams (Aston Villa, West Brom, Southampton, Swansea, Fulham, West Ham, and Sunderland) that received 2,000/1 odds.
And in case you’re wondering, Stoke City’s odds to win the Premier League is at 3,000/1, followed by Cardiff, Norwich, and Hull City, each at 5,000/1 odds, and Crystal Palace at 9,000/1.