16th August, 2pm
We’re just a single day away from the start of the Premier Leauge, and our man has been picking out a few long term bets. Let’s crack on with a look at the main contenders.
Premier League outright.
The odds make it fairly clear that the bookies are expecting a 3 horse race, with the 4th favourites (Arsenal) available at a tempting 11/1. The current best prices on the top 3 are:
Man City 3.25
Man Utd 3.5
A tight market then. All 3 have new managers, and it seems the general opinion is that the Fergie factor at United was the difference last time round. Just how many points a season was the manager worth? United won it by 11 points last year, and go into the new season with largely the same squad of players.
In addition to the managerial changes, both City and Chelsea have strengthened their squads. I think it is a case of them catching up with United, rather than United dropping back so much. I’ve thought long and hard about this, and I’ve really struggled to pick a winner. Will Mourinho’s return galvanise Chelsea the way he did before? Will Pellegrini’s reinforcements put City back in contention? More questions than answers at the moment.
Pre-season didn’t tell us a great deal. Some odd results in friendlies, but we can never read too much into it until the season for real starts up. I think we could have a much better idea within the space of a few weeks, with some massive games coming right from the start.
Despite the difficulty of the decision, I’m still going to pick a winner. And it will be… Manchester. Oh, you want to know red or blue? Ok. Red. Just. Why? 3 things:
1. Mourinho, second time round? Not so sure it will be the fairy tale return. I’d be more tempted by a fiver on him to be next manager out! If things don’t go well immediately, and with the history he has there, it could end in disaster. It’s all or nothing for Chelsea.
2. City, stronger? But still not quite right. They have added to the squad, but Pellegrini now has an awful lot of big names to keep happy. It could be quite a challenge, and too much tinkering with the team could unsettle them.
3. United, unchanged. Strong enough to win the league by 11 points, they still have the same team, and I have a sneaking suspicion a big signing is on the horizon. If they get through their tricky start with a decent haul, they will be the team to catch. Notoriously stronger in the second half of the season, their run-in is the one you would want. There’s another reason I think United will do it, read on to see why.
Its a sporting bet only, but I’m backing United.
Premier League top goalscorer.
Rarely at the start of a season have the odds on the top goalscorer been this short:
Van Persie 4.5
I’m expecting Van Persie to carry on where he left on, and if he does, he could well be the difference again. United might well have lost the boss, but they’ve still got one of the very best strikers in Europe. With new signing Zaha back at Old Trafford after his loan, and looking dangerous in pre-season, there are going to be chances galore for RVP. He won’t miss that many. For me this is as simple as a bet on whether or not he stays fit. If he does, the others won’t get near him.
If you are looking for a bigger odds call as an each way bet, how about Lukaku, back at Chelsea? Available at 25-1, he had a decent season at West Brom last year and could well be the next “Drogba” type player for Mourinho. If he builds the attack around him he’ll score plenty as well. Depends on game time, and that’s the bet here. Worth an each-way punt for me.
Summary – Premier League season bets:
Winner. Manchester United. 3.5.
Top goalscorer. Robin Van Persie. 4.5.
Top goalscorer #2. Lukaku. 26.0. (Place as an each-way bet).
Enjoy the new season.
5th August, 2pm
We finished July with another cricket bet, backing England to win the third test of the Ashes series. Unfortunately for us, the weather was the winner here, with so much rain in Manchester that the game did not have time to reach a conclusion. England retained the Ashes with the draw, but it wasn’t quite the way they had hoped to do it. In truth, it was Australia who had more cause for complaint with the cracking English weather, they were a long way ahead on runs, but ran out of time to bowl England out.
We’ll be back to our preferred betting sport next time out, as the football season is quickly approaching! We’ll be having a look at the Premier League, trying to pick the outright winner and top goalscorer, plus laying out a bet for the opening weekend. See you next week!