The 2016-17 Premier League season is set to kick off this Saturday and in anticipation of that, our footy experts Andrew Avery and Rob Trites have broken down some of the most popular season-long wagers to find you some value.
Andrew: Arsenal (+600)
As a diehard fan of Tottenham Hotspur, it pains me to suggest Arsenal as the league Sportsbooks. The fact of the matter is, the Gunners should have won the league last year and boast the talent to make a push again this year.
Arsenal has yet to make a splash in the transfer market but it feels as if a big move is imminent to bolster their squad. There are needs (striker, for one), but this side is still loaded and Sportsbook’s +600 price is awfully tempting.
I reckon Man United and Chelsea will be a year away with the new faces patrolling the sidelines there, but Man City and Tottenham should be the Gunners’ biggest challengers for the league title.
Rob: Manchester City (+250)
City is the favorite to win the league this year and for good reason. They added a manager in Pep Guardiola who has won at every stop he’s made and have brought in players like Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane to bolster what was already one of the strongest squads in English football.
Man U and Chelsea are getting too much respect from sportsbooks and aren’t getting nearly enough value to wager a bet on for me. City has a chance to run away with the league this year barring either another miracle or some major progression from some of the teams that are right on the cusp.
Andrew: Alexis Sanchez (+2000)
If Arsenal is going to win the league, Alexis Sanchez, their best player, is going to have to be healthy and he is going to have to be effective.
The Chilean played in 30 Premier League games last year and bagged 13 goals as he finished second for Arsenal behind Olivier Giroud’s 16.
Sanchez is hands down Arsenal’s most threatening player in attack and is always a candidate to be a match Sportsbook.
Rob: Romelu Lukaku (+1200)
I was tempted to pick Michy Batsuayi to take the Golden Boot this year but cooler heads have prevailed. I am instead picking his countryman Romelu Lukaku to pace the league in scoring after a campaign in 2015-16 that saw him pot 18 goals.
Lukaku has been leveraging a move back to Chelsea and if that were to happen, his odds to take the Golden Boot would increase substantially. He is primed to be a 20+ goal scorer at Everton this year but if he transferred to Stamford Bridge he would be getting set up by premier players like Willan, Cesc Fabregas and fellow Belgian Eden Hazard – take the value while it’s still there.
Andrew: Crystal Palace (+400)
The Premier League gets more competitive with each season and we are coming off a campaign that saw vast improvements by “mid-tier” clubs like Leicester City, West Ham and Southampton. With that, we could see more quality sides fall to relegation in the 2016-17 season.
I’m going with Crystal Palace here as Sportsbook’s price looks good for a side that was close to falling last season.
Palace finished just five points ahead of Newcastle United for the final relegation spot and have done little to improve their squad through signings thus far.
The side does feature talented individuals like Yannick Bolasie and Yohan Cabaye, but as the league improves, I feel like Palace might be left in the dust and find itself in the Championship come this time next year.
Rob: Burnley (-110)
This is hardly a shocker but my pick for relegation is Burnley. The Sportsbooks of the Championship League have done the least in the way of transfers of any of the recently promoted teams and will be seriously outclassed by the big clubs of the Premier League.
When asked why the club had not completed many deals, manager Sean Dyche said, “It’s hard to get deals done”. Although he pointed the finger at the front office, that sentiment doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in a club that was immediately demoted in their last Premier League appearance.
Andrew: Leicester City (+500)
So let me get this straight: The defending league champion is priced at +500 to finish in the top four this season? I’ll take that, thanks.
While Leicester has lost N’Golo Kante, arguably the most important player in their improbable championship run last season, they held onto Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy (so far). They also added attacking depth with Ahmed Musa and a great young talent in Bartosz Kapustka.
The rich have certainly gotten richer during the summer, but Leicester is still the defending champion and that price is awfully intriguing for this prop.
Rob: Liverpool (+150)
Jürgen Klopp came into Liverpool after the sacking of Brendan Rodgers and led the club to a 60-point eighth-place finish – just six points shy of the fourth-place finishers. Although not spectacular, Klopp had only half a season to impose his tactics and placed a lot of emphasis on European competition.
Liverpool has no European competition to worry about this year and will have a healthy Daniel Sturridge up front. Klopp has always been a proponent of team play rather than going out and spending money on top players and those worried about Liverpool’s lackluster transfer window need only to examine the German manager’s tenure with Borrusia Dortmund to confirm his philosophy is a good one.
Top 4 Finish
Andrew: Middlesbrough (-110)
The Boro finished second in the Championship last season and a return to the top flight for the first time since 2009. Burnley might have finished ahead of them in the league last year, but this side could be competitive in the middle of the table.
Looking for attack? Well, this club features options aplenty as names like Alvaro Negredo, Viktor Fischer, Gaston Ramirez and former prolific scorer David Nugent could pepper the team sheet this season.
The team had the best defensive record in the Championship last season as they allowed just 31 goals in their 46 games played.
Rob: Hull City (+275)
This is a pure value pick. Middlesbrough is the favorite to be the top promoted team after their success in the transfer market over the summer but as we’ve seen, transfers don’t always work out. Tactics and team play are much more important over the course of a 38-game Premier League season.
Admittedly, Middlesbrough will be tough to trump and this wager is not my favorite. Don’t take out a second mortgage on this one, folks.