After what seems like a lifetime top class football returns this weekend (UK ‘riots’ permitting), and after a stint away from Back Page Football honing my tipping skills I have returned this season to write a weekly betting column for the site (published every Friday). Starting right here with my ante post tips for the new Premier League season. So let’s get stuck in.
Another long summer has seen very little change in the trends of the transfer window. Man City have signed expensive players on ludicrous wages, Chelsea have replaced the ‘gaffer’ but still have an ageing and hopelessly unbalanced team, ‘Sralex’ Ferguson has made some more shrewd acquisitions and Arsene Wenger has signed a promising young player from the French Ligue 1. All of this has taken place against a backdrop of the trusted Fabregas to Barcelona plot which frankly I couldn’t give two hoots about. Yawn.
As ever with the Premier League title market there is little value. It’s hard to oppose Man United scooping a 20th league title and they are available at 6/4 on Setanta Bet but I’m staying clear. Mainly because I’m a Liverpool fan and backing United for the title goes against every fibre of my being. That, and the fact that I would probably be put up on charges of treason.
Much more appealing is the Racing Post handicap market on Paddy Power where West Brom (+38 points) is available at 15/1. The Baggies won the league on handicap last year and I think they have been well treated again here. An impressive end to last season after the arrival of Roy Hodgson saw them comfortably escape the drop. The recent signing of Shane Long from Reading will also add firepower. Get on.
At the other end (sort of), I like Blackburn in the relegation market. The world has been promised to Blackburn fans since the Indian chicken farmers took the helm. Not surprisingly, very little has materialised and I think they could be in real trouble this season. They are top price 10/3 with Coral for the drop.
The top scorer market is headed by transplant Rooney and partner in crime Javier Hernandez. I don’t like the look of either. Instead I am having a supportive each way wager on big Andy Carroll whom I think will benefit from much better service in a reworked Liverpool side. Carroll is widely available at top price 20/1.
When the Racing Post published it’s ‘Big Kick Off’ pull out last week and highlighted Alan Pardew to be the next manager to leave his post (or be sacked by mindless ownership) the price plummeted from 16/1 to around 4/1 in a matter of hours. Currently a top price 5/1 with Blue Square Bet, the value seems to have all but gone. It may just be worth a tickle. The key here is to go for managers that are working under mindless, or ill informed ownership but only at a decent price.
The best value left in the ‘sack race’ markets is Steve Bruce at 12/1 with Victor Chandler. He’s signed a lot of players at Sunderland and they will be expecting a vast improvement on the back end of last season where they were in free fall. If they struggle early on, the pressure will mount very quickly indeed.
My final Premier League ante post wager is to take Bolton to be the lowest scoring team at 20/1 with William Hill. I think they will struggle this season and at that price it’s got to be worth a nibble. Unless of course you are a Bolton fan. That could cause some rather serious conflict of interest.
I’ll be back with my weekend bets on Friday. Until then, bet with caution.
Setanta Bet Premier League title odds
Man Utd – 6/4
Chelsea – 5/2
Man City – 7/2
Arsenal – 9/1
Liverpool – 10/1
Tottenham – 33/1