It’s here already. The woes of England’s dismal World Cup are nothing but distant memories as the country gears up for the start of the Premier League season this weekend. As ever it’s a level playing field and even those smaller clubs can dream that this might just be their year.
Of course, in reality we all have a pretty good idea of what the table will look like come the end of the season. But there will always be a few surprises, and when there are, why not take advantage by finding a little bit of value and having a cheeky bet.
Unless you think Arsenal (6/1), Liverpool (10/1) or Manchester City (13/2) can realistically challenge Chelsea and Manchester United for the title this year, there is very little value in the outright market.
Trying to call it between the United and Chelsea over the course of a season is like trying to hop along a tightrope with your hands tied behind your back. Instead, the best possible value is a 7/4 bet on a reverse forecast. That way if United and Chelsea finish as the top two in either order, you make a tidy profit.
Reverse forecast: Manchester United and Chelsea (7/4)
Top Midlands club
The main players in this market are Aston Villa (1/3), Stoke City (7/1) and Birmingham City (5/1). With Martin O’Neill’s shock departure from Villa earlier this week and the imminent departure of James Milner to Manchester City, I think there is a real risk that they will end up in free fall.
In contrast Birmingham City had one of their best seasons in recent memory last year, finishing an impressive 9th in the league. Add to this key signings in the shape of 6 foot 7 inch Serbian striker Nikola Zigic, a strong team spirit and a decent manager in Alex McLeish and I think they have a real chance of building on last season’s success and replacing Aston Villa as the Midland’s top outfit.
Birmingham City (5/1)
This is a great market for having a speculative punt and everyone will have their own opinions. I personally think that this year could finally be the season where Fernando Torres makes a real mark on the Premier League. With a new wave of optimism at Anfield and greater support from midfield, the only real worry would be Torres’ fitness over the past few years. If he can stay fit, his goals to games ratio alone provides a great indication that he is more than capable of winning the golden boot. At 7/1 Torres is my ‘banker’ as it were.
There are however a couple of other bets I like the look of. Manchester United’s new boy Javier Hernandez looks to have real goalscoring potential. If he gets regular football I think he could spring a few surprises. However, if you like the sound of this punt, get on it quickly as Hernandez has been backed in from 66/1 to 33/1 since his goal against Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday.
Other good bets include: Darren Bent (18/1) and Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez (12/1).
Fernando Torres (7/1)
Javier Hernandez (33/1)
Let me know your picks for the top goalscorer market by commenting below