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  • Betting Guide For The 2018-19 English Premier League Season


    Betting guide for the 2018-19 English Premier League season


    Derek Bilton
    ESPN INSIDER UK



    The Premier League is back this weekend, and the action is bigger than it has ever been. It's rather unsurprising that, after their record-breaking 2017-18 campaign, Manchester City are the red-hot betting favorites and the team everybody needs to beat.

    However, given that several of their rivals have splashed the cash to strengthen their squads, it looks like anything but a one-horse race this time around. In addition to the outright title betting, there are also plenty of other markets to get stuck into, including top goal scorer, relegation and several special/prop betting markets.

    Let's dig into ESPN Chalk's 2018-19 preseason Premier League betting guide.
    Title betting market



    Most goals, most points, most wins, most consecutive wins, biggest title-winning margin. It's fair to say that Pep Guardiola's Manchester City cleaned up domestically last season. Odds-compilers fancy them strongly to do the business again, with the Citizens odds-on favorites across the board to retain their Premier League title.

    History tells us, however, that retaining the Premier League crown is much more difficult than winning it. It has been a decade since a team won back-to-back titles, when Manchester United did it in 2008/09, and this season's title race looks intriguing.

    Guardiola has not been massively active in the transfer market, with the acquisition of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City the only real piece of high-profile business done. Manchester City are operating from a position of strength, though, and the Catalan and his incessant quest for footballing perfection will mean City are the team to beat once again.

    Punters don't seem to fancy the chances of Manchester United, who are on the drift in the title-betting action thanks in no small part to the sullen, negative demeanor of boss Jose Mourinho all through preseason. Mourinho, of course, has never stayed at a club for more than three full seasons, and as he enters his third year in the Old Trafford hot seat, it is clear that all is not well. This despite the fact their second-place finish last season was their best showing since Sir Alex Ferguson called it a day in 2013.

    Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are all hefty double-figure prices to win the league this season, yet it's easy to see why. Spurs have yet to do any meaningful business in the transfer market and will also be plying their trade at a new stadium, so it could take some time for them to find their feet. Arsenal go into bat for the first time in 22 years without legendary boss Arsene Wenger in the dugout, while Chelsea also have a new manager in Maurizio Sarri, who may or may not be able to hold on to their talisman Eden Hazard beyond August.

    Indeed, the team the odds-men feel will run Manchester City closest this season is Liverpool, whose price has been cut in the wake of some serious summer transfer activity. Naby Keita, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson Becker have all been added to a Liverpool squad who didn't look a million miles away from being the finished article last season; their main issue last term was consistency.

    Liverpool had a fabulous head-to-head record against the rest of the top six but struggled at times against the division's lesser lights. This time around, if they can keep the irascible Mo Salah fit, and if their high-profile new signings all settle in early, they can help Jurgen Klopp guide Liverpool to its first championship since 1990.

    Pick: Liverpool (4-1) to win the title (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)


    Relegation market



    Traditionally, the three newly-promoted sides are the favorites to be relegated in their first season up, but at the outset, Premier League newcomers Wolves and Fulham are both fancied to beat the drop this term. Wolves in particular should be OK, having cruised to the Championship title last season while bringing in further quality over the summer.

    Fulham have a vibrant young squad, and with their American owner Shahid Khan reported to be worth over £5 billion, they are under no pressure to sell their best players. Ryan Sessegnon may only be just old enough these days to vote or buy a pint in a pub, but he will be pivotal to their survival prospects, along with Aleksandar Mitrovic.

    Cardiff City are fancied by many observers to make an immediate return to the Championship, and it's easy to see why. They upset the odds last season to claim an improbable promotion, prompting boss Neil Warnock to claim it was his biggest achievement yet. However, if Warnock can keep the Bluebirds up this season, they will have to give the gnarled old veteran the keys to the city. Cardiff don't have the personnel or the financial firepower to be truly competitive at this level, and for these reasons their top flight return could be brief.

    Huddersfield Town are another side who could struggle. The ultimate underdog story in 2017-18, the Terriers ended up finishing a commendable 16th, four points clear of trouble. Yet despite beefing up their squad by breaking the club's transfer record to sign Terence Kongolo on a permanent deal, they still look a bit short up front. And, put simply, if you don't score goals, you don't win football matches.

    Picks: Cardiff City (4-6) and Huddersfield Town (11-10) to be relegated(Odds from Bet365)


    Top goal-scorer market (Golden Boot)



    In terms of the Golden Boot, Harry Kane is a warm favorite to top the Premier League charts once again. Kane was top scorer at the recent World Cup in Russia and scored an incredible 52 goals for club and country last season. A classic fox-in-the-box finisher, Kane is set to be there or thereabouts once more. Spurs' lack of investment in the transfer market, however, is something of a worry, and it remains to be seen just how much England's fabulous run to the semifinals in Russia will have taken out of the Londoner.

    Kane was pipped for the Golden Boot last season by record-breaking Mohamed Salah, the brilliant Egyptian who weighed in with a 32-goal haul for Liverpool. In total, Salah scored against 17 different opponents; no player has scored against more during the Premier League era. His potential is limitless, and if the Reds can keep him fit and keep creating the chances, he looks the man to get with again in the race for the Golden Boot.

    Salah is our main pick, but if Sergio Aguero can stay healthy, we also fancy his chances. The Argentine legend passed 200 goals for Manchester City in their recent 2-0 Community Shield victory over Chelsea. Aguero looked in ominous form at Wembley, and the evergreen goal machine will privately have the Golden Boot in his sights again this season.

    Picks: Salah (5-1) and Aguero (8-1) to be Premier League top scorer (Odds from 888 Sport)


    Special/prop betting market

    Total season points: Wolves



    Wolves could definitely surprise a few people this year and actually look a decent shout to finish in the top half. Nuno Espírito Santo's side took the Championship by storm last season, amassing 99 points and scoring 82 times as they returned to the top flight after a six-year absence. They've brought in yet more quality this summer, with Euro 2016 winners Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho being joined by Mexican striker Raul Jimenez.

    It will be interesting to see how their ambitious brand of football fares against the sheer physicality of the Premier League, but the early signs are good and you would struggle to name ten better top-flight teams than them right now. With this in mind, they look a lock to collect over 43 points.

    Pick: Wolves over 43.5 points (-110) (Odds from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)


    Total season points: Arsenal



    Looking at the business Arsenal have done in the summer, it's clear new boss Unai Emery is trying to bolster the spine of the team he has inherited. Emery's appointment brought to an end Arsene Wenger's 22-year association with the North London giants, and thus this could be a season of transition. Arsenal are not certain to break the 70-point barrier this term either, having won just 19 of their 38 games last season.

    Emery looks like a progressive appointment, but there are question marks surrounding him, given he failed to crack Europe while at PSG despite having access to lavish financial resources. He will be doing very well if he gets this side back into the top four, and backing them to collect less than 70 points this season looks the way to go.

    Pick: Arsenal under 70.5 points (-110) (Odds from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)

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