English Premier League Soccer Odds and Betting Predictions
by Vegas Sports Informer - 7/28/2011
Here in the Las Vegas sportsbooks we’re all happy that the NFL Lockout is over and now we can all get ready for season ‘over/under’ win totals, parlay cards, fantasy football drafts, Monday Night Football parties, and, most importantly, a packed house in every sportsbook on Sunday morning.
Across the pond in England, futbol is ready to go for Premier League Football, and so am I! The season starts in just a couple weeks, and it looks as though the usual suspects are going to be the frontrunners to win the league again in 2011-12. Unlike every professional sports league in the USA, which is decided at the end of a playoff; the premier league crown goes to the team with the best record at the end of the 38-game regular season. This usually narrows down the list of potential winners to just a few, and once again, it will be a tale of two cities -- London and Manchester -- to see which club comes out on top. Here I will give some English Premier League soccer odds and betting predictions.
Manchester United (9/5) - The EPL champs are your current betting favorites to repeat for the upcoming season, and with good reason. They won 18 out of 19 games played at Old Trafford last year, conceding only 12 goals in those 19 games. Last year they received major contributions from Mexican import Javier Hernandez, a seemingly rejuvenated Wayne Rooney, an ageless Ryan Giggs, Portuguese playmaker Nani ,and a solid backline led by Nemanja Vidic.
There are a couple of question marks heading into this year, however. Long-time midfielder Paul Scholes and rock-solid goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar have retired this summer, leaving some big shoes to fill. David De Gea moves from Athletico Madrid to assume the role as Man U’s No. 1, and Ashley Young comes over from Villa in order to fill into the midfield. There does seem to be too many strikers on the roster to get everyone playing time. Rooney and Hernandez were Sir Alex Ferguson’s first choice duo throughout their Champions League run, and they look likely to start again upfront this year. Sir Alex also claims he has no intention of loaning out Danny Welbeck again this year, leaving Dimitar Berbatov as the odd man out.
Barring major injuries, look for the Red Devils to be rock solid yet again and almost assuredly finish in England’s Top 3.
Chelsea (5/2) - What a topsy-turvy year for Chelsea supporters last season. The blues started off the year playing “Playstation football,” demolishing everybody in their path. Then they couldn’t seem to win a game in November-December, relinquishing the EPL lead, then fighting back in March and April to pull close to Man United only to finally concede in the last couple of weeks. That wasn’t good enough for Russian owner Roman Abramovich, who replaced Carlo Ancelotti as manager with former Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas.
Chelsea has been quiet this summer, and in my opinion that’s a good thing. They had some key injuries last year to Frank Lampard and Youssi Benayoun, and also had some big mid-season acquisitions in David Luiz and Fernando Torres. You would think if healthy, Torres should revert back to the goal scoring form which made him a star at Liverpool. Even if Torres proves to be a bust, they’ve got ample options in Drogba, Anelka and Daniel Sturridge. Combined with a healthy midfield of Lampard, Essien, Benayoun and Malouda, Chelsea should challenge for the top spot once again.
Manchester City (4/1) - It was an exciting return to glory for Manchester City last year, finishing in the Top 3, and winning the FA cup. While Roberto Mancini’s club didn’t exactly play the most exciting brand of soccer, they were extremely solid, especially on defense. Led by Vincent Kompany and goalkeeper Joe Hart, City allowed only 0.87 goals a game, the best in the premiership.
There are some questions coming into this year, most of which involve mercurial striker Carlos Tevez. He seems intent on leaving England, and would leave some big shoes to fill if he does exit. City has already added Gael Clichy to their already stout defense, and no doubt owner Sheikh Mansour will open the purse strings to acquire more talent before the transfer window closes. Will this finally be the year Manchester City finishes ahead of inter-city rival Man United in the EPL table? Being a Mets fan, I know how it feels supporting the second team in town, so I’m rooting for it. But as a realist I doubt it…
Arsenal (9/1) - What to make of the Gunners? At times they look like the best team in the world, including when they beat Barcelona, 2-1, at home then somehow blew a four-goal lead to Newcastle. They are incredibly fun to watch, but nearly impossible to handicap.
To me, the start of the season will be very important to Arsenal. They haven’t picked up any silverware recently, and pressure will mount on longtime Manager Arsenne Wenger if they struggle out of the gate. Other clubs are looking to steal away talented midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri; and a slow start could make their moves more likely. On the flip-side if these guys start the season well, everyone stays, and they show some grit that has been missing over the last couple of years, the sky’s the limit for Arsenal. There looks to be some value at 9/1 for a side that was within contention of winning it last year before a poor finish.
My apologies to Liverpool and Tottenham, the only other legitimate contenders for the title, not mentioned above. While I could see them finish in the Top 4, winning it all is just too much of a stretch for them.
So which city is the favorite to hoist the crown? Probably Manchester…but I’ll take the plus price with Chelsea and Arsenal to bring the title back to London this year. See you on Saturday, Aug. 13 for the kickoff of another entertaining year of the EPL! And of course, Vegas Sports Informer will have all your winning picks. Click Here for more information.
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