It’s fairly unusual for the annual Community Shield fixture to be contested by sides operating in different divisions but that’s the case this weekend as Premier League champions Manchester United take on relegated FA Cup winners Wigan.
Accordingly, it’s David Moyes’s men that are considered emphatic favourites at 3/10 by BetVictor as bookies almost rule out the prospect of the Latics (12/1, Skybet) causing an upset at Wembley.
It’s 5/1 with bet365 to finish all-square but while Wigan, who are already up to speed in terms of competitive action, managed to stun Manchester City at the same venue in May’s cup final, they’re unlikely to repeat the feat against City’s neighbours who are 4/5 in Stan James’s handicap market, when starting a goal in arrears.
More specifically, United are an enticing 7/1 via BetVictor to notch twice without reply and Winner.com chalk them up at an equally appealing 17/20 to be in front at the end of each half.
Wayne Rooney’s injury problems and the fact that he expressed his desire to leave Old Trafford mean he’s unlikely to play much of a role at Wembley so he won’t exactly be popular at 5/1 with Paddy Power to break the deadlock.
Indeed, the bulk of the first scorer cash will inevitably be for Robin van Persie, who can be backed at 7/2 courtesy of Ladbrokes to first the opener.
The Community Shield of course, is the curtain raiser to the start of the Premier League campaign and, as it stands, bookmakers are having a hard time separating Manchester City and Chelsea at the head of the betting.
Bet365 quote the pair at 9/4 apiece to clinch top spot and in what is considered a three-horse race, current holders Manchester United are a 5/2 chance at William Hill.
Despite having not made any signings of note, Moyes’s troops look the pick of the trio at that price, especially as significant arrivals at the club look inevitable before the transfer window closes.
In the top scorer, van Persie looks the man to beat at 4/1 (betway), although City’s Sergio Aguero at 8/1 via Stan James can enjoy a productive campaign and further down the list, Swansea new boy Wilfried Bony could reward each-way backers at odds of 50/1 with bet365.
In the battle for the top four, Stan James make both Tottenham and Liverpool 11/5 to pip Arsenal (8/13) while at the bottom, BetVictor’s 8/1 posted against Aston Villa in the relegation betting looks a touch high.
Rory McIlroy surged to victory in the USPGA Championship last year but things haven’t exactly gone according to plan since then and the Northern Irishman is as high as 33/1 with BetVictor for a repeat at Rochester’s Oak Hill Country Club this week.
Stan James make Tiger Woods their clear 4/1 favourite, the world number one having been all the rage this week in the wake of his comprehensive success at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and he looks the man to beat as he goes in search of a 15th major.
Phil Mickelson follows Woods in the betting at 16/1 (bet365) after his tremendous Open Championship victory and the man that relinquished a final round lead to ‘Lefty’ at Muirfield, Lee Westwood, is a 33/1 chance at betway to finally get over the line in a major.
Further down the betting, the ever-consistent Matt Kuchar stands out at 35/1 courtesy of bet365, Paddy Power price Hunter Mahan identically and each-way punters that made their selections a week ago will be delighted if they backed either Henrik Stenson or Keegan Bradley.
The pair were available at 50/1 via Stan James but after they tied for second behind Woods at Firestone, they’re now 25/1 and 35/1 respectively. Both have realistic hopes given their current form.
In Friday’s big Super League contest, second hosts first as Wigan welcome Huddersfield to the DW Stadium.
Aided by home advantage, the Warriors are odds-on at 4/9 (bet365) to leapfrog the Giants with a victory but the visitors, at 15/8 via Stan James, have been underestimated a touch perhaps and given an eight-point advantage at 5/6 in Stan James’s handicaps, the buoyant West Yorkshire outfit are certainly worth considering.
Bet of the week: Robin van Persie to score first in the Community Shield – 7/2 (Ladbrokes).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com