Champions Manchester United are in the unusual position of beginning the defence of their title with a different manager at the helm after 26 years under the canny guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Discounting Sunday’s Community Shield victory, we’ll get our first view of the post-Fergie, David Moyes-era on Saturday at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium, where the former Everton boss is 5/6 via Winner.com to start his tenure with a victory and 19/5 with Stan James to preside over a shock defeat.
Eyebrows have been raised about the lack of transfer activity at Old Trafford so far this summer and that could nudge a few punters towards BetVictor’s 14/5 marked against the stalemate but while the Swans are a genuine danger, United should have just enough quality to sneak it in South Wales.
Ladbrokes rate Moyes’s men at 14/5 to prevail by a solitary goal and, in a match that’s a solid-looking 8/11 (BetVictor) to see both teams find the net, Stan James offer 8/1 about a 2-1 away success.
In attack meanwhile, the question marks over Wayne Rooney’s future make him a risky first goalscorer choice at 13/2 with Stan James and accordingly bet365’s 15/4 for Robin van Persie to break the deadlock is the best bet in that particular market.
Many pundits’ title fancies now Jose Mourinho is back in the dugout, Chelsea kick-off the campaign with what looks a straightforward assignment against newly promoted Hull.
Bet365 chalk the Blues up at just 2/9 to see off the Tigers (22/1, BetVictor) and Skybet make them a generous 10/11 to triumph without conceding at Stamford Bridge, where William Hill quote a 2-0 victory at 11/2.
Manchester City have been busy over the summer, recruiting extensively as well as changing manager and the 2011/12 champions are 1/3 via BetVictor to reap instant rewards by defeating Newcastle on Monday.
The same firm offer 7/1 about Manuel Pellegrini’s troops grabbing the only goal and Paddy Power price new-signing Alvaro Negredo at 5/1 to mark his debut with the opener at Eastlands.
North London pair Tottenham and Arsenal are expected to battle it out for fourth spot this term and they can both get off to the ideal start.
Where Spurs are concerned, betway consider them 4/5 jollies to collect three points at top flight newcomers Crystal Palace and Stan James make the Gunners a skinnier 2/5 to defeat an Aston Villa outfit that struggled for significant chunks of last season.
At Anfield, Liverpool are also 2/5, this time courtesy of BetVictor, as they lock horns with Stoke and in the absence of want-away striker Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge stands out at 7/2 (bet365) to fire the opener in that one.
Elsewhere, Roberto Martinez’s first game in charge of Everton is 12/5 with Stan James to end in stalemate at Norwich and, at an identical price, with bet365, a stalemate also looks likely as Sunderland and Fulham face-off at the Stadium of Light.
West Ham meanwhile, get the nod at 19/20 via William Hill to nick it against promoted Cardiff and Skybet go 13/10 about a home success as West Brom welcome Southampton to the Hawthorns.
Bookies are struggling to split Nathan Cleverly and Sergey Kovalev as the pair put their unbeaten records on the line for the WBO light heavyweight title in Cardiff.
Stan James rate both fighters at 10/11 to come out on top but BetVictor lean narrowly towards Cleverly, pricing his Russian opponent as an even money outsider.
The Welshman should have the edge, especially on home soil and there’s a case to be made for Paddy Power’s 13/8 marked against him getting the nod on the judges’ scorecards. However, Kovalev is a genuine danger and punters would be better advised to simply back the fight at 17/20 (betway) to go the distance.
The Ashes have certainly been closer than the current 3-0 scoreline suggests but with the Australians now beaten, bookmakers appear confident that England will end the series on a high by registering a fifth Test success at the Oval next week.
Bet365 chalk the hosts up at even money to make it 4-0 while BetVictor go 3/1 about the Baggy Greens grabbing a consolation victory and Skybet price the draw at 12/5.
However, as three of the matches have been very close, it’s probably prudent for punters to look elsewhere for value and focusing on a failure for England’s openers is a decent place to start. Alastair Cook and Joe Root have looked vulnerable throughout and William Hill’s 5/6 for them to score under 32.5 between them in the first innings looks a decent shout.
Elsewhere, David Warner is an enticing 4/1 at Ladbrokes to be the top batsmen in the first knock for the tourists, in-form Ian Bell is 4/1 (Stan James) to do likewise for the home side and Skybet price the buoyant Stuart Broad at 3/1 to be England’s best bowler.
Cook and co. meanwhile, are now odds-on at 10/11 with BetVictor to double up by winning the forthcoming Ashes series Down Under.
Bet of the week: David Warner to be top Aussie batsman in 5th Test – 4/1 (Ladbrokes).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com