We’re just a month away from the start of the new Premier League campaign and the big hitters are starting their pre-season programmes at the same time as making significant manoeuvres in the transfer market.
Subsequently, with squads far from finalised, it’s something of a risk placing long-term wagers although, at this stage, there could also be some decent prices around as punters and bookies alike try to second-guess who will sign who.
Defending champions Manchester United, under new management of course, have shown their ambition with a couple of bold but unsuccessful bids and it seems like only a matter of time before they make some huge acquisitions.
They also have that knack of picking up results, albeit under Sir Alex Ferguson, and there’s a strong chance that trend will continue under David Moyes so they’re the value title bet at 9/4 with BetVictor.
The return of Jose Mourinho to Chelsea has seen them become favourites to win the Premier League in places and Paddy Power post 23/10 against them capturing a first crown since 2010. However, the ‘Special One’ effect may well have been overestimated and on the basis of last term they have plenty of ground to make up.
Completing the trio of teams considered genuine contenders are Manchester City, who have brought in Manuel Pellegrini to help them wrest the championship from their neighbours.
Skybet make them 12/5 to do just that but there’s a huge element of the unknown about them and they’re hard to recommend at that price.
Arsenal meanwhile, are clearly looking to splash the cash but Ladbrokes’ 11/1 shots have plenty of rebuilding to do and they’re a better bet at 7/10 (Winner.com) to be the top side ‘without the big three’.
At the other end, bookies are looking no further than the promoted trio in the relegation market – Crystal Palace (8/15, BetVictor), Hull (4/6, Paddy Power) and Cardiff (7/4, bet365) heading the bottom three betting.
Aston Villa, however, look vulnerable especially in light of Christian Benteke’s transfer request and they’re huge at 7/1 via William Hill to go down.
Phil Taylor is in the unusual position of not starting a tournament as favourite with some bookies this weekend, BetVictor pricing ‘the Power’ at 11/4 to win the World Matchplay event in Blackpool and Stan James installing young Dutchman Michael van Gerwen as market leader at 5/2.
Some punters might find Taylor’s odds hard to resist given that he’s won the tournament in each of the last five renewals and has secured both the PDC World Championship and the UK Open in 2013, although his defeat to van Gerwen in the Premier League final could also influence the thinking of some.
Those seeking each-way value might consider James Wade (16/1, betway) who has reached the final at the Winter Gardens in five of the last seven years while 2010 runner-up Raymond van Barneveld is 14/1 via bet365 to go better on this occasion.
Bookies are expecting a close contest at Wembley Arena as Dereck Chisora and Malik Scott go toe-to-toe in the heavyweight division.
Stan James rate the unbeaten American as a narrow outsider at 21/20 but bet365 consider Chisora to be the underdog at 11/10 in a bout that looks a banker at 4/11 (BetVictor) to last all 10 rounds.
Bet365 go 2/1 about the controversial Chisora shading it on the judges’ scorecards but the visiting fighter has 35 victories on his record and although there aren’t many names of note on there, Scott can take his chance in this one – he’s 13/8 at BetVictor to prevail on points.
Bet of the week: Man Utd to win the Premier League title – 9/4 (BetVictor).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com