Manchester United’s home defeat to Swansea suggested that Louis van Gaal might not be capable of transforming the Red Devils into credible title challengers overnight.
But that aside, clues as to the eventual destination of the Premier League crown were few and far between over the opening weekend as last season’s top four all picked up victories.
However, Monday night might provide the first real indicator as champions Manchester City and last term’s runners-up Liverpool renew hostilities at Eastlands.
Aided by home advantage, Manuel Pellegrini’s men are odds-on at 10/11 (Paddy Power) to follow up their 2-0 success at Newcastle by striking an early blow in the title race while Stan James price the Reds at 10/3 to collect another maximum haul and BetVictor chalk a potentially popular 11/4 against an inconclusive contest.
The teams tend to conjure up plenty of goals between them – indeed, the last five league and cup meetings between the two have generated 20. A tally of three or more catches the eye then at 8/11 via Stan James ahead of this one and punters fancying a stalemate might be tempted by bet365’s 14/1 for it to finish two-each, a result that has cropped up three times in five renewals.
However, City looked more convincing than their rivals last week and on their own patch they should just about have the edge in the mouth-watering battle.
Bet365 quote them at 8/1 to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline, betway offer 13/5 about a home win and both teams finding the net while the hosts are 31/10 (Ladbrokes) to prevail by one.
Chelsea eased to victory at Burnley on Monday and bookmakers believe it will be equally straightforward as the Blues host another of the promoted teams, Leicester.
William Hill make Jose Mourinho’s side 2/9 to send the Foxes home empty-handed, they’re evens at Skybet to triumph ‘to nil’ and for punters seeking heftier odds, bet365 make Diego Costa an enticing 10/3 to follow his debut goal at Turf Moor by breaking the deadlock at Stamford Bridge.
Winner.com tentatively give Arsenal the nod at 31/20 ahead of what should be an entertaining clash with Everton (9/5, Stan James) at Goodison Park. Nevertheless, BetVictor’s 5/2 about the stalemate is the stand out wager on Merseyside, where William Hill quote 14/1 for the pair to draw two-each, just as the Toffees did at Leicester last weekend.
Despite Manchester United’s struggles continuing on Saturday, Sunderland are as high as 4/1 via BetVictor to overhaul the Old Trafford giants at the Stadium of Light.
Louis van Gaal’s team are 3/4 (Winner.com) to post three points on the board but it’s hard to know how they’ll react to the reverse against the Swans and this match could be one to avoid from a betting perspective.
Tottenham, by contrast, look a safe bet at 1/2 with Stan James as they take on former manager Harry Redknapp’s QPR, Hull (6/4, BetVictor) can also land a maximum haul at Stoke’s expense and William Hill rate Southampton at 10/11 to get the better of West Brom.
Finally, Swansea are worthy favourites at 7/10 (BetVictor) as they lock horns with Burnley, bet365 mark 9/4 against Crystal Palace and West Ham sharing the spoils while Ladbrokes offer 12/5 for Aston Villa and Newcastle to share the points at Villa Park.
Leeds Rhinos last won the Challenge Cup in 1999 but since then they’ve been runners-up half-a-dozen times, a sequence that includes three final defeats in the last four years.
Brian McDermott’s men will be desperate to end their losing streak then, as they tackle neighbours Castleford in this year’s Wembley showpiece and bookmakers think they’ll do just that, Paddy Power quoting them at 2/5.
The Tigers are 12/5 at Stan James to come out on top but this could be Leeds’s year and they stand out at 11/10 in Skybet’s handicaps, when kicking off eight points adrift of their opponents.
Ryan Hall can be a key man for the Rhinos in the capital and Ladbrokes price the prolific winger at 8/11 to score a try at any stage. William Hill meanwhile, rate Hall at 7/1 to cross the whitewash first.
Andy Murray is only seeded eighth for the US Open, which gets under way on Monday.
However, despite his lower ranking at Flushing Meadows, the Scot is betway’s 9/2 third favourite to capture the title he won back in 2012 with only Roger Federer (7/2, Skybet) and Novak Djokovic (5/4, Winner.com) considered more likely victors. The latter should be the man to beat in New York.
Bet of the week: Novak Djokovic to win the US Open – 5/4 (Winner.com).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com