Summer somehow seems to both fly by and drag.
On the one hand we enjoy a few sunny days but the darkness and cold returns before we know it, on the other, when there isn’t a major football tournament it seems like an eternity from the time the last ball is kicked in May to the day the action returns in early August.
Mercifully, the Premier League is back this weekend and with it, where football is concerned, comes the resumption of the battle between bookie and punter.
Neither has a significant form guide to go on after a couple of months of pedestrian friendy encounters but that hasn’t discouraged people from chancing their arm on the opening round of fixtures.
First up is a collision between the teams that finished fourth and fifth respectively last term, Manchester United and Tottenham and both have ambitions to improve on those positions so they’ll be keen to lay down a marker in this clash.
As hosts, United are strongly favoured by bet365 at odds of 8/13 Spurs are as high as 21/4 via BetVictor.
Stan James’ 3/1 about a stalemate meanwhile, might attract cash from backers expecting the pair to be keen to avoid defeat in such a crucial early clash.
However, of the two managers Louis Van Gaal has done the most eye-catching business in the off season and his recruitment drive looks set to reap instant rewards in this contest.
Stan James’ 13/5 for the hosts to shade it by a one-goal margin catches the eye then and in a clash that’s 10/11 (William Hill) to see both teams find the net, United represent decent value at 8/1 with bet365 to finish on the right side of a 2-1 scoreline.
Champions Chelsea entertain Swansea in Saturday’s evening kick-off and they should begin their title defence with a victory; admittedly, a decent Swans outfit should give the Blues a decent workout but Jose Mourinho’s charges can justify the 2/5 favouritism afforded to them by Stan James.
Chelsea conceded just nine times in 19 home fixtures last season and they can pick up where they left off by keeping a clean sheet here.
Winner.com make them 21/20 to prevail ‘to nil’ at Stamford Bridge, where a 1-0 victory at 6/1 courtesy of BetVictor also catches the eye and bet365 go 10/3 about Diego Costa breaking the deadlock.
On Monday, Skybet quote Manchester City at 4/6 to collect a maximum haul at West Brom (5/1, Ladbrokes), it’s 3/10 at Paddy Power for Arsenal – tipped for be champions in some quarters – to make the ideal start by seeing off West Ham at the Emirates Stadium and the same firm go 13/10 about Liverpool gaining revenge for the 6-1 thrashing they suffered at Stoke on the final day of the last campaign by overcoming the Potters at the Britannia Stadium on the first weekend of this one. That trio combine in a treble at 4/1 (BetVictor).
Elsewhere, Ladbrokes rate Newcastle and Southampton at 23/10 to share the spoils, it’s 12/5 with Winner.com to be inconclusive at the King Power Stadium, where Leicester host Sunderland and also one for the draw column, at 23/20 via Paddy Power, is newly-promoted Norwich’s home clash with Crystal Palace.
Top-flight newcomers Bournemouth, meanwhile, are an enticing even money at Hills to get off to a flyer against one of last season’s strugglers, Aston Villa and BetVictor price an Everton victory over Watford at 8/11.
Super League’s Super 8s competition gets under way and in tomorrow’s (Friday) televised contest table-topping Leeds are banker material at 2/5 with BetVictor to overcome visiting Warrington at Headingley.
The Rhinos will be in confident mood having booked their place in the Challenge Cup last weekend while the Wolves could be a touch down-in-the-dumps given that they were beaten in their semi-final.
Subsequently, Brian McDermott’s troops should ease to victory and they’re cracking value in Winner.com’s handicaps, where they’re given a modest eight points to claw back at an alluring 10/11.
Elsewhere, Castleford appeal at even money (Stan James) when kicking-off six points adrift of Hull at the Jungle and Ladbrokes quote St Helens at 10/11 to defeat Catalans Dragons by more than two points in Perpignan.
Whistling Straits hosts golf’s USPGA Championship next week and punters pondering a flutter on the year’s final major won’t be surprised to see Jordan Spieth heading BetVictor’s outright betting at 5/1 given his performances in 2015.
The 22-year-old landed the Masters and the US Open before coming very close to a play-off in the Open at St Andrews so he’ll take some stopping in Wisconsin.
At 12/1 (William Hill), Dustin Johnson isn’t without appeal, bet365 chalk defending champion Martin Kaymer up at 35/1 but for each-way punters Rickie Fowler (20/1, Ladbrokes) could be the man to follow.
Bet of the week: Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool treble – 4/1 (BetVictor).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com