With the 2017-18 Premier League season about to get underway, we cast our expert judgement over some of the most popular betting markets for the campaign ahead. With Antonio Conte’s Chelsea back in the Champions League, we expect the champions to have a tougher time this season, and they may struggle to retain their title. We ponder over whether Harry Kane can join all-time Premier League greats Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer by claiming a third consecutive Golden Boot. We also consider whether Dele Alli can elevate himself to the status of best player in the league, and finally, we assess which teams will face a relegation battle.
Now that Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have had time to settle in at Manchester City and Manchester United respectively, many are thinking that the Premier League title race will be contested strongly in the North West. Both elite managers have had time to get to know the players at their disposal and address key weaknesses in their teams, and with Chelsea now having European duties to contend with again, the playing field is slightly more even than last term. Mourinho has always won the league in his second season in charge at a club, but we think the increasingly frustrated-looking manager may be facing his toughest challenge yet in what will be a closely-fought title race.
The odds on the Manchester teams winning the league are, at the time of writing, 15/8 for the Sky Blues and 7/2 for the Red Devils. Bettors will remember, though, that bookies were offering similar odds at the start of last season when both teams ended up failing. For that reason, we think there could be better value elsewhere.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur are becoming a more cohesive unit and are improving massively each year. In the past two seasons, they have come close in the title race with third and second-place finishes, and there is a chance they could be in the race until the death again this season. It is strange, then, that the Lilywhites can be backed at odds as long as 10/1 to top the division. The reason for this is, perhaps, down to their poor record of one win in the last eight games at Wembley. We suggest holding off for now, but if they can overcome the pressure of playing on the big stage and grab a win in their first home game, Spurs could challenge all the way for the title this season.
With Sergio Aguero’s security of starts in Guardiola’s Manchester City side under threat from new boy Gabriel de Jesus, the once solid and reliable goalscorer is now an outsider to top the scoring charts at 7/1. The Brazilian is a Premier League new boy, but if he nails on a starting berth leading the line in City’s potent attack, he will plunder the goals. The 20-year-old scored seven goals in just 651 minutes of play last time out, and at 9/1 is a good player to jump on before he opens his account. He will be up there, but whether he can outscore Kane is another question.
Kane has been such a deadly force in the top flight for the last three seasons, breaching the 20 goal mark each time and improving year upon year. As he displayed towards the end of the season, once he hits a purple patch he is the most prolific attacker in the top flight. For these reasons, he is the favourite for the Golden Boot once again at 3/1. However, the England international has had a tendency to start slowly in recent seasons, which has seen his odds ease as other players have found their groove early on. When the Spurs attacker suffered an ankle injury in September last year, his odds slipped to around 40/1 with some sites. We all know what happened upon his return. Here at Sports Predictor, we think that the 24-year-old is more than capable of joining the short list of legends who have pulled off three Golden Boots in a row, but we suggest that you hold off for a few weeks before staking on the player. His odds may become slightly more favourable if others get off to a solid start.
The other strong contender is Romelu Lukaku, who came close to Kane last time out. We think that the Belgian will benefit from Manchester United’s slightly more potent attack and penchant for crosses, but if Spurs continue their exceptional form of last term then Kane is the standout option.
N’Golo Kante won the PFA Player of the Year Award last time out, which broke the tendency of the accolade going to a more attack-minded player. Prior to the Frenchman, the last holding midfielder to be named best player was Roy Keane at the end of the 1999-2000 season. For that reason, we predict that it will go to an attacker once again this time out. Over the past three seasons, the award has always gone to a player from a winning team as well, so if Spurs can challenge again we are backing Dele Alli as a frontrunner to claim the prize.
Alli can currently be backed at 16/1, and we think these are tantalising odds for a player who has scored 28 goals and assisted 23 in his past two seasons at White Hart Lane. The youngster is one of the first names on Pochettino’s team sheet, and he is rapidly improving. Eden Hazard is the bookies’ favourite to be named the best player again this year, but Alli has bettered the Belgian’s output massively over the last two campaigns. Hazard is perhaps the more technically gifted of the two, and pulled off 74.5% of his dribbles last season to Alli’s 39.2%. The Belgian also had much better distribution, with an 81.4% pass completion rate in the final third to the Englishman’s 78.4%. Alli is five years younger than the Blues playmaker, though, and if he can continue his prolific output and improve on a few key areas, he could usurp Hazard as the best attacking midfielder in the division and claim the Player of the Year award.
With the English top flight now tougher than ever, it’s getting harder for newly promoted sides to challenge against the better-established clubs. Both Middlesbrough and Hull City were relegated last term at the first time of asking, and it was only Burnley – promoted from the Championship as champions – who lived to fight another season. Last season’s second-tier winners Newcastle United were far too strong for the lower division, and if they can keep hold of Champions League-winning manager Rafael Benitez, they should easily avoid an instant return to the lower echelon.
Of the three promoted teams, it’s Huddersfield Town who we think look likely to struggle. David Wagner’s side managed to earn a ticket to the top flight through the playoffs without actually winning a match in normal time. The Terriers also somehow achieved promotion despite having a negative goal difference of -2, and they desperately need record signing Steve Mounie to make a swift and successful transition to English football if they are to have any chance of survival. Watford are another team that we suggest monitoring closely, as they came dangerously close to being relegated last season and haven’t strengthened much as yet in the transfer market.
Make sure you keep checking this site for all the best tips as the season progresses. We will continue to search out the best odds, analyse all the stats available, and make the best predictions we possibly can for you.