The Premier League kicks off this week with matches all weekend – and continues for the next nine months.
So which team will come out on top? Is Manchester City the team to beat? Will another band come forward? We look for answers to these questions and more as we start playing.
Odds Courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Manchester City (-165)
City are the favorites to win the English Premier League title for the third time in a row. Liverpool (+200) is next. These teams finished 1-2 last year as well. Which team do you support to take the cup?
Dan Thomas: It should be Manchester City again. They brought in reinforcements over the summer that took their already strong squad to a new, unsurpassable level.
Chris “Bear” Valika: I don’t think Manchester City is a lock as many people think. Liverpool and City drew twice last year, and despite the pressure of trying to win all four titles, the Reds were in a position to do so on the final day of the year. Sadio Mane is gone, but Liverpool’s attack should be wowed by a season full of Luis Diaz, newcomer Darwin Nunez, and of course Mo Salah. Klopp’s side look fresh and poised to win at least one of the two big trophies they won last year.
Paul Carr: Just like last season, I think Manchester City is a little better. But just like last season, when the title came to the final day, the gap between City and Liverpool isn’t too big, as we saw in the Community Shield last weekend. The Reds reloaded them at the top, and even if City need only a few games to fully adapt to Erling Haaland’s style, any missing points may be enough to allow Liverpool to slip. I’d take Liverpool to win the title at +200.
Dalin slap: I think this is a two-horse race which is much closer than the odds suggest. The city is a worthy favorite. Haaland is a huge plus and Calvin Phillips could well replace Fernandinho. However, City have lost players this year who are not over the hill as in past years but want to play elsewhere such as Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Liverpool have done some good transfer work and Darwin Nunez could prove to be a huge plus to recover from the loss of Sadio Mane. The Reds showed themselves to be far more capable in a Community Shield battle with City that was shockingly competitive and effort-packed. At +200, I’ll throw some money at Liverpool; The A-165 price for City is quite steep for what I think is akin to a coin flip.
These are the only two teams with single-digit odds of winning the title of the season. Is there another team you’re looking at that has a chance of cashing in a long-distance ticket to the future?
Thomas: no. This is a race between two horses. Any argument to the contrary is an extension and a win for betting.
my penis: no. If it wasn’t City or Liverpool, I’d be stunned.
Carr: I think Spurs can be justified at 14-1, but although Spurs were much better under Antonio Conte last season, they were still a degree or two behind City and Liverpool. So three things must happen to an amazing champion: Tottenham must be better, and both City and Liverpool will have to suffer greatly. did not happen.
slap: As mentioned above, it is a race between two horses. No other play looks like wasted money.
Man City (-5000), Liverpool (-1600), Tottenham (-150) and Chelsea (-140) are favorites to finish the top four and get places in the Champions League. Who do you see grabbing these last two points?
Thomas: There are four teams vying for the remaining two places in the UEFA Champions League. Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and United. Each of them has a fighting chance. I think the early stages of the season will really set the tone. Overall, I think Chelsea have the deepest squad, and despite the fact that they don’t have a fickle striker, I think they have enough quality overall to cross the line. The other place is full of conversations. Tottenham have Conte’s influence with Kane and Son, Arsenal now have a suitable striker in Gabriel Jesus, and United have a coach they feel can finally handle the locker room. I would go to Arsenal, but is it close?
my penis: Tottenham have two of the top scorers in the league and were able to collect points from both City and Liverpool last year. It looks like Conte is getting the best out of his side and they should take one of the two points they seem to grab to grab it. I will say Arsenal took the last place. With 11 points from his first eight games and people yelling ‘Arteta out’, no one got more points for the rest of the way outside of City and Liverpool. Gabriel Jesus gives the Gunners a real striker, and Oleksandr Zinchenko will be a huge addition at left-back, or wherever he lines up at the end.
Carr: Tottenham and Arsenal. As mentioned, Tottenham did very well after Conte took charge last November, finishing third in the league in points, goal difference and expected goal difference. Another year in Conte’s regime would only help, as would Richarlison on the wing and Yves Bisoma in midfield. Chelsea (-140) and Arsenal (+165) are very close to last place, and given the prices, I would go with Arsenal. Gabriel Jesus should step in and start scoring, and William Saliba should bolster his defense that struggled hard at times last season. Chelsea certainly have talent on the field and on the touchline, but there are a lot of questions surrounding Blues for me to pay that much money.
slap: I believe that self-awareness is critical and sorely lacking in our society. However, this is a biased play. I’ve been an Arsenal fan for two decades and I love their transition work so much this season and I think these moves, along with the constant emergence of the young talent and Arteta’s single-handed appearance, at +165 is good value to finally get them back into the top four. Despite Chelsea’s poor pre-start and rotation within club and team, I still think they have the most depth and Tuchel will eventually find the best system for them. Spurs will be there, too. Conte’s difference has already emerged, and their summer transfers look decisive. I think this is a really tight three-horse race, and I love the value with Arsenal and the Blues to beat Spurs.
City’s Erling Haaland (+275), Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (+450) and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane (+600) lead the scorer leaderboard. Which do you like or is there a longer shot worth playing?
Thomas: After what we saw in the Community Shield, Darwin Nunez (12-1) in that conversation was a constant threat and added another dimension to Liverpool’s attack. I don’t think Haaland offers much value, as much as he would get a lot of goals. I think injuries and rotation will mean he won’t play every game. I would say Salah is against Kane, where Kane offers the best value.
my penis: Every time Luis Diaz touched the ball last season, one apparently had to hold one’s breath. His speed and ability are phenomenal, and although he only scored four league goals last year in 13 games, he likely won’t take penalty kicks. And although he has a large number of scorers on his side, Diaz can be found even 50-1 to be the top scorer. This is a bet I am willing to make. I would also be willing to look at Gabriel Jesus, whom I mentioned earlier. He is supposed to be involved in a lot of Arsenal’s goals this year and he won’t be fighting for minutes like he was at Manchester. It is about 1-12 years old or so.
Carr: I’m going to pass on Haaland because no outside player has won the Golden Boot in his debut season. Plus, the best Golden Boot options usually do two things: play for the Big 6 club (like all but one of the winners over the past 20 seasons) and take penalties (three to six goals for free!). Salah and Kane fit both criteria, and I would pick Kane at a better price. He has at least 17 goals in eight successive Premier League seasons, and last season’s 17 goals were three less than his projected total. It fits well with Conte’s attack system, and he’ll be in the mix. If you can get Gabriel Jesus at 12-1 or better, it’s worth a shot too. After seven goals in five pre-season games, the potential is clear and if he can finish better than he did at City, there will be more than 20 goals in range.
slap: I think Haaland will take some time to go fast with City in a system that will be different than in recent years. Kane and Salah will be in the lineup, but I like Gabriel Jesus at 10-1 and Son Heung-min (who won the award with Salah last year) at 14-1. Not only will Jesus be productive in pre-season, he will lead the Arsenal streak. I think with those minutes and chances created a lot of attacking talent around him he has in this race all year. His son may be the most underappreciated player in world football. Kane is crucial to the success of this team, but Son is a clinical playmaker who has already proven he can win this award and is so valuable at 14-1.
We’ve seen a number of Americans signed this season across Europe. Who are the American players who could lead their team to the championship?
Thomas: It will be tough for the US battalion in Europe to win championships, but if you go into the championship division, Zach Stephen, who is now Middlesbrough’s number one choice, may prove to be a key piece of the puzzle for them in the end. Back to EPL
Carr: The best opportunities are in Scotland, where the United States is almost guaranteed a title. Cameron Carter Vickers returns to defending champion Celtic (-165) after taking home the Team of the Season honors in Scotland, plus James Sands and owner Tillman of the second-choice Rangers (+125). These clubs have combined to win 36 consecutive Scottish titles. Aside from them, perhaps the best shot is Weston McKinney (now injured) at Juventus, currently a co-favourite for the Serie A win, at +175 alongside Inter Milan.
slap: If Sergino Dest is not moved by deadline day, Barcelona at +140 to win La Liga is a good bet. Looking at the financial rules, I also assume that Barcelona can already score all the new signings including the best striker in the world Robert Lewandowski. Those are a few things that matter, but Carter Vickers with Celtic and Stephen appear to be the Americans most likely to win the title.
Take a look at other European leagues starting soon, who would you love to win the title and/or get top scorer.
Thomas: Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are both throwers in their respective leagues, unfortunately the odds reflect that. Meanwhile, La Liga will be a springboard for battle. I think that Barcelona and their new-look team will not only be a match for the defending champions Real Madrid, but will lift the league title at the end of the season.
my penis: It is a reality in France and Germany with Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich. I will probably be Barcelona or Real Madrid in Spain, and the Serie A title will remain in northern Italy. So I will be looking forward to the tournament. Watford won their opening game 1-0, scored two clean sheets, and the trio of Denis, Pedro and Sarr looked like they would give Latford more goals at this level than the Hornets last year. I expect a quick return to the top, and one can still find Watford at around 6-1 to win the championship.
slap: I’ve already touched Barcelona at +140 as a solid bet, and La Liga hasn’t started for another week, so take time to see if they can score transfers. There is no value in Germany or France, but I like Inter Milan at +175 to win the first division. They wrestled with city rivals Milan until the end of last year but came in by a narrow margin. They brought back Romelu Lukaku, who formed an impressive partnership with Lautaro Martinez prior to the Belgian’s short stint at Chelsea last year. They gave up on goalkeeping, and I think they can win the Scudetto again in a fun race with multiple teams vying to the finish.
What teams are at risk of relegation in the English Premier League?
Carr: In the Premier League era, the three newly promoted teams were immediately relegated only once, so it is likely that at least one will be dropped from the Premier League. I would love for Southampton (+300) to be one of those teams. The Saints were the second-worst team in the league after March 1 last season, with five points (tied for second) and an expected goal difference of minus 13 (second worst). Ralph Hessenhuttl’s team has signed many promising young players, but development is not what is needed to get rid of relegation. Southampton still haven’t replaced Danny Ings goals, and the wheels may fall off the Hasnottl pressure system this season.