|Team||Points (2017/18)||Expected points (2017/18)||Projected points (2018/19)|
After a scintillating World Cup, we turn our attention back to domestic soccer, as England’s elite prepare for the start of the 2018/19 Premier League season. Where is the value in Pinnacle’s outright Premier League betting? We have a look at the top six contenders to inform your 2018/19 Premier League winner predictions.
Ruling out Leicester’s 2015/16 title-win shock, the top six in the Premier League has been fairly predictable, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham making up the top six in three of the last four seasons, and seventh-placed Burnley finishing nine points shy of sixth-placed Arsenal last season.
*Expected points sourced from understat.com. Projected points taken from Pinnacle's Total Points odds.
Following Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in 2008, Manchester City are building their own empire to rival their more successful neighbours. The introduction of Pep Guardiola back in 2016 shows the pull Manchester City have nowadays; a big difference to their bottom half finishes last decade.
After a year of transition, Guardiola stamped his philosophy on the squad last season, bringing them the title and breaking (or equalling) record after record.
The most damning records there are the possession and passing records; a cornerstone of Guardiola’s style at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now at Manchester City.
Only Manchester United have successfully defended their Premier League crown and no one has successfully defended the title in the last decade. Pep has already voiced his concerns after a gruelling season followed by the World Cup:
“I have to see the faces of my players in the next two weeks when they are together.”
They also outpointed their expected goals by a staggering 14.57. If others can improve on their points tally and Manchester City aren’t as lethal in front of goal, then maybe there is a way for a side to make up the monumental 19 point difference between themselves and second.
Yet, if the Citizens show the same application as last season they will take some stopping, and at 1.684* are rightfully favourites in the 2018/19 Premier League outright betting.
After an impressive season which ended in a Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp has spent big this summer in Liverpool’s biggest push for the Premier League crown this decade.
The introductions of Fabinho, Alisson and Naby Keita have most certainly strengthened weak points in their lineup, and Xerdan Shaqiri will offer cover which they may not have had last season.
Luck was on their side last season as no big names picked up any serious injuries. If that had happened, then the lack of cover could have had a detrimental effect on their Champions League run. New signings have helped to improve their depth and, if they don’t get such luck this season, will hopefully not dent their chances as severely.
Mohamed Salah will look to pick up his domestic form from where he left off. Thirty-two Premier League goals, Golden Boot winner, player of the season and three player of the month awards, the Egyptian was the biggest threat in a lethal three-pronged attack.
After spending big in the window there is real pressure for Liverpool to at a minimum apply pressure on Manchester City, if not take the crown. Klopp’s style of play arguably suits cup competitions and a high-octane system like the German’s may be pleasing on the eye, but can be difficult to maintain over a 38-game season.
If they are able to maintain their style of play over the full season then there is no doubt that Liverpool have the class to win the Premier League, and at 4.990*, may offer value.
It has been a difficult few years for Manchester United. Whilst their ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City have begun building what looks to be a platform for success, the Red Devils are still struggling to get a grip at the top of the league since Sir Alex Ferguson left.
Sure, they may have finished 2nd last season, but that was mainly due to Liverpool’s Champions League run and their focus on the league fading.
Nineteen points behind the blue half of Manchester is a lot to make up for this year, and judging by their exploits so far in the transfer window, it is difficult the see exactly where those points are coming from.
David De Gea’s amazing form last season masked the clear deficiencies that United’s defence had. A whopping 3.46 saves per goal is the highest in the league and makes Premier League winner Ederson’s 2.17 look ordinary.
United’s expected goals against was 15.54 higher than their actual number. If David De Gea has an average season, let alone a bad one, then Manchester United’s defence could be the difference between them being a title challenging team and struggling to get Champions League soccer.
They do have clear quality in their ranks however, and after his impressive form at the World Cup, Paul Pogba is expected to show exactly why Mourinho spent the money to bring him back to Manchester. Will the ‘Special one’s’ style of play give him the freedom to do so? If it’s similar to last season, then I highly doubt it. At 6.700, I think that there are smarter bets elsewhere in Pinnacle’s Premier League outright odds.
A season playing at Wembley, a ground where in the past they have struggled, it was always going to be difficult to improve on their recent finishes in the league. Nonetheless, despite having only the 5th best home record in the league, Mauricio Pochettino’s men finished in a respectable 3rd after Liverpool’s dropoff.
Now Spurs make their way to their new home. There have been numerous examples where a new home has taken teams time to familiarise themselves with the surroundings, as Benjamin Cronin has explained in a previous article.
Harry Kane once again had an impressive season in front of goal, just missing out on another Golden Boot. His exploits post injury should be a cause for concern for bettors, however. Fatigue could be an issue after a gruelling season followed up by a World Cup where England played seven matches in less than four weeks.
If Tottenham’s star striker hasn’t quite recovered from last season’s efforts then it could be a difficult start for the Lilywhites. They certainly have goals elsewhere on the pitch in the likes of Dele Alli, Christian Erikson and Heung Min Son, but none quite offer the 30 goal haul that Kane offers.
There have been numerous examples where a new home has taken teams time to familiarise themselves with the surroundings.
Spurs have been quiet in the transfer market, possibly due to the funds needed in the creation of their new home. This has dented clubs before, and we are yet to see whether this will have a similar impact on Pochettino’s men this season. However, there is undeniable quality running through the squad and if their first team can all stay fit and recover well from the World Cup, then they certainly have what it takes to cement a title challenge.
Injuries could hit Tottenham harder than most other teams, but if they have similar luck to what Liverpool had last season, there is a chance they can have a stellar season similar to the Merseysiders (despite them finishing above).
At 15.230*, Tottenham are most certainly outsiders for the Premier League title. Yet if Manchester City’s priorities are pushed to European competitions, then there could be an upset here.
A bit of an unknown prospect this season, Chelsea’s style of play should take a dramatic hit with new manager Mauricio Sari’s arrival.
A team that has been built on a more defensive-minded style, particularly through Antonio Conte’s reign, has now hired a manager who has built a reputation on fast-paced attacking soccer; an appointment that could be worthwhile when you look at their measly 62 goals in the league last season, the lowest in the top six.
The real question is, what team will line up for the Blues this season? If Chelsea can keep hold of their big names going forward, in particular Eden Hazard, then they could be a real surprise package. No Champions League could also work in their favour, as their priorities may focus on the league rather than elsewhere.
It is difficult to know just how Chelsea’s team will adapt to Sari’s style of play, and how long it will take to do so. If there is a transitional process, then there could be too much ground to make up on the leading pack before the start of 2019.
Fatigue could be an issue after a gruelling season followed up by the World Cup.
Sari did bring Jorjinho with him from Napoli, a player who will understand his style of play, so the defensive midfielder could be crucial to weave Chelsea’s new brand early on.
If Sari is able to push his brand early on, and the squad isn't hit too hard during the transfer window, then Chelsea could be a real surprise package this season, and at 15.230* could offer value.
Another unknown prospect, Arsenal will go into a Premier League season for the first time this century without Arsene Wenger at the helm. Unai Emery begins his reign at The Emirates and has added new signings to critical areas.
Lucas Torreira offers a new option in midfield, an area that has caused difficulties in the past few years. Since the start of the 2016/17 season (the year Torreira established himself in the Sampdoria first team) no player has won more tackles (198), won more fouls (174) or made the more interceptions (158) in Serie A.
Bernd Leno is expected to secure the starting goalkeeping spot from Petr Cech, who had the lowest saves per goal (1.66) in comparison to the other top six starting goalkeepers. However, Leno has only averaged 1.19 himself, so whether this is an area that has now been resolved remains to be seen.
It will be a drastic transitional period for the Gunners as Unai Emery attempts to implement his own style after so many years of knowing only one manager, so it is certainly possible that Arsenal could struggle this season, if only just for the start.
With this in mind, a top-four finish would be a successful season for Arsenal, but the title is likely to be out of their reach. If you disagree with this, then they most certainly offer the biggest odds of the top six at 18.910*.