The 2014-15 Barclays Premier League is right around the corner and will begin on Saturday, August 16 . Last season, Manchester City edged out Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal to win the title for the second time in three seasons. This season the three new clubs moving up to the EPL are Leicester City, Burnley, and QPR, and the three clubs relegated from the EPL are Cardiff City, Fulham, and Norwich City.
Here’s a look at the early odds via Sportsbook to win the 2014-15 Premier League title and how they’ve fluctuated since opening:
Odds on August 14
Season Points O/U
|West Bromwich Albion||+100000||+100000||+500000||38.5|
|West Ham United||+100000||+100000||+500000||40.5|
|Queens Park Rangers||+100000||+100000||+500000||36.5|
There haven’t been any shock league winners in years, but the journey to the top for these teams was anything but easy. The table below shows the preseason title odds via Ladbrokes for the EPL winners dating back to the 2009-10 season:
Preseason Odds to Win
There have been plenty of player transfers this offseason, most notably Liverpool’s Luis Suarez heading to Barcelona. Suarez scored 31 goals in 33 league games for the Reds last year, good for tops in the EPL. Following the move, Liverpool’s title odds were adjusted from +550 to +750 but the transfer fee freed up money for them to buy Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, both young stars from Southhampton. Interestingly, these two teams will meet in the opening game with Liverpool a -240 home favorite (Southampton +775, Draw +400). All members can track the latest lines and betting percentages around the market for every league game this season by visiting their Settings and adding “ENG Prem” to your Live Odds page.
Here’s a complete list of all the transfers heading in and out of the English Premier League.
There have also been some managerial changes in the league this year which are usually crucial, highlighted by Manchester United’s sacking of David Moyes late last year and bringing in Netherlands World Cup manager Louis Van Gaal. West Bromwich Albion has brought in Alan Irvine for Pepe Mel and, although Southampton had a successful 2013-14, they’ve brought in Ronald Koeman to replace Tottenham-bound Mauricio Pochettino.
So who has a realistic shot of winning the EPL title this year? The odds say that there are probably only 8 teams with a chance, and of those, there are really only 5 teams that wouldn’t be a total shock to win the league. Chelsea and Manchester City are the early co-favorites, but Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal all have listed odds suggesting they’ll be serious contenders. We’ll briefly make a case why each of these teams could win it this season (written on July 3):
Chelsea: They should have won it last season with their success against other top clubs, but faltered against the weaker squads. They bring back their tactical and self-acclaimed-genius manager in Jose Mourinho, former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, and much needed forward Diego Costa from Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid. They spend their fair share of money every year to improve the club and were in the race all last season before squandering the title (as well as making the UCL semifinal). Chelsea seem to be most pundits’ pick to win the league but they’ll need to take care of business against the smaller clubs and maintain their brilliance against the top teams to do so.
Manchester City: City have another great squad this year, further strengthened by the acquisitions of defender Bacary Sagna (formerly of Arsenal) and midfielder Fernando (from Porto). Manager Manuel Pellegrini is widely respected, they’ve got an MVP-like midfielder in Yaya Toure roaming everywhere, and an attacking mentality that makes them a very difficult team to stop. They’ll hope to make a deeper run in Champions League competition this year which may hinder their quest for a league title. There’s little doubt whether they have the talent to win again but will need to fight the complacency of regularly being on top of the EPL.
Manchester United: Last year the transition from legend Sir Alex Ferguson to David Moyes did not go as planned, and United even missed out on making the Champions League this year (meaning they lost out on lots of additional money). David Moyes is gone now, and new manager Louis Van Gaal has arrived at United with plenty of experience and past success. He seems to be a perfect fit for a club of this status, and with new signings like Luke Shaw (from Southampton) and Ander Herrera (formerly of Bilbao), another EPL title is in the cards. Without the Champions League or even Europa League to worry about, their major focus will be on winning the Premier League and domestic cups.
Liverpool: Last year had all the makings of a dream season for Steven Gerrard and company, and they had the title in their grasp late in the year. However, in a key away game at Crystal Palace, they surrendered a 3-0 lead with 11 minutes to draw the match and take all the wind out of their sails. They’ve now sold off arguably the most formidable striker in the world in Luis Suarez and though they bring in talented youth to fill in, they appear to be weaker than the rest of the contenders. However, the impact of manager Brendan Rodgers cannot be discounted– there’s a feel at Anfield that he’ll pull this club together to make them stronger than before and with players like Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge ready to take over, they’ll be in the mix throughout.
Arsenal: Their outside odds of around +1000 is consistent with past years, but they’ve made a huge leap in the transfer window by signing Mesut Ozil last year, filling voids in key positions, and bringing in Alexis Sanchez this season. Manager Arsene Wenger is currently by far the longest-tenured coach in the EPL (17 years and counting) and is essentially the foundation of Arsenal football club. On the negative side, they were downright embarrassing in some vital matches last season, losing 6-0 to Chelsea, 6-3 to Manchester City, and 5-1 to Liverpool. On the good side, they finally won a trophy last year (FA Cup) after missing out since 2005, and have a core group of players that’s had another year of experience together. Arsenal have already moved from +1100 to +900 to win the league and additional signings could lessen those odds even further, but simply have to do much better in big matches.
Chelsea and Manchester City are the co-favorites for good reason, but there’s not a lot separating them from the other three. With signings still to be made, it’s difficult to make a pick but Manchester United (+500) and Arsenal (+900) could be good early bets to win the Premier League this year as their odds may drop even further before it begins. There’s enough balance of experience and new blood to propel either club to the title this season.
Who is your pick to win the EPL this year? Is it even possible for a team like Everton, Tottenham, or Southampton to contend over a 38-game season? Feel free to leave your comments or banter below.