After celebrating the club’s fifth English Premier League (EPL) title a little over two months ago, Chelsea won’t be a favorite to top the table this time around.
So says online sportsbook Bovada, which posted preseason odds for all 20 clubs competing for the 2017-18 EPL title.
A wager on Chelsea offers (+325) odds, the same as perennial power Manchester United – but the best chance for a championship is afforded to upstart Manchester City at (+185).
Other than that top-ranked trio – which finished in first-, sixth-, and third-place in last year’s EPL campaign – only Tottenham Hotspur (+900) offers better than 10 to 1 on a bettor’s buck.
Last season saw ‘Spurs finish in second place, as Tottenham piled up 86 points to fall short of the 93 points which delivered Chelsea’s championship.
Man City acquitted themselves well with 78 points, good enough to finish third in the table, but the oddsmakers may be factoring in a late push from the Sky Blues – one in which they played as well as any club on the planet. While closing out their 2016-17 season with an eight-game unbeaten streak in EPL competition, Man City also played their way to the semifinals of the FA Cup – where they fell 2-0 to Arsenal.
Speaking of the Gunners, Arsenal (+1200) joins Liverpool (+1100) as the last two teams being offered a legitimate chance to take the EPL title. Liverpool finished in fourth place last year at 76 points, while Arsenal was right behind in fifth place with 75 points.
After these two venerable clubs, no EPL participant is listed at better than 100 to 1, which demonstrates in stark terms the talent disparity separating the league’s top-tier from those teams left to languish in the middle ground.
Of course, the sport of soccer can produce miracles in that regard, as proven in spectacular fashion two years back by Leicester City. Ahead of the 2015-16 EPL season, the Foxes were installed as massive (+500000) underdogs by most sportsbooks. But despite being the longest of longshots, Leicester City overcame the 5,000 to 1 odds by topping the table.
After coming back down to Earth in a 12th-place, 44-point season last year, Leicester City can be backed at (+20000).
The oddsmakers learned their lesson after being bitten badly by the upset bug, so none of the 20 clubs are offered odds that high by Bovada.
Instead, the longshots this year are Brighton and Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town – both listed at (+150000) after earning promotion. It’s the first time back in the EPL since 1983 for Brighton and Hove Albion, while Huddersfield Town will take the EPL pitch for the first time ever.
The third team promoted this year is a relative bargain, as Newcastle United (+50000) returns to the EPL after just a single season spent in relegation.
The 2017-18 EPL season starts on Friday, August 11 and the 20 clubs will compete until the last match goes final on May 13 of next year.
To kick the season off in style, Arsenal and Leicester City will square off at Emirates Stadium in London, where more than 60,000 supporters will be turned out.
|Club||EPL Title Odds on 7/31|
|West Ham United||+25000|
|West Bromwich Albion||+50000|
|Brighton and Hove Albion||+150000|