The English Premier League kicks-off with Brentford hosting Arsenal on Friday 13th August, and here at BettingPro we will be keeping a close eye on the outright betting markets and promotions available on the PL throughout the coming weeks.
What is Outright Betting?
Outright betting is betting on the outcome of an event, with ante-post referring to the act of betting on it before it has begun, often weeks or months in advance.
This is a popular method of betting for bettors because it can help them gain an edge on the market, rather than seeing the odds decrease as the season progresses should their prediction become increasingly accurate.
However, there is a drawback: unforeseen events can take place throughout the course of a season, such as injuries, transfers and change of managers. It is always worth keeping tabs on any cash out offers which may be available for this reason.
In football, there are several markets in a wide-ranging amont of divisions available for outright betting, with Outright Winner, Team To Be Relegated and Top Goalscorer three of the most popular ones.
Most bookmakers offer the ability to build accumulators, too, for example predicting the winners of the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A as a treble, significantly enhancing the odds on offer as a result.
Bookmakers such as Sky Bet also often offer outright Request-A-Bets, which allow you to combine different predictions into a single bet for potentially massive odds, for example Manchester City to win the league, Norwich to be relegated & Harry Kane to be top goalscorer.
Without further ado, then, let’s drill into the Premier League ahead of the 2021/22 season, taking an eye on which teams and players may be over-rated or under-rated and how we can gain an edge in several of the most popular markets.
In all honesty, it’s very tough to see beyond Manchester City retaining their title this season.
With Jack Grealish already signed for £100m from Aston Villa and Harry Kane potentially set to follow his England teammate through the door for an even larger fee later this month, it is hard to see how any of their rivals can close the gap.
After all, City finished 12 points ahead of their city rivals Manchester United last season, but in all honesty that gap could been substantially bigger had they not taken their foot off the gas to concentrate on the Champions League.
The only things they really lacked last season were an elite goalscorer and a creative midfielder whenever Kevin De Bruyne found himself injured or rested, so those two signings are a seriously scary proposition for the rest of the league.
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Chelsea, who beat City in the Champions League final, of course, will certainly improve with a full season under Thomas Tuchel, particularly if they can re-sign Romelu Lukaku this month.
I do see the Blues as City’s biggest threat this season having looked like an incredibly well-drilled, disciplined outfit since the German’s appointment in January, but they do need a proven goalscorer given that Jorginho was their top goalscorer in the Premier League last season with his seven converted penalties.
Lukaku could be the game charger in that regard, then, making 5/1 look a very attractive price for Chelsea to win the league for the first time in five years.
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Liverpool will definitely improve, too, providing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez can stay fit, while Man Utd’s signings of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane are hugely impressive.
Another bet catches my eye, then: Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool to be the top four in any order.
They’ve all secured Champions League football in each of the last two seasons and I don’t see anyone gate-crashing that party this season either, especially if Kane does move from Tottenham to City.
Leicester should be there or thereabouts again and I’m expecting more from Arsenal without any European distractions, but I don’t think either have enough to hit the 70+ point totals they would likely need to secure Champions League football.
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Given that they have won five of the previous six Premier League Golden Boot’s between them, it is perhaps unsurprising that Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah dominate the Top Goalscorer market, although that is likely to change once Lukaku’s move to Chelsea is completed.
No major online bookmaker has any other player in single digit odds, with Kane marginally favourite ahead of Salah with the vast majority of them.
I do think Salah, Kane and Lukaku scoring 20+ PL goals each looks overpriced at 17/2 with Paddy Power.
However, given Kane’s transfer uncertainty and record of injuries (particularly his ankle) and Chelsea’s wealth of attacking options, I think Salah is the safest option and looks excellent value at 9/2 (Sky Bet).
“The Egyptian King” has bagged 95 league goals in 145 games since joining Liverpool in 2017, scoring 19 or more Premier League goals in each of his four seasons.
No Golden Boot winner has scored fewer than this exact amount since the turn of the century, so Salah has proven pedigree in terms of scoring the amount of goals required to edge out his peers.
He’ll be super hungry, too, having been beaten by Jamie Vardy and Kane in the last two seasons, and he should benefit from a rare summer of rest (unlike Kane who went all the way to the final at Euro 2020 with England, and is yet to return to pre-season training in an attempt to force through a move to Manchester City).
With Sky Bet paying four places each-way at 1/4 odds, you can more than cover your outright stake. The only time Salah finished outside of the top four goalscorers in the division was in 2019/20, when his tally of 19 was only enough to rank fifth.
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Picking Salah or Kane feels a bit boring, so it would be rude not to consider the outsiders at massive odds.
Behind those two players last season were the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Patrick Bamford, Son Heung-min, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Vardy and Ollie Watkins.
However, I’m looking towards Michail Antonio, who has made a flying start to the season with three goals in two games.
The 32-year-old appears to be on penalties – although missing against Newcastle could threaten that status – and has evolved into a powerhouse of a centre-forward capable of scoring any type of goal inside the penalty area.
There’s plenty of creativity behind Antonio in the Hammers’ full-backs and attacking midfielders, and at odds of 33/1 he’s a great each-way shout to finish inside the top four goalscorers in the division.
To Finish In The Top Half
Despite selling Grealish, I’ve been hugely impressed with Aston Villa’s transfer business this summer.
Losing your best player – even for such a significant fee – is never an easy process to handle, especially when there is so much emotion involved with a local lad who supports the club like Grealish does.
However, having brought in Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings for around the same amount of money have they received for Grealish, there is an argument that Villa have actually strengthened despite losing such a precocious talent.
They were clearly too reliant on Grealish, as was evident by their drop in form after his lengthy injury in the second half of last season, but Buendia and Bailey provide a lovely blend of talents on the flanks and Ings can support Watkins in terms of goal output.
With one of the league’s best goalkeepers in Emiliano Martinez and an industrious, technically proficient midfield pairing of Douglas Luiz and John McGinn behind all of this, I’m surprised to see Villa odds-against to secure a top half finish.
They weren’t far off that last season when finishing 11th; with West Ham having to juggle European football and Everton failing to spend any money this summer, I definitely think Dean Smith’s side can improve on their standing this time around.
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Teams To Be Relegated
As is usually the case, the three promoted sides from the Championship head the relegation market, with Norwich City, Watford and Brentford all expected to bounce straight back down to England’s second tier.
However, three promoted sides have never all been relegated straight back down in their first season in the Premier League, meaning there is every chance that at least one of them can survive.
Much will depend on the business they can pull off this summer, with Norwich significantly weakened by the departure of Buendia to Villa. Should they lose Todd Cantwell to the Villains, too, it’s hard to envisage them staying up having regularly yo-yo’d between the two divisions in recent years.
Watford probably have the greatest strength in depth of the three sides, but perhaps the weakest first XI. They massively improved under Xisco in the second half of last season to finish second behind Norwich, and the likes of Danny Rose and Joshua King will provide necessary Premier League experience to the squad.
However, I think it will be touch and go whether they ultimately survive or not. A few more signings could give them just about enough.
As for Brentford, they could easily finish 13th or 20th in my eyes. Kristoffer Ajer and Frank Onyeka bring much needed physicality and quality at centre-back and centre-midfield respectively, while Ivan Toney definitely has enough about him at this level after breaking the Championship goalscoring record last season.
There are two clubs I expect the Bees to be targeting finishing above: Burnley and Newcastle.
Neither side have particularly strengthened in the transfer market so far, with Burnley’s £12m capture of defender Danny Collins from Stoke the only signing between the two.
If Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin can stay fit for the majority of the season, I think the Toon Army should have enough, but that’s a big if given both players’ regularity of suffering muscle injuries.
There’s an awful atmosphere around the club, too, after the failed Saudi Arabia takeover of the club.
The same cannot be said for Burnley, who attracted new owners in January, but their squad is seriously ageing and they are always punching above their weight to survive in any case.
Without further reinforcements, it could be a season too far for the Clarets, but then plenty of us have been saying that for a year or two now!
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