Premier League betting preview: A Silva lining for punters?

Last season’s top two look set to dominate but there’ll be plenty of thrills and spills along the way. There’ll also be plenty of betting opportunities and these five wagers should help keep punters engaged throughout the season.

Premier League betting preview: A Silva lining for punters?

Last season’s top two look set to dominate but there’ll be plenty of thrills and spills along the way. There’ll also be plenty of betting opportunities and these five wagers should help keep punters engaged throughout the season.

Liverpool to win the title (7-2 Betfred)

It’s quite something to amass 97 points and not win the title, but Liverpool did just that last season, finishing a campaign in which they lost just a single game, and won their last nine league matches.

Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp’s men, that sole defeat came at Manchester City and Pep Guardiola’s side finished with 14 straight league wins to pip their title rivals by a single point.

City deserve to be favourites to retain the title, but the price discrepancy between them and Liverpool looks too big, given how close the Reds got last season.

Liverpool won the Champions League last season. Can they win the Premier League this time around?
Liverpool won the Champions League last season. Can they win the Premier League this time around?

After all, City will unquestionably be weakened by the loss of inspirational skipper Vincent Kompany as well as cruciate ligament victim Leroy Sane, and the sense is that scratching the Champions League itch will be their number one target this season.

As for Liverpool, a lack of summer investment is offset by return to fitness of Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Adam Lallana, and a first league title in 30 years will undoubtedly be their top priority. With the margins so tight, that clear focus might just be enough to swing things their way.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to win Golden Boot (7-1 general).

If Manchester City deserve to be title favourites, Harry Kane deserves to head the market to be top goal-scorer, an award he won in both 2015/16 and 2016/17 after scoring 25 and 29 goals respectively.

He surpassed both tallies in 2017-18, ending the season with 30 goals, two short of Mohamed Salah’s haul of 32.

However, he was well down on those tallies last season, scoring just 17 times in a campaign disrupted by injury. Ankle problems have been an issue for Kane as far back as September 2016 and a significant lay-off this season could again undermine his campaign.

Aubameyang celebrates a goal last season.
Aubameyang celebrates a goal last season.

That being case, preference is for Arsenal hitman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to win the award he shared with Salah and Sadio Mané on 22 goals last season.

Aubameyang is a goalscoring machine and can look forward to improved service following Nicolas Pépé’s arrival at The Emirates. Salah and Mané look sure to be in the mix again, but they may split the goals between them. In contrast, Aubameyang looks sure to be the focal point of Arsenal’s attack, and his CV shows he’s well able to convert chances into goals. Odds of 7-1 look more than fair.

Graham Potter to be first manager to leave (10-1 Ladbrokes).

Given how abysmally Manchester United finished last season, it’s something of a surprise Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still in command. Bookies evidently don’t expect him to last long though, the Norwegian is the clear favourite to be the first boss booted out.

However, having allowed Solskjaer to invest so heavily in rebuilding United’s defence over the summer, the Old Trafford hierarchy will surely be desperate to avoid the backlash that will inevitably come their way if the popular club legend is sacked early in the campaign.

Graham Potter - Tasked with making Brighton more aesthetically pleasing.
Graham Potter - Tasked with making Brighton more aesthetically pleasing.

That being the case, Solskjaer could be beaten to the dole queue by a man yet to oversee a Premier League match. Hired to replace the popular Chris Hughton, Graham Potter has been tasked with making Brighton more aesthetically pleasing.

That’s quite an ask for a limited side whose form collapsed spectacularly in the second half of last season.

Things could go very wrong for Potter very quickly.

Bernardo Silva to be PFA Player of the Year (11-1 general).

With Manchester City and Liverpool again expected to dominate, it makes sense that the PFA Player of the Year will come from one of those clubs.

After all, Eden Hazard was the only player from a club outside the big two to make the six-man shortlist for the award last season and he’s now in Spain.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk took the spoils, rightly rewarded for an impeccable campaign. Bernardo Silva wasn’t quite as superb over the course of the season, but he got better and better as the campaign went on and was nothing short of immense at the business end of proceedings.

At 24, his best years are ahead of him, and if he picks up where he left off last season, and sustains that form though this one, he’ll be well placed to become the first Spaniard to win this prestigious award.

Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Arsenal to make up top four in any order (9-2 BoyleSports).

While first and second — in whatever order — looks locked down even before the off, the four-way battle for the final two Champions League spots promises to be intriguing. Distracted and drained by their European heroics, Spurs limped over the line in fourth last season, but Mauricio Pochettino’s men look the most stable of the four contenders for third and are fancied to occupy that position come the end of the season.

That leaves the race for the final golden ticket to the Champions League party a straight fight between Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal. Chelsea ended last season by thrashing Arsenal in the Europa League final — but Eden Hazard has left to join Real Madrid and a transfer embargo has prevented new boss Frank Lampard from replacing their talisman. Lampard’s lack of managerial experience is an obvious concern and they are looking like a significantly weakened outfit.

As for United, the suspicion remains that Solskjaer is in over his head and the issues that undermined them last season — most notably the Paul Pogba situation — will again compromise their chances.

As a result, Arsenal may not have to be much better than last season to squeeze into fourth, leaving Chelsea and United squabbling over fifth.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox