Just over two months after Manchester City was crowned champions of England, the Premier League is back to do it all again.
It is shaping up as one of the most unique seasons with a six week break for the FIFA World Cup in November and December and given the chaos of the last three campaigns, that is saying something.
Who will endure the halt to proceedings the best, which club will surprise everyone and which fans will be left devastated after being relegated to the Championship in May?
We’ve got plenty of Premier League futures markets available and we have found our best bets for the coming season below!
Premier League Champion
It’s the same story as the last few seasons, Liverpool and Manchester City are engaged in a two-horse race to be crowned champions of England.
Perhaps Erik Ten Haag’s project goes perfectly at Old Trafford and United finds a way to compete into March and April or maybe Thomas Tuchel gets things right at Chelsea.
Could Arsenal or Tottenham click and stun every… never mind that’s getting a bit too fanciful.
It all comes down to City at $1.67 and Liverpool at $3.50 and frankly, after their respective offseasons I’m not taking on Manchester City.
Despite that miss in the Community Shield, Erling Haaland could be the signing of the season and City will be hoping that added potency in front of goal (because they really needed to improve there), will give them the edge over their Merseyside rivals.
Taking nothing away from Liverpool, who might have offset the loss of Sadio Mane with the shrewd acquisition of Darwin Nunez, but they will need to be nearly perfect to topple the City juggernaut.
This market might be a stay away for the time being.
Top 4 and Top 6
The race for the top four in the Premier League might be the most interesting battle in the entire competition.
With Liverpool and Manchester City all but locked in for the top two (and not offering much value in this market), the rest of the “big six” will be fighting for third and fourth, along with any other challengers that want to emerge.
Major questions linger over Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United with all four of those clubs more than capable on their day, but far too inconsistent to sustain anything more than a push for third place.
While both North London clubs have splashed the cash this offseason, Spurs appear to be slightly better placed in terms of squad depth and you can see what Antonio Conte is building.
Combine that with the star power of Harry Kane and Son Min-Heung and Spurs have a side that could be the closest challenger to City and Liverpool.
Down the road, the Gunners will be battling in the Europa League which may stretch their thin playing group a bit too far, even if Mikel Arteta opts to go for a bit of squad rotation.
Having surprised many last season with a top four challenge that faltered out late, Arsenal may stay in place this season or possibly even take a step back depending on the improvements of those around them.
Staying in London, Chelsea might be in for a tough time replicating last season’s third place finish with some concerning signs in preseason (as much as you can read into that sort of stuff).
The departed Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen will be very tough to replace, however it will be a bit easier to find someone to fill the shoes of last season’s flop Romelu Lukaku.
A slow start could doom the Blues top four hopes as it seems like Thomas Tuchel will have his work cut out for him getting this squad to gel in time for this weekend’s opener.
Elsewhere Manchester United simply have to sort out the Cristiano Ronaldo dilemma, but if they can find a willing taker, it might just be a net positive of the squad.
Production wise, Ronaldo was good last year, however you just got the feeling everything the rest of the squad did was to try and cater to making him the centrepiece of the team.
If he leaves, even on loan for the year, it may give new manager Erik ten Haag the freedom to put his system in place which should see the rest of the squad improve.
Newly minted Newcastle has tried to splash the cash this offseason and their loaded ownership group will be eyeing off Champions League football as soon as possible and could be the value play of the chasing pack.
However legitimate questions remain over the manager and while the squad has (at the time of publish) seen some notable additions, they don’t appear to be ready for a top four push, but if one of the Big Six has a nightmare run, they could squeeze into the top six and are the ones to take a flyer on.
There is value to be found backing United and Arsenal for a top four finish at over even money and I am finding myself quite bullish on the prospects at Old Trafford.
Even if the quality on paper might be a bit lacking, we have seen ten Haag work his magic at Ajax and he could be the big difference between this and last season.
In terms of the top six, I’m expecting it to finish with a fairly predictable lineup of teams but if one falls apart, then Newcastle suddenly becomes a value play.
Back Manchester United to Finish Top 4 @ $2.75
Back Newcastle to Finish Top 6 @ 3.50
At $1.33, there’s no value on backing Newcastle to finish in the top half of the league and frankly, if they don’t then there are some serious questions getting asked at St James’ Park.
Wolves could surprise a few people after a down year where they still finished in tenth place.
Goals were at a premium for them last year as they struggled in the post Nuno era, scoring just 38 goals in 38 matches.
However with no European football on the horizon, I like them to be much more competitive this season and it’s a bit of a surprise to see them so far down the list here.
West Ham and Brighton are my picks to round out the top half of the table with the hot and cold Irons more than capable of beating anyone on their day and having enough good days to push for a European spot.
Back Brighton Top Half Finish @ $2.10
Back Wolves Top Half Finish @ $3.25
Aston Villa is the definition of a mid-table team and their odds reflect that as well with $1.83 available for a top ten finish and $1.91 for the bottom half.
While a ninth or tenth place finish is certainly an option, it’s tough to see them being significantly better than enough teams to actually pull that off.
Not enough questions are being asked of Leicester however with Brendan Rodgers yet to make a signing at the time of publish and potentially losing Wesley Fofana, James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and captain Kasper Schmiechel in the coming weeks.
Should those players all depart, Leicester will have to bring in replacements but it could turn into a late window panic buy of players just to fill out the squad rather than finding the best available replacement.
It’s tough to expect much from the likes of Crystal Palace and Southampton other than knocking off one or two of the big six in amongst a string of frustrating results as they are never quite in danger of relegation but not overly threatening either.
Back Leicester to Finish Bottom Half @ $2.00
Any one of the remaining six clubs we haven’t covered yet could find themselves battling relegation up to and including Matchday 38.
However if Everton do find themselves in danger once again, it will be a sad indictment on a club that is massively underachieving, they are too good to suffer the drop.
Leeds only just escaped last season and it will be a stressful campaign for them once again, especially as they try and find replacements for Rafina and Kalvin Phillips, whose departures will be felt at both ends of the pitch.
Newly promoted Nottingham Forest needed to go through the playoffs to earn top flight status for the first time in 14 years, but they do appear to have added enough to the squad to survive the drop.
Which then leaves Bournemouth, Fulham and Brentford as the remaining three teams, who will be departing the Premier League at the end of May.
Bournemouth and Fulham are unsurprisingly short to suffer the drop after earning promotion but it’s tough to see them having the squad to survive unless another team really drops off.
And while Brentford were without a doubt the fun story of last season, finishing in 13th place with an impressive 46 points, but a second season slump could send them back to the Championship.
The raucous atmosphere at their home ground definitely caught a few teams by surprise (see Arsenal on the opening day) but that novelty will have worn off and teams will find a way to adjust.
Back Fulham to be Relegated @ $2.20
Back Brentford to be Relegated @ $3.50
Top Promoted Club
There’s a lot to like about both Forest and Fulham, but only one seems likely to survive so we’ll back Forest here.
Back Nottingham Forest @ $2.10
Now over to the individual player markets and we’ll start off with the golden boot for the top goalscorer.
It is no surprise to see Erling Haaland installed as the favourite at $3.50 after his big move from Dortmund and the only thing that might stand in his way is the fact he will not play every minute of every game.
With City once again set to fight for all four trophies, Haaland might see his Premier League minutes limited at times throughout the back end of the season which could open the door for the chasing pack.
Mo Salah, who has won the Golden Boot in three of the last five seasons is on the second line of betting at $5.50 followed closely by Harry Kane at $6.50 with the latter likely only set to be hindered by his own physical health.
In terms of value plays with double digit odds Gabriel Jesus at $10 could be an intriguing option if he can bury even half the chances that fell to Alex Lacazette and company last season and Raheem Sterling who should see plenty of opportunities for Chelsea.
But the big surprise is last season’s joint winner with Salah, Son priced at $17 despite his output steadily growing over the last three years.
Given that the Golden Boot has been shared in two of the last four seasons and the winning totals have not been above 23 since 2017-2018, you can throw around a couple of plays here.
Back Erling Haaland @ $3.50
Back Gabriel Jesus @ $10.00
Back Son Heung-Min @ $17.00
PFA Player of the Year
It might not seem that way on the surface, but this is arguably the most competitive Premier League futures market with half a dozen candidates leaping off the page.
Over the last five seasons this has been the exclusive domain of Manchester City and Liverpool players with Kevin De Bruyne ($8.00 this season) and Mohamed Salah ($9.00) each winning it twice and Virgil van Dijk ($26) all strong candidates in the season ahead.
In terms of forecasting a play, it all depends on what you expect from the respective teams, Haaland ($10) should be in the mix for City in their inevitable title challenge and Luiz Diaz ($21) might surprise some after his six-month initiation at the back end of last season.
Mason Mount ($26) is growing into a legitimate star at Chelsea and if they are to succeed, he will be critical to their success, as will Bruno Fernandes ($29) at Manchester United.
Just for good measure, Arsenal’s young brigade probably won’t have the consistency to be seen as the best Premier League player this season but should they make a run at the top four and finish in a Champions League place, Bukayo Saka ($29) could be in for a big season and new captain Martin Odegaard ($101) looks well over the odds at his current quote.
But for an actual tip, let’s stick with the players on the clubs we have backed earlier in the preview.
Back Kevin De Bruyne @ $8.00
Back Mohamed Salah @ $9.00
Back Son Heung-Min @ $21.00
PREDICTED PREMIER LEAGUE LADDER
1 – Manchester City
2 – Liverpool
3 – Tottenham
4 – Manchester United
5 – Chelsea
6 – Arsenal
7 – Newcastle
8 – Wolves
9 – West Ham
10 – Brighton
11 – Aston Villa
12 – Crystal Palace
13 – Southampton
14 – Everton
15 – Leicester
16 – Nottingham Forest
17 – Leeds
18 – Fulham
19 – Brentford
20 – Bournemouth