Hasn’t it all come around very quickly! Yes, our proud old Premier League is back and this time there has been no shortage of incident with Robin van Persie crushing Arsenal hearts by transferring to historic old rivals Manchester United. Elsewhere, Andre Villas-Boas will try his hand at re-building his shattered managerial reputation at Tottenham and Liverpool fans everywhere are hoping that shrewd tactician Brendan Rodgers is the man to return the Reds to their former glory days. These are just some of the major stories of the off-season but there is no more time to speculate as they stand on the precipice of 2012/13 with everything to play for.
Football FanCast’s Taylor Williams caught up with Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Donohue to chat about the latest odds, best tips and general advice for punters who will be betting on the Premier League in 2012/13.
The rest of the Premier League must be looking on in envy at the strike partnerships in Manchester with Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez on one side and Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie on the other but despite Sir Alex Ferguson beaming at the fact he feels the current Red Devils striking crop are like the squad of 1999 all over again, Ladbrokes makes Manchester City slight favourites at 5/4 with United second placed at 2/1.
Perhaps there is subtle positivity in the unusual little upheaval at the Etihad this time round with the squad familiar to one another and a group camaraderie and togetherness built up from the accumulation of last seasons’ glorious league triumph.
There is marginal risk that van Persie won’t hit the ground running in unfamiliar surroundings but at 2/1 it is unlikely that a player of his capabilities will struggle to adapt to his new team mates.
Chelsea and their band of new high-calibre signings are third best placed at 5/1 and as Arsenal fans have been used to seeing their league title odds grow larger season upon season, they have done so once again and you can get a price of 12/1 on the Gunners to stage an unlikely title bid this campaign.
Spurs are 25/1 and if you are a super optimistic Canaries fan or perhaps were fond of the Mike Bassett England manager series, Norwich City are at 5000/1!
As they say, what goes up must come down but if you are of the West Ham United persuasion, fear not as Ladbrokes has Sam Allardyce’s men 6th favourites for the drop at 9/4.
Allardyce’s experiences in the top flight bode better than the fate of Premier League newcomers Nigel Adkins and Brian McDermott whose sides Southampton and Reading are amongst the relegation favourites at 5/4 and 11/10 respectively.
Swansea are the shock name for the drop at odds of 2/1 but if you delve deeper perhaps the Swans will suffer internally from the losses of both Brendan Rodgers and midfield maestro Joe Allen, and a lot is expected of new boss Michael Laudrup who despite not working in this country before, will be pressured into the maintenance of the slick passing of recent seasons.
Wigan are at 13/8 but if you have watched the Premier League before they are capable of dramatic late season acts of redemption. Norwich City are also down there at 6/4 with second season syndrome potentially setting in at Carrow Road.
Impatience in modern day football has become a recurring theme and Steve Bruce was the first manager to bite the dust at Sunderland in 2011/12 but this time round the Black Cats should be much more prosperous under Martin O’Neill.
It is actually Southampton’s Nigel Adkins who is the favourite to come first in the managerial sack race with Saints owners likely to have no room for sentiment if the going gets tough at St. Mary’s this term.
Next are Steve Clarke of West Bromwich Albion and Sam Allardyce of West Ham United both at 6/1 with the former a favourite simply because he has coached and never managed previously – an understandable element of risk for Baggies fans.
Roberto Di Matteo is at 10/1 and as we have seen, no manager is relatively safe at Stamford Bridge and despite claiming a glorious double last term, this price could be good value considering Chelsea have a job on to overcome two ominously fierce competitors in City and United who could vex Roman Abramovich’s patience some more.
Ladbrokes will be championing their hat-trick hero campaign this term which means if you place a £10+ top Premier League goal scorer bet, you will receive a free bet to the same stake every time your designated player scores a Premier League hat-trick in 2012/13.
There were 19 hat-tricks scored during the duration of 2011/12 with new lethal Manchester United strike pairing Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie notching two hat-tricks each over the rest of the competition. Most definitely a good omen for Sir Alex Ferguson heading into the new campaign.
Van Persie is the current bookies favourite to become top scorer this time round at odds of 6/1, Aguero second at 7/1 with Fernando Torres surprisingly the next favourite at 8/1. Perhaps now Didier Drogba has fled for China, Torres mentally feels he is the main man ready to fire on a regular basis for the Blues. Rooney is 8/1, Balotelli is 12/1, Welbeck 16/1 and if he is as lethal as he was throughout the Football League, Rickie Lambert may be worth a punt at 80/1.
Newcomers in 2013/14
Looking forward to 2013/14, the favourites to reach the Premier League after their exploits in the Championship this term are Bolton Wanderers at 7/1, closely tailgated by big spenders Leicester City at 8/1 with a rejuvenated and indeed red Cardiff City potentially good value at 10/1 considering Craig Bellamy will give them added attacking impetus.