Well it’s almost here again. Get your fantasy football teams picked. Analyse the pre-season results as if they actually mean something. Prepare yourself mentally for the return of Match of the Day, the Sunday Supplement, and the endless joy that is Monday night football. Yes, the new football season is almost upon us.As excitin g as football can be, I think it’s fair to say it can be pretty dull sometimes too. But it’s always got an extra little spice to it with a small flutter on the side. So what sort of odds are available next season? Here are a few of the best (and worst) bets using odds from one particular popular bookmaker.
Whatever happens in the transfer market this summer, Manchester United will once more be favourites for the title, which can come as little surprise. At 6/4 they are clear favourites ahead of Chelsea at 11/4, Manchester City at 4/1 and Arsenal at 8/1. Basically the bookies see the top 4 as remaining the same, in the same order, as last season.
If you’re feeling brave though, how about Norwich or Swansea for the title, at a competitive 5000/1? Ok, maybe not.
As already mentioned, the top four of last season are the favourites to remain where they are. Outside of them, Liverpool are 11/10 to finish in the top four, and Spurs are 3/1. But as a sign of the times perhaps, there is no one else you would remotely fancy to crack that top four (has there ever been many teams you would expect to?). Everton are 14/1, Aston Villa 25/1, and an established Premiership side like Stoke City are 200/1.
As for top goal-scorer in the Premiership next season, the top two are both Manchester United players – Rooney, fresh from a pre-season hat trick is the favourite at 7/1, Hernandez 8-1. Torres is an unappealing 9/1, but Van Persie at 9/1 seems the most attractive if only he could stay fit.
If you fancy throwing some money away, have a bet on Adebayor at 33/1, Demba Ba at 40/1, or Emile Heskey at 150/1. Or maybe, just maybe, Gervinho at 50/1 has some value in it.
Or take a gamble on 8/1 for Tevez, if for some reason you think he will still be in the country next May.
But what about Europe and the prospect of European glory and multiple trophies? United are 7/1 to win the Champions League. They are 14/1 to win the League/FA Cup double, 80/1 for the treble, or a mere 200/1 for the quadruple. As for Manchester City, they are an unappealing 14/1 for the Champions League, 28/1 for the double, or 400/1 for the quadruple.
But talking of cups , for the big one I can’t see past the favourite – Huddersfield at 9/1 to win the Johnstone Paint Trophy.
Which leads onto the Football Leagues.
Not surprisingly, the favourites to win the Championship are big-spending Leicester at 4/1 – not a particularly tempting bet to be honest. Notts Forest are second favourites at 12/1, whilst Birmingham are 14/1 and Blackpool 16/1. As an outsider, perhaps Leeds at 20/1 are worth looking at. Or maybe not – it is such a hard league to call, but Leeds may at be a good bet for at least the play-offs. As far as relegation is concerned, Barnsley, Coventry and Doncaster are all joint favourites to go down. I would expect Coventry and Barnsley to escape though. For top scorer, shortest odds go to Carlton Cole, at 10/1.
In League 1, Huddersfield are the favourites at 5/1, with Sheffield Wednesday 6/1 (I’d give that a swerve), Preston North End 13/2, Charlton 7/1, and as an outsider Chesterfield are an attractive 25/1. As for top scorer, shortest odds goes to Jordan Rhodes at 7/1. Bradley Wright-Phillips is 8/1, whilst at the bottom, Yeovil are the bookies’ favourites to go down.
In League 2, high-spending Crawley are an unsurprising favourite to go up as champions at just 3-1. Swindon are 2nd favourites at 10/1, with Bristol Rovers at 11/1. For relegation, Cheltenham are favourites.
And not surprisingly, in the Blue Square Premier League, Luton are clear favourites to be champions.
As for Scotland, it’s barely worth mentioning the usual two-horse race, but Celtic are 5/6 for the title, Rangers 6/5.
Abroad, and in La Liga Barcelona are the obvious favourites for the title, at 8/15. Real Madrid are 6/4, and as proof of what a two-horse race this league also is, 3rd favourites Valencia are 40/1. Barcelona are a mere 10/3 for a league/champions league double.
In Italy, AC Milan are favourites for the Serie A title at 6/5, Inter are 13/8, but perhaps Juventus could be tempting at 6/1, as they splash the cash and make some exciting signings this summer. And across Europe, the favourites for many leagues are predictable. Bayern Munich are only 8/13 to win back the Bundesliga crown. Ajax are 11/10 favourites for the Dutch title, Porto 8/15 for the Portuguese championship and Lyon 2/1 to triumph in France.
If you don’t want to wait nine months for your bet to come to fruition, there’s always the opening weekend to speculate on instead. In the Premier League, Manchester City are the 3/1 favourites to be top after the opening weekend, though strictly speaking they don’t play until it has ended. Liverpool are 9/2, Manchester United 6/1.
But as usual you can bet on pretty much anything nowadays. The next manager to be dismissed, the number of red cards each day/season, the number of corners in the first half of Macclesfield v Crawley, the time of the first throw-in, or what colour boots Didier Drogba will be wearing. You can get 25/1 on Carlos Tevez being a Manchester United player on September 1st, 3/1 on 35 points or less being enough for premiership survival, or 7/4 on 39 or more points being needed.
Personally I’m putting a tenner on Scotland winning the 2014 Cup, at 500/1. It’s got to be better bet than England at 12/1.