Tottenham Season Preview | Premier League Betting Analysis

Tottenham Season Preview | Premier League Betting Analysis article feature image

BSR Agency/Getty. Pictured: Oliver Skipp and Tottenham playres.

Welcome to Action Network's Premier League team previews, where our soccer experts will break down each and every Premier League team ahead of the season, which starts on August 11. Here, we'll look at an interesting Tottenham side.

Premier League Season Preview – Tottenham

With each passing day, it seems more and more likely that Tottenham will retain the services of Harry Kane for at least one more season. Kane seems unlikely to want to move as we get closer to deadline day once he’s already begun a new Premier League season. Spurs have reportedly turned down a bid from Bayern Munich for $100 million Euros, so I’m going to write this under the assumption that Spurs are keeping their all time leading scorer.

Team Breakdown

Kane scored 42.9% of Tottenham’s goals last year, which was the most of any player on their team in the Premier League. Son Heung-min had a major downturn in his production, but it was revealed after the season that he had played through pain and injury for the majority of the year. Spurs have a ton of overhaul on the horizon in club philosophy and tactics with Antonio Conte out and Ange Postecoglou in. Postecoglou prefers to play a much more expansive brand of soccer that sees the full backs heavily inverted and involved in the attack. Spurs will play more proactively with the ball and will be less reliant on passive midfield tactics and a defense-first approach. 

Spurs were dead last in high turnovers forced and pretty much lost the tactical staples of what made them an elite transition attack from the best days of José Mourinho and Conte. The lack of forward passing quality in the midfield should benefit from the summer addition of James Maddison, a ball-dominant attacking midfielder who is excellent on set pieces and generates a lot of shots for himself and others. 

Giovani Lo Celso also re-enters the midfield fold after his loan spell at Villarreal ended. Rodrigo Bentancur is back from injury after he showed real promise in his early days at Tottenham. As a whole, Spurs should be one of the better buy-lows in the entire league with a healthier Son and a somewhat rebuilt midfield. But this is still a real project rebuild for Spurs, who aren’t yet finished with their summer transfer window business.

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The questions remain in defense. A slow start is to be expected for Tottenham, who don’t have the defensive personnel to play the ball out from the back under pressure the way Postecoglou tactically wants to. New center backs are a must between now and the end of the transfer window, or Tottenham could once again lead the league in mistakes leading to opposition shots and goals. Hugo Lloris is departing the club after a poor season, but new goalkeeper signing Guglielmo Vicario has been a plus shot stopper over the last two seasons in Serie A. 

There’s also real questions about how good Tottenham will be as a pressing unit given the age and recent history of their top two forwards. Kane and Son haven’t been asked to consistently press in years and that tactical issue — along with the very different role for Spurs’ full backs now under Postecoglou — could make for some real growing pains as Tottenham try to reload instead of rebuild.

Betting Analysis

Tottenham finished with a +7 xG differential last year despite a full Murphy’s Law season. Conte was fired in the middle of the campaign, Son played through injury, the entire midfield was hurt or ineffective and the goalkeeper finally hit his cliff season. Spurs are once again projected to finish well above their xGF because the three primary shot takers — Son, Kane and Maddison — have proven to be plus finishers over a large sample of shots now. 

The defensive floor should improve with the right signings, but it’s hard to see them reaching the levels of the top four if they start the season slowly.

There are many reasons to like the Postecoglou appointment, but also plenty of reasons to be skeptical of immediate success. The squad won’t be stretched because Tottenham aren't in Europe, but the holes defensively and at full back can’t be properly assessed right now with the transfer window open until the end of August. The big monkey wrench could be the Kane situation, which is sure to become a distraction if he doesn’t sign a new contract by January. 

Tottenham and Chelsea both come into the season with a lot of questions, but Spurs have the higher goal scoring floor with the proven track record of Kane and Son. 

Pick: Tottenham to finish higher than Chelsea (+150 via bet365)

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