The 2018-19 Premier League season is right around the corner with Manchester United set to host Leicester City on Friday, Aug. 10.
Oddly enough, both managers, Claude Puel and Jose Mourinho, are the favorites to be first manager fired, making the opening match of the year even spicier.
Manchester City (-150) are the defending champions and clear favorites to repeat, followed by Liverpool (4-1) and Manchester United (8-1). The newly promoted clubs to the Premier League are Cardiff City, Fulham and Wolves, and the latter two have done very well to improve their rosters over the summer.
Recent Season Trends
The last two seasons have been wildly successful for home teams and miserable for road teams in Premier League play:
Since the start of the 2016 season, home teams have earned more than 40+ units while road teams have dropped nearly 135 units. That means if you blindly bet $100 on every visiting club over the last two seasons, you’d be down almost $13,500.
I don’t think there’s any significant reason for the struggles, and we could easily see visiting clubs have much more success this year. It’s also important to note that the opening weekend has been particularly profitable over the last five seasons for road underdogs, earning more than +40 units in just 39 games.
Draws were profitable last year (+21.02 units) but had a tough previous season. No matter how they do overall, the key is to hone in on draws when the total is low and moneyline odds are tight. Burnley and Southampton played in a lot of those types of matches last season.
The two biggest upsets since 2016 were pulled off by teams no longer in the Premier League: West Brom (+1700) at Manchester United in April of 2018, and Swansea (+1200) at Liverpool in Jan. 2017.
>> Follow Dan McGuire in The Action Network App to get free alerts on all his Premier League bets during the season.
2018-19 Title Odds
Only six teams enter the season with odds of 25-1 or better to win the Premier League title, and everyone else is listed at 250-1 or higher.
It’s always worth mentioning Leicester City’s incredible 5000-1 title win in the 2015-16 Premier League season. No team enters this year higher than 2000-1, and that’s also been the case the previous two seasons. More public bettors may be willing to risk a few bucks on a huge longshot knowing the recent history, and sportsbooks have no reason to offer 5000-1 to anyone anymore.
There’s no doubt that Manchester City have the best roster and they’re being picked by many to repeat as title champs. They essentially ran away with it last year and only got better in the offseason. After their opening match at Arsenal, they’ve got a favorable early schedule to rack up points.
I don’t see any value anywhere before the season, but bettors could potentially get better odds on Man City if they were to lose the opener.
Season Point Totals
Based on the closing odds, half the league finished within five points of their season point totals last year. Bettors always want to get the best number possible, and season point totals really magnify that.
This season, the clubs getting the most over movement are West Ham, Wolves, Liverpool and Everton.
The teams with the most action on the under are Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Watford. I took the Newcastle under at 47.5 amid the owner-manager clash, but don’t think there’s any value left at 44.5.
Manchester City have the highest point total on the board and bettors have still come in on the over. Remember though, you can’t just follow the movement that has already happened, and in some cases there may be value on the other side. Now that Crystal Palace’s over/under has come down to 45.5, I’m betting the over at +125 odds.
Even if you aren’t betting any point totals, it can help to identify which clubs bettors are high and low on entering the season.
>> Get a 7-day free trial to access more premium Soccer articles like this during the season.
Three clubs will be relegated at the end of the season and Cardiff City are the only odds-on favorites to be demoted. Fortunately for them, 11 other clubs are clustered behind which will make for a fun race for survival.
My colleague Mike Goodman put together a solid piece on each team’s relegation chances this season and I’m glad to be on board with two of the three selections. My bets are on Watford (+210), Burnley (+400) and Newcastle (+550) but agree that Southampton could be in some trouble, too.
Liverpool’s Mo Salah led the league with 32 goals last season, dethroning Tottenham’s Harry Kane who just won the Golden Boot at the World Cup. It’s no surprise to see these two as the clear favorites heading into the season, but I’m looking elsewhere for a couple small plays.
It just so happens that Mike Goodman also wrote up a best bet for Manchester City this season, and it was a top goalscorer I had just taken. Striker Gabriel Jesus should be in a great position to put up big numbers, and at +1500 odds it’s too good to pass up.
There are some tempting longshots on the list but the other player who should get 20+ goals is Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He’s looked very comfortable at the club, and new manager Unai Emery should only help the cause. Bettors have already moved his odds throughout the summer, but I still think +650 is worth it.
First Manager to Depart
Oh boy. The season hasn’t even started and Jose Mourinho is now the favorite to be first manager gone following the move from +2000 to +400. He’s been extra miserable lately and the situation doesn’t seem to be getting much better.
There’s also been some turmoil between Newcastle ownership and Rafa Benitez (and fans), so things could quickly sour there, too. I wagered on Benitez +800 at the same time as the Newcastle under, but not so sure about +550.
If you’re looking to capitalize on Cardiff City’s low expectations, Martin Laurence makes a case for manager Neil Warnock to be the first manager to depart.
It should be another fantastic season in the Premier League, and The Action Network will have you covered throughout.