Bournemouth 2018-19 Betting Preview: Is This The End of the Ride for the Cherries?
Bournemouth FC. Pictured: Callum Wilson
Bournemouth 2018-19 Premier League Betting Odds
- To Win Title: +100000
- To Be Relegated: +450
- Point Total: 42.5 (Over +105/Under -145)
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What would constitute a step forward for Bournemouth? They’re now in their fourth Premier League season. They’ve finished 16th, ninth and 12th since getting promoted. Manager Eddie Howe remains committed to playing an entertaining style of soccer, and his teams attempt to use possession to build attacks and score goals.
Howe has done an excellent job of keeping his team out of danger of relegation, but at the same time he hasn’t yet taken his team forward. The next step is following the path laid out by Leicester City, Burnley and Southampton, jumping from relegation battler to the top half and a contender for the Europa League. The group of teams just below England’s big six is small and frequently changing, but that’s what Bournemouth should be aiming for.
The challenge for Bournemouth is that despite their relatively healthy finish last season, their expected goals numbers were decidedly more mediocre. The team was downright poor defensively. They conceded 61 goals, the fourth-most in the Premier League, and their expected goals conceded total of just under 65 was even worse. Only the now-relegated Stoke gave up a worse set of shots than Bournemouth did. Their attacking totals flattered them somewhat as well. Their 45 goals were respectable, only the Premier League’s big six, West Ham and Leicester City scored more, but slightly outpaced their expected goals of just under 40, a more mediocre 13th.
Put it all together and it paints the picture of a team that was mildly fortunate to be as free of the relegation battle as they were last season and needs to improve in order to avoid sliding down the table. The problem is they haven’t improved. Their main acquisition, David Brooks, is a 21-year-old attacking midfielder who made nine starts — and 21 overall appearances — for Sheffield United in the Championship last season. He may well turn out to be a success, but it’s unlikely he’ll make an immediate impact. Other than that, 25-year-old left back Diego Rico from Leganes is Bournemouth’s only transfer of note.
Bournemouth’s disappointing transfer window isn’t surprising. In fact, one of the most surprising things about their relative Premier League success is that it’s been accompanied by mediocre transfer windows. Over the last few seasons they’ve acquired Nathan Ake who remains a solid defender for them, and Lewis Cook who has developed into a strong, creative midfield passer for the side. But other than that, the cupboard is fairly barren and includes expensive misses such as Jordon Ibe and Jermain Defoe.
It’s extremely hard to remain successful in the bottom half of the Premier League while also spending a number of transfer windows in a row whiffing on impact players. It’s a testament to Howe that he’s managed to keep the team ticking while the talent level hasn’t improved. It’s a strike against the manager, who has a heavy say in transfers, that the business Bournemouth has done has remained largely uninspiring.
The Bet to Watch
There is currently a dislocation between Bournemouth’s ambition and their talent level. The Bournemouth over/under is set at 42.5, and the under is running at -135. When you’re getting down toward the 40-point barrier, it brings relegation into play, but Howe’s team has still relatively long odds for the drop at +450, with six teams worse off than they are.
Markets expect Bournemouth to be bad but survive. That’s a reasonable result to expect, but it’s also a very thin strip of land. Rather than taking the short odds at on the under, it might make sense to take a flyer on Bournemouth getting relegated (+450) instead.