Manchester City 2018-19 Betting Preview: Can Pep Guardiola Deliver Another Title?

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Manchester City. Pictured: Pep Guardiola

Manchester City 2018-19 Premier League Betting Odds

  • To Win Title: -140
  • To Be Relegated: +400000
  • Point Total: 84.5 (Over -160/Under +130)

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Looking at Manchester City is mostly an exercise in deciding how they’re going to be great. The team was utterly dominant last season on their way to a 19-point romp at the top of the Premier League table. They aren’t perfect — they’re still too reliant on a 33-year-old Fernandinho in midfield — but they’re pretty darn close.

City have sort of addressed that need by bolstering their midfield through the addition of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City. Still, they remain thin behind Fernandinho, with either Ilkay Gundogan or Fabian Delph set to serve as his primary backup should the need arise, both of whom are awkward fits.

Further forward though, look out. City are obviously going to score a lot of goals, and other than David Silva, their attacking corps is all young and improving. Kevin De Bruyne might be the world’s preeminent creative attacking midfielder, and on the wings Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane are both tremendous and only getting better.

At striker both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus remain. Aguero recently turned 30, and while there is room for both players to get minutes, it’s likely that Jesus, at 21 years old, will begin to assert himself as the preferred striker when both are healthy.

Aguero played slightly more minutes than Jesus last year with the vet logging 1,985 and the youngster playing only 1,692, and while Aguero scored 21 goals to Jesus’ 13, the two had virtually identical expected goals per 90 minutes played numbers with Aguero at 0.84 and Jesus at 0.82. Because Aguero is at the age where players typically slow down, and Jesus should still be getting better, it’s reasonable to expect that Jesus’ performance and minutes might outstrip Aguero this season. And yet, Top Goalscorer futures have Aguero at +1000 and Jesus at +1500.

There are many things that are possible in this world. The Cubs have won the World Series, the Eagles won a Super Bowl, Golden State once blew a 3-1 lead and Leicester City somehow won the Premier League a couple of seasons ago as a 5000-1 longshot. Manchester City, could certainly struggle. But, one thing that absolutely will not happen is City being unable to score goals. If things go south, it will be because their defense becomes exposed, and rather than cruising to 3-0 victories, they start getting involved in 3-2 shootouts.

The Bet to Watch

With all of that in mind, taking a flyer on Jesus to be Top Goalscorer at +1500 is basically a bet that Pep Guardiola will slant the playing time heavily toward the young Brazilian he advocated for bringing in and away from the older center forward with whom he has had an uneven relationship. Guardiola is famously hard on older established forwards, and it is mildly surprising that Aguero has survived two seasons without being marginalized. But because Jesus is already just as good as Aguero is, don’t be surprised to see a changing of the guard.

Manchester City are a powerhouse. They’re the best attacking side in the world. All of their attackers can and will score. All the ingredients are there for Jesus to have a breakout season.


 

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