One of the best ways to add excitement to your Premier League season is to put your money where your mouth is by backing the boys in blue. Yet, despite being the runaway champions last season, as the new season rolls around, you may be surprised to find that Chelsea are not favourites to win it again. We’re not even second favourites!
Although they only finished 3rd last term, a full fifteen points (or five wins) behind Conte’s men, Manchester City are the 15/8 favourites with online bookmakers BetStars. The title winners of Stamford Bridge aren’t even second favourites, with Manchester United, who finished 6th and 24 points (or 8 wins) behind Chelsea, sitting as second favourites at 3/1. You have to go down to third on the list to find Chelsea in the running for the title next year at a generous 7/2.
The odds get even longer for a successful double campaign, like 2009/10, with a Premier League and FA Cup double priced at 20/1 and the Premier League / Champions League double twice that price!
Many more fans are being tempted to back their teams after several high-profile wins have hit the media in recent seasons. In the 2015/16 season, for example, there were endless stories of loyal fans who had backed faithfully, some would say blindly, Leicester City for the title pre-season, at a mind blowing 5000-1. Many of them bottled it and cashed out their winnings before the big finale, but those who held their nerve were richly rewarded.
The 2016/17 season was even more nail biting for one fan, after he took the bold step of predicting seven league winners in England and Scotland in a £10 roll up accumulator. With six out of seven of his predictions already safely home and dry, the anonymous football fan was just one result away from a massive £60,734.38 return for his £10 stake, with every penny hanging on the last game of the season.
The desired result was simple — Newcastle had to better Brighton and Hove Albion’s result in the final round of games. Newcastle duly obliged with a 3-0 win on the Saturday, leaving the huge payout dependent on Aston Villa either beating or drawing with Brighton the following day in their Sunday match.
Frustratingly, the game seemed up, with Brighton leading Villa in the 89th minute, and the huge payout looked so close, and yet so far away. Then Jack Grealish popped up from nowhere to equalise for Aston Villa with just one minute to play, making the game a draw and the wager a winner.
It takes a special patience to hold out for the full nine months of the regular season, and an even braver man to hold out through the 90 minutes of the final match. But hats off to the winner for his Mystic Meg-style predictive powers, as well as his ninja-like nerve. Maybe he could give us his prediction for the lottery numbers this weekend (or maybe he knows when to quit while he is well and truly ahead).
The new season is just a few weeks away, starting on 12th August, so there’s still time to study the form, the transfer market and the tea leaves in order to make your predictions. Who knows? If you can hold your nerve through the 13th May, the last day of the season could be just as exciting for you as it was for him. Of course, if you can’t wait until football returns, you can always check out the odds for great summer sporting events like The Open to keep you amused and engaged until the big kick off.