After my Eredivisie 13-14 league table prediction I though it only right to do the same for the English Premier League too… To make it a little more interesting, I’ve also included the ante-post handicap which is a growing market and one that always sparks some debate.
First of all, let’s look at the forecasted league positions. With their new signings it is hard to see past Man City, and my model agrees, ranking them comfortably above Chelsea and even further above their rivals United. No real signings at present and a new manager means Man United will likely struggle to compete with both big spenders Man City; and a Chelsea side that will undoubtedly feel an increase in confidence with the return of The Special One.
As often is the case at the bottom, not much hope is being held for the newly promoted sides, with Hull and Palace expected to fill the bottom two places – with very few points. After their signings, investment and strong performances last season, Cardiff are expected to survive and ensure there will be two Welsh sides again next season… Stoke are the side I think will struggle most this season with a severe lack of goals. They don’t create much, and their former defensive strength wasn’t really there last season. I expect a gap between the top 7 and the middle pack again this season, and I also think Norwich and Sunderland – despite their signings – will struggle to finish top half.
OK, now we can get down to business… The handicap market is always an interesting one, and it basically allows you to back the side who you think will be the biggest over achievers this coming season. Some people are under the impression that this market basically means if you back TEAM A +30pts, that it wins if they finish fewer than 30 points behind the winner – but this isn’t the case. At the end of the season, the bookmaker handicaps are added to every team, so you’re bet wins if they top THAT table… I have used the handicap at Bet Victor in the below example:
As you can see, this completely changes the table, and shows that despite the anticipated dominance of Man City, they is no value for them on the handicap and sit in 10th place. Man United are worse, given the same points as Man City (+1) and with the anticipation of them under-performing leaves them in 18th place.
At the top you can see it is pretty close between 5 sides, but Swansea come out on top and at 15/1 with the 40 point handicap it looks like pretty good value. Everton, Liverpool and Southampton at 15/1 look interesting too. West Ham are 10s with a +42 handicap, which might be a bit short. Based on this I don’t think I could back anyone on the handicap outside the top 6 (Norwich are 15/1 with a +44 handicap)…
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my predicted league table, which in turn makes me happy with the handicap bets – so although not an official tip, I’d recommend betting on one of the top 6 if you fancied something on this market. One tip though – just because one bookmaker offers a larger number doesn’t necessarily make it a better bet. Why? Well, if Everton had a +32 handicap at Bet365, does that mean they will finish above Swansea? Maybe not, as Bet365 might offer Swansea +44… It’s hard to compare odds on this market, as the lines change between bookies too. Choose a bookmaker, and use their market (ignoring the others).
I’m very keen to get people’s opinion on this – do you agree or disagree? Am I missing something from one of the sides that means they will walk the handicap market? Am I right to dismiss Man Utd for the new season and proclaim the title race will be between Chelsea and Man City?