Analysis Premier League: By Richard Borrowdale
2003/2004: Staked = 1180, Returned = 1150.43, Yield = -2.51%
2004/2005: Staked = 650, Returned = 636.785, Yield = -2.03%
2005/2006: Staked = 598, Returned = 628.07, Yield = + 5.03%
Results Discuss on forum
Sheffield United v Liverpool
Liverpool are bound to be a popular bet today, but they just look to be a very short price. No one can quite tell how well Sheffield United will do this season, although the majority of people will predict badly. They could get off to a good start though, and maybe could be this season’s Wigan or West Ham. Liverpool away from home probably don’t win as many as they should, and this isn’t a game to take a chance on them at short odds. Sheffield United will be treating this like a big FA Cup match, and will be very much up for it, and there will be an excellent atmosphere in the ground. Liverpool may well win in the end, but I think this will be close. It is worth a tiny wager on Sheffield United pulling off a shock.
Bet: Sheffield United
Odds: 8.65 (Centrebet)
Arsenal v Aston Villa
A couple of weeks ago, this looked an absolute certain home win. However Aston Villa’s appointment of O’Neill as manager just changes things a little. That’s not to say Arsenal, who were very impressive in the first leg of the Champions League qualifier, will not win, but it’s not a certainty. Aston Villa do look pretty short on players though. Arsenal have some problems with uncertainty hanging over the futures of Cole and Reyes, which may unsettle the team a little. Defensively Arsenal look a little weak, so Villa’s best chance here may be to go for it and attack. As a result, Over 2.5 goals is worth a bet.
Bet: Over 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.81 (Pinnacle)
Everton v Watford
Watford proved last season that they do not fear bigger clubs and will go into this game determined to have a real go at Everton. The question is whether they have enough good players to achieve anything in this game, and this season. Watford proved everyone wrong last season, so it would be foolish to totally write them off here. Everton have made some decent looking signings though, and should win this game the majority of the time. I just feel that the odds are not quite high enough to take at this moment as Watford do have a chance to do something here.
Newcastle v Wigan
Wigan’s summer transfer dealings do not look too impressive on the face of it. They’ve signed a couple of players from abroad, plus some players unproven at Premiership level. Heskey also has not performed in terms of goals for quite some time, and it is hard to see him scoring as many as Roberts, who has left. Newcastle’s problem is a lack of strikers, with Owen injured and Shearer retired. They ended last season strongly, but it is difficult to see them maintaining that over the course of this season. Newcastle will almost certainly do better than Wigan this season, but until they sign a proven striker, it is hard to bet on them in games like this, as strikers usually make the difference. The odds look about right all things considered.
Portsmouth v Blackburn
Portsmouth have tried hard to make a lot of signings over the summer, and while they have missed out on certain players, they have made a few reasonable signings. Johnson, James and Campbell have all player for England in the recent past. Portsmouth should certainly start this season better than last season, and did end last season very well of course. Blackburn have lost Bellamy over the summer, which is a massive blow to their team. You have to give Portsmouth an edge here with home advantage, but Blackburn are usually not an easy team to beat. Their away record wasn’t fantastic last season though, so betting on Blackburn here is probably the worst option. Portsmouth’s weakness here is a lack of good strikers. Lua Lua is their most consistent scorer probably, and he is injured. The others don’t look particularly good, so Portsmouth may struggle to win even if they play well. No bets here.
Reading v Middlesbrough
Both clubs here have had trouble signing players over the summer. Middlesbrough have struggled a bit in pre-season too, and just look a little bit vulnerable at the start of the season. Despite Reading being newly promoted, I certainly wouldn’t be rushing into to back Middlesbrough here. A few players have gone, possibly the biggest loss being captain and best defender Southgate, who has retired to become manager. Reading were very impressive last season, and did well against Premiership teams in the FA Cup with weakened teams. At the same time though, it is hard to bet on them at fairly low odds. A tough game to call, with all three results possible.
West Ham v Charlton
Expectations at West Ham are much, much higher than this time last year. The injury to Ashton won’t help their cause though, and the fact that many people are predicting them to do well may put extra pressure on them. Charlton have made a few signings, with no world beaters, but some reasonable players. Charlton have no reason to fear West Ham here, and first impressions for me are that West Ham are under-priced. Charlton can certainly get at least a draw, and are worth taking on the handicaps.
Bet: Charlton +0.5 (Asian Handicap)
Odds: 1.83 (Pinnacle)
Bolton v Tottenham
Despite trying hard to bring players in over the summer, Bolton have not really made any notable signings. Tottenham have lost Carrick, but have added a couple of interesting players in Zokora and Berbatov. However, I think it is too much to make Tottenham favourites here as Bolton are tough to beat at home. Tottenham are missing King, who is a very important player for them, while Bolton will be out to make it very hard for them. It looks a pretty even game considering Bolton have home advantage and all three results are possible. Bolton’s problem, like a lot of teams, is the lack of a striker who is going to score consistently. This game really is like a flip of a coin for me, with any result possible. A draw would be no surprise.