The 2015-16 English Premier League (EPL) season gets underway on Saturday August 8th and football betting fans can hardly wait. With several big-money transfer deals already completed, new managers arriving in the English top flight and a host of exciting new signings hoping to impress, the stage is set for another dramatic contest.
Of course, much of the pre-season chatter revolves around which team will emerge victorious after 38 matches and lift the Premier League trophy next May. Can Chelsea retain the title, or will Manchester United complete their revival under Louis van Gaal by becoming league champions for the 21st time? Manchester City are also looking to reassert their dominance at the top of the table, while Arsenal fans are desperate for their side to regain the trophy they last won back in 2004.
Unsurprisingly, Chelsea are the current title favourites at 6/4 with William Hill Sports. Jose Mourinho's highly organised side won the League almost at a canter last season and plenty of observers will expect another dominant showing this time around. Manchester City can be backed as second favourites at 11/4 with William Hill Sports, while Arsenal are currently priced at 5/1 with Ladbrokes Sports.
All three teams have a real chance of taking the 2015-16 title, but many will fancy taking a punt on Manchester United given the team's long odds (currently 6/1 with Coral Sports). Although the rebuilding process is far from complete at Old Trafford, Van Gaal has already signalled his intent with a series of high-profile signings this summer. The arrival of Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger and young Dutch talent Memphis Depay could put United in a position to challenge for the title once again following last season's fourth place.
There are few surprises in the betting markets for the other end of the table, where the three newly promoted teams are the favourites to go down. Watford have the dubious honour of heading the relegation market, with Bet365 Sports providing odds of 8/11 on immediate relegation for the Hornets. Championship playoff winners Norwich are priced at 6/5 for the drop by Coral Sports, while Bournemouth are 5/4 with the same site.
For punters seeking a relegation bet with a longer price, Newcastle United (5/1 at Winner Sports) could be worth a shot. The Magpies finished just four points above the relegation zone last season after a dreadful run of results, although the arrival of new manager Steve McClaren has brought renewed optimism to Tyneside. A good start to the campaign should steady the ship, but any repeat of last season's struggles could cause a familiar sense of anxiety to descend on St James' Park.
Away from the relegation battle, the top goalscorer market is always popular among Premier League fans. There should be plenty of new attacking talent on show this season, but Sergio Aguero remains the favourite to claim the Golden Boot. The Manchester City striker, who was last season's leading scorer with 26 goals, is priced at 3/1 with Ladbrokes Sports to repeat the feat.
Other players in the frame include Diego Costa of Chelsea (11/2 with Betway Sports) and Tottenham's Harry Kane, who is likely to face the twin pressures of greater expectation and the increased attention of opposing defenders following his remarkable breakthrough season. Kane, who netted 21 league goals in 2014-15, is 14/1 at Betfred Sports to be this season's top scorer. Manchester United's Wayne Rooney can be backed at 20/1 with Ladbrokes Sports, which is offering the same price on his new team-mate Depay (scorer of 24 goals in all competitions for PSV last season).
It can seem slightly unfair to bet on who is going to lose their job first, but bookmakers and betting fans are an unsentimental bunch. Several betting sites have wasted no time in pricing up a market on the next Premier League manager to leave their post, with Brendan Rodgers the current favourite (5/1 at Coral Sports).
The Liverpool boss endured a hugely disappointing end to last season, missed out on Champions League qualification and failed to bring a trophy to Anfield once again. With some fans' patience starting to run out, there is a feeling that a slow start to the new campaign will quickly lead to the exit door for the Northern Irishman. Elsewhere in this market, new Watford manager Quique Flores is priced at 7/1 with Ladbrokes Sports, which also offers good odds on Leicester City's Claudio Ranieri, at 16/1.
If you think you've got the 2015 season sussed already, head over to Bet365 Sports today to put your predictions to the test.
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