We're already two weeks into the new Premier League season, and it should come as no surprise that upsets have already taken place. What do these kinds of results tell us about the most competitive league in the world?
As if beating the books wasn't hard enough.
Things get even trickier in the Premier League given the huge amount of parity. Yes, there is a clear-cut set of elite teams, topped by Manchester City and Chelsea this season, but the lower teams are getting more and more competitive as more money flows into the game.
The Current Landscape..
Two matches into the 2014-15 campaign, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Swansea City are the only four teams to have earned the maximum six points. Spurs are on top because of their superior goal differential, having scored five times without allowing a goal.
Other big names include Arsenal, in fifth place with a win and a draw, Liverpool with a win and a loss, and Everton with two draws through their first two fixtures. Then there's Manchester United, who have struggled out of the gate by picking up just one point so far.
At the very bottom, Crystal Palace, Burnley, and QPR are the only three outfits yet to have earned a point. Palace just saw manager Tony Pulis leave right before the start of the season, while the latter two teams are finding out first-hand just how tough the top-flight league is after getting promoted from the Championship last season.
And as For Upsets...
Opening weekend provided us with a glimpse into how much quality is in the Premier League.
The giants like Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal all got victories, but they didn't come too easy.
Manchester United, armed with a couple new signings and a fresh approach under famous manager Louis van Gaal, was left wondering what went wrong in their opening match. They lost 2-1 at home to Swansea City as huge soccer betting favorites coming in. The Swans are a solid side, but a powerhouse like the Red Devils should be winning those types of matches at Old Trafford, no one can argue that.
Everton had to settle for a 2-2 draw at newly-promoted Leicester City, who have shown early on that they intend to make life difficult on the rest of the league, while Stoke City and QPR both lost at home in what were very winnable games.
This past weekend, there weren't as many surprising results. Manchester City took care of business at home over Liverpool, hardly an upset, while Tottenham thrashed QPR 4-0 and Chelsea scooted past Leicester City 2-0. Arsenal and Everton finished with a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park after an impressive fight-back from the Gunners late. Meanwhile, United drew 1-1 away to Sunderland.
Rarely do you see the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid losing more than a couple matches during a La Liga season, but the same cannot be said for the top teams in the Premier League.
It's easy to see why. The parity is much stronger in England, and the physical and high-intensity nature of the league makes it challenging to get results for even the most talented of outfits. Chelsea may have some huge names on their team, including new arrivals Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, but they had to work extremely hard to get a win at home over Leicester over the weekend.
It gets that much more difficult when playing away from the comfortable confines of your own stadium. We've learned over the years that getting a point away from home should be a considered a success for most Premier League contenders.
When it comes to discerning the best value in soccer betting odds, a number of factors have to be considered, and shocking results over the years should be used as a reminder that anything can happen at the highest level. Who remembers Sunderland's win at Stamford Bridge last season? It's certainly not easy to get it right with your soccer picks, but that's why they call it gambling.