The Potters sure love playing at the Brittania and they'll be hoping their rowdy fans can spur them on to the full allotment of three points in Saturday's match against Aston Villa. How are the soccer betting odds shaping up for this clash?
If you can believe it, one of the clearest favorites of the opening Premier League weekend will be Stoke, listed in the soccer betting odds at roughly -150 at home to the Villans. Aston Villa is quoted in a wide range starting at +250 and going up to +350, while a draw has more of a chance to come through at approximately +240.
It's hard to find too much wrong with what the Potters were able to accomplish last season. They were hardly dominant, but they earned a ninth-place finish in the Premier League, which certainly isn't an easy feat.
In all, the Potters racked up 13 wins, 11 draws and 14 defeats, while scoring 45 goals and allowing 52 throughout the campaign.
The lanky but effective Peter Crouch led the team with eight league goals, with Charlie Adam right behind him with seven. Asmir Begovic had a terrific season in goal, while Ryan Shawcross was an ever-present figure in the heart of the defense.
Looking ahead to the 2014-15 season, what have the Potters done in the transfer market to address any potential weaknesses? They lost Matthew Etherington and Michael Kightly, but they brought in some nice talent, including Bojan Krkic, Mame Biram Diouf and Steve Sidwell among others.
Bojan in particular could be turn out to be a shrewd signing. The former Barcelona man has a lot of talent but has yet to make the most of it – maybe a change of scenery will have help realizes his full potential. He's looked the part during Stoke City's preseason, scoring three goals in three matches.
While the Villans did escape the dreaded relegation, it was still a poor season for the club. They finished in 15th place, just ahead of the likes of Hull City and West Brom and just behind Sunderland and West Ham.
An injury got in the way, but Christian Benteke still paced Aston Villa with 10 league goals, with Andreas Weimann and Leandro Bacuna each accounting for five goals.
In terms of appearances, goalkeeper Brad Guzan (38), Ashley Westwood (34) and Ron Vlaar (32) played the most and figure to be as much action as they can handle again in 2014-15.
Transfer wise, Villa lost Albrighton to Stoke an also watched Nathan Delfouneso and a couple others leave, but they added Joe Cole, Kieran Richardson, Aly Cissokho, Philippe Senderos and Isaac Nehemie to their ranks.
The Villans, though, are going to be heavily reliant on Benteke and need him to stay healthy this coming season. He's proven to be a lethal goalscorer when at full strength.
Premier League Pick
When it comes down to it, we think Stoke is the play here.
We're not overly impressed with what the Villans did over the summer. They didn't have a great season at all in 2013-14, yet they didn't really strengthen their squad that much.
Meanwhile, Stoke is coming off a solid campaign, will be at home at the rowdy Britannia, and we believe they've made some great additions to the team during the transfer window. Add it all up and we're digging the short price on the Potters on their home turf.
Free Soccer Pick: Stoke City 2 Aston Villa 1, with the best odds coming from 5Dimes at -104.