Two rounds into the Premier League, and the tables & futures betting market have assumed an interesting stance, which could have a bearing on the season proper. Let's review our picks so far.
Week 2 Results and Thoughts
At the end of week 1 of EPL betting, Manchester City were sat atop the table, level on points with the likes of Leicester City, Aston Villa and West Ham United, to name a few. Defending champions Chelsea, meanwhile, were hobnobbing in mid-table obscurity while Arsenal were thrust into the relegation quagmire (of all the places to be) after an opening defeat to West Ham United, getting what appeared to be a promising season in the eyes of many soccer pundits and betting experts alike off on the wrong foot.
One week later, things have changed somewhat. Tables have been turned in some cases, while in other it’s been a poor spread, to say the least. Including, shocker of all shocks preseason favourites…drum roll…Chelsea (or is it given Mourinho’s passive offseason transfer window moves?). One measly point out of a potential six points in two rounds is all the Chosen One and his Blues have been able to muster up. That’s simply unacceptable for a club of their stature. You can bet Roman Abramovich isn’t best pleased. Could this be the beginning of the end of Mourinho’s second tenure with Chelsea? Might he face the exit door before the season is done? Heady questions, indeed.
After being stunned by Swansea City with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, the Blues were faced with a tough challenge against league-leading (Ok one round in) Manchester City in in week 2 Premier League betting. Tale told, however, the Blues fell apart spectacularly in a 3-0 loss, barely striking an audible chord. More ominous signs came in the form of Diego Costa’s head injury and John Terry being relegated to the comfy confines of the sub’s bench midway through the match.
The upshot of the first two weeks of Chelsea’s title defence campaign are bleak. They are down to 16th in the table, faced with a massive uphill climb; not to mention, their soccer odds have swelled steadily: from preseason favouritism at +163 soccer odds, then up to +200 soccer odds after match day 1 (second faves) and, now, all the way up to +333 soccer odds to win outright at Bet365. Still second faves, but a good distance away from newly minted faves across sports betting platforms Manchester City that have a five-point lead over the defending champions.
The Citizens have cemented their place atop the Premier League odds board as the club to beat at +125 soccer odds, down from a preseason +275 price tag and, now, even lower than their week 1 price tag of +175 soccer odds.
Mourinho is keen to remind everyone that it’s just two rounds into a 38-game season and everything is still up in the air as far as the title race is concerned. No need to panic just yet. However, that might be just akin to putting a Band-Aid on a deathly, gaping wound.
In round 3 of EPL betting, the Blues do have a winnable match against West Bromwich Albion. But they then host Crystal Palace in week 4, hit the road to Everton in week 5, host Arsenal in week 6, hit the road again in week 7, heading north to take on Newcastle United where Mourinho doesn’t have happy memories with his Blues, only to return in week 8 to Stamford Bridge to welcome Southampton. As far as EPL schedule’s go, that’s not the lightest by any shot. Let’s not forget, Champions League matches are yet to be scheduled and they are slated to fall in between week 4 and 8 EPL betting (depending on the draw that’s yet to be determined and they are slated to start in mid-September right in the midst of the toughest portion of Chelsea’s upcoming schedule. It’s going to take a monumental effort to recover in Premier League, all while managing another campaign on the European front. And any soccer handicapper worth his salt knows just how much stock Abramovich puts into Champions League results. Make no mistake, Mourinho is under the cosh right now.
By comparison, Manchester City have a manageable schedule enough over the same stretch. While they do face Everton on the road next, they take on Watford in week 4 and West Ham in week 6 at the Etihad. Crystal Palace in week 5 on the road and the Hotspurs in week 7 on the road might pose a challenge, but if they continue the momentum they are enjoying right now they have a better shot of taking more points than Chelsea do over the next five weeks, which will underscore their value as the top favourites at +125 soccer odds.
Of course, it’s early days yet and there are other contenders EPL fans might fancy on their soccer picks. Manchester United and Liverpool are also off to perfect starts on the season, along with the shocking anomaly Leicester City (how long they’ll last at the top of the table is a matter of weeks, surely). The Red Devils and Reds are a perfect 2-0 on the season, level on points with Man City. That alone prompts their +550 and whopping +2000 soccer odds, respectively, some consideration.
Of the pair, Man U have a busier schedule with Champions League playoff spots this week, combined with a tough stretch through to September, which includes clashes against Swansea City, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Southampton before rounding out with a clash against Sunderland.
Liverpool, by contrast, have a lighter load overall. Granted they take on Arsenal in week 3 EPL betting at the Emirates and Man United in week 5 EPL betting at the Old Trafford. They do also have lighter opposition in the remaining weeks, such as West Ham United, Norwich City and Aston Villa. It wouldn’t be surprising if Liverpool improved their soccer odds behind a good run of form in the next couple of weeks.
Finally, Arsenal, who remain third overall favourites at +400 soccer odds to win it all, bounced back last week with a hard fought 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, climbing up to 11th spot in the table with a 1-0-1 record and three points. The Gunners have some tough dates ahead though with Liverpool this coming weekend, followed by Newcastle United on the road, Stoke City at home, Chelsea on the road and Leicester City on the road to round out the month. Just like Chelsea, one has to take into consideration upcoming Champions League commitments that are yet to be scheduled. Just like Chelsea, Arsenal is going to have a tough time taking maximum points during this stretch of the schedule.
Other Notable Observations
While Man City, Leicester City, Man United and Liverpool are off to winning starts on the season. Everton, Swansea City and Watford are undefeated through two rounds. Sunderland and AFC Bournemouth remain pointless after two rounds, thus prop up the table while, surprisingly, Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Chelsea, Southampton and West Bromwich are stuck in a six-way tie on a point after two rounds, putting them in the queue for the relegation zone.