Premier League odds update: Man City a heavy favorite to repeat
As we approach the busy festive period of the Premier League calendar, it’s time to refresh ourselves on the Premier League futures odds.
With nearly every team having played 15 of their 38 fixtures, let’s take a look at who the favorites are and what value might be available for soccer bettors.
Manchester City (-155) the heavy favorite to repeat
The 2020-21 champions started their campaign a bit slow, but over the past month the Citizens have reclaimed their spot atop the Premier League table, culminating with a 3-1 win over Watford on Saturday.
Winners of five straight, City have not dropped points since a shocking 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on October 30.
City have already beaten Chelsea, West Ham, and Manchester United, and drew 2-2 with Liverpool during their start to the season. Their first three matches of the congested December calendar are winnable fixtures against Wolves, Leeds United, and Newcastle away. They will face a challenge from Leicester City, who handed City a 5-2 defeat last season, before more winnable fixtures against Brentford and Arsenal.
The big test for City will be the Chelsea match on January 15, but if City take maximum points from the six matches before, they will be in a strong position, should they defeat the Blues at home.
City’s depth and ability to rotate players heavily make them rightly the favorites, but there is not much value in betting them at the moment. That said, if you are going to bet on them, this might be the best price you will get on them, barring a slip-up or injury issues, for quite some time.
Liverpool (+275) must navigate AFCON
Liverpool had a very strong start to the campaign, winning four of their first five fixtures, and drew with Chelsea. However, they suffered a 3-3 draw to newly promoted Brentford and a 2-2 draw with Brighton that has cost them four valuable points. Liverpool has also drawn with Manchester City, but suffered defeat to West Ham in November.
Since the loss to the Hammers, Liverpool have won four straight matches, scoring 13 goals in the process. Their ferocious attack, led by wingers Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, makes them dangerous against any opponent they face. They will need goals in their upcoming stretch, with matches against Tottenham and Leicester City before the end of the year.
However, Liverpool face more than just a busy holiday period. The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations begins January 9, and players are expected to leave their clubs on January 2. This means that, should their national teams demand that schedule be adhered to, Liverpool would be without Mane, Salah, and midfielder Naby Keita for their pivotal January 2 match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Should the players be allowed to stay with the club—something they are working on at this moment—then the trio would only miss matches against Brentford and Crystal Palace, plus possibly a February 9 match against Leicester, should any players advance to the AFCON final.
If Liverpool are without their dynamic wingers for the Chelsea match, their chances of winning the title take a massive blow. Should they remain, their price right now would be a solid value for the money.
Chelsea (+450) slip after dominant start
Two points abreast of the top of the table, Chelsea lost top spot with a 3-2 defeat to West Ham at the weekend. Chelsea started the campaign on fire, their 1-1 draw with Liverpool being their only blemish in their opening five matches, four of which saw them keep a clean sheet.
After a 1-0 defeat to City, Chelsea ran off another stretch of four wins.
Then injuries began to impact the team in nearly every area of the lineup, and beginning with a 1-1 draw to Burnley on November 6, the Blues have taken just eight of a possible 15 points over their last five matches.
Their once-dominant defense has also taken a step back, allowing three goals each to West Ham and Zenit in Champions League on Wednesday.
Injuries to continue to mount for Chelsea with Loftus-Cheek, the latest addition to the treatment room. "Unfortunately, for many weeks, we are without N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic, and now without Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek was out after the warm-up." #CFC— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) December 9, 2021
Manager Thomas Tuchel is dealing with questions about team chemistry following the 3-3 draw on Wednesday, and with the busy schedule upcoming, he cannot afford any more players to visit the training room.
As of now, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Trevoh Chalobah, and Ben Chilwell are all injury concerns with no real timeline for return, leaving the squad very thin both in the midfield and at fullback.
These roles are pivotal in the success of Tuchel’s 5-2-3 formation and leave real doubts in how they will navigate these upcoming matches.
With fixtures against Leeds United, Everton, Wolves, Villa, and Brighton, the Blues have a very favorable schedule to end the season. Should they navigate without any dropped points or more injury issues, they would be in good shape heading into January, where they face Liverpool and Manchester City away in consecutive matchdays.
Should that happen, their current price is strong value. Any slip-ups, however, and it is hard to see them making up the ground against Manchester City.
Do any other teams have a shot?
The trio of Manchester United (+6600), Tottenham (+15000), and West Ham (+15000) are all longshots with decent prices. They all come with serious concerns, however.
The two London outfits have problems with consistency, as Tottenham has seen Harry Kane score just once this season, and West Ham were contenders for a top-four spot last year before fading down the stretch, going 3-1-3 in their last seven.
As for United, they currently sit 11 points out of first, having lost five matches already, and not even the appointment of Ralf Rangnick would likely be enough to make up such a gap.
If that gap gets smaller over the next month, then they might be worth a look, but I would not recommend wagering on any side other than the three at the time, as they look to continue pulling away from the pack.