Premier League Top Four Betting: Who is the best bet in the race for a Champions League spot?
The race for a top-four spot in the Premier League is heating up. While Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea are all but assured of the top four, the final place is up for grabs, and Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham are all in the hunt.
Finishing fourth may not be seen as a great achievement on paper, but getting Champions League football makes the world of difference in regards to financials and the ability to attract top talent in the transfer window, so there is plenty at stake as we move into the final 16 games of the season.
Premier League Top Four Betting
Fourth-place: Manchester United
Manchester United currently sit in the fourth spot despite a rocky season that saw them fire Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and bring in Ralf Rangnick. A spell of just one win in eight games between September 25 and November 28 undid all the early work from Solskjaer, who picked up 13 points from his first possible 15 this season.
It’s not been smooth sailing for United under Ralf, and there are still plenty of issues at Old Trafford. The Red Devils have drawn with Newcastle, lost to Wolves, and threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Aston Villa all within the last month.
But they have somehow stayed in the fight for a top-four spot. The key period for United fans will be in early March, when they have a two-week spell, which includes Manchester City (away), Tottenham (home), and Liverpool (away).
United statistically have the hardest remaining games, with their opponents averaging 1.39 points per game, and they have road games against City, Liverpool, and Arsenal to come.
The Gunners’ run-in isn’t a whole lot easier, as their opponents to come average 1.37 points per game. Mikel Arteta’s side went unbeaten during Manchester United’s horror run, winning six and drawing two to put them back in the top-four mix after a horrible start to the season.
There’s been some crushing lows for the Gunners, as they’ve lost all five of their games against top-four teams this season, conceding 16 goals and scoring three. They’ve still got to play Liverpool (home), Chelsea (home), and Manchester United (away).
It’s the road games that have proven to be Arsenal’s downfall this season. Newcomers Brentford beat them 2-0 in the opening game of the season, while they also lost 2-1 to struggling Everton, and held by Brighton 0-0.
Arsenal have just 1.30 points per game away from home this season, conceding 1.7 goals per game on the road and failing to score in 40% of them. Arteta’s team still have tough road games on the horizon including, Tottenham, Chelsea, Wolves, West Ham, and Southampton.
Spurs are the form side in the race for the top four, having put together a great run since bringing in coach Antonio Conte at the start of November. Conte is a Premier League-winning manager, so it’s no surprise he’s been able to stead the ship at Tottenham, and he guided them to six wins and three draws in his first nine league games.
Defeat at the end of January away to Chelsea was a blow and uncovered some of the cracks that still remain in the Tottenham side, but they do have the easiest run-in of the top-four challengers. Their opponents have an average points per game of 1.28, although they still have to travel to face Man City, Liverpool, and Man United on the road.
Tottenham’s home form is key to their top-four ambitions. Liverpool and Man City are the only sides with a better home record than Spurs this season (2.2 points per game at home), and they’ve won all six games at home against bottom-half teams.
They have more home games and more games against bottom-half sides remaining than either Manchester United or Arsenal, which is another big advantage for Conte’s side.
Spurs look really good value for this top-four spot, despite currently sitting in seventh. While there’s an argument to be made that it’s better to have points on the board than games in hand, Tottenham’s remaining fixtures are considerably easier than both United’s and Arsenal’s, and since Conte has taken over, Spurs have performed best of the three.
They still have to travel to Liverpool and Manchester City, which will be tough, but a home game against Arsenal is very winnable, given how good Tottenham have been on home soil and how Arsenal are on the road. An away trip to Manchester United shouldn’t hold too much fear.
They’ve got more games left against the league’s bottom five than either United or Arsenal and don’t have any European distractions to worry about — unlike United, who have an impending clash with Atletico Madrid.
Tottenham’s bottle has been called into question plenty of times over the years and was criticized by TV analysts in the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, but neither United nor Arsenal appear any better at landing a decisive blow in this race for a top-four spot, and Tottenham are in the strongest position of all three.