AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Premier League Season

The Premier League is back! Nine months of thrilling football awaits, but there’s one team to catch and a whole host of brilliant markets that Star Sports have. Let’s get going….

Winner: Manchester City have won 197 points over the last two seasons and it’s impossible to realistically oppose that level of consistency. The additions of Rodri and Joao Cancelo fill what are perhaps the only two gaps one might think of and their strength in depth should be too much for Liverpool again. There was 25 points between them and the rest last season and there’s no reason to play in this market as the prices seem to be about right.

Top Four Finish: Tottenham have finished in the top four and they managed to seal another top four finish last year despite losing Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Heung-Min Son to either injury or International duty for at least ten games each. They should be able to start fresh with most of their stars having had a full summer off and the 8/15 on them finishing in the Top 4 makes much more appeal than chancing Chelsea, Arsenal, or Manchester United, all of whom have significant question marks.

Top 6 Finish: Some will jump on at short prices – Chelsea and Manchester United are 1/5, Arsenal are 1/3 – but there’s not that much appeal waiting nine months. Following strong transfer windows, money has come for Everton (7/2), Leicester (4/1), and Wolves (4/1) with some doubts over the top six but there could be better ways to support those clubs.

Top Half Finish: West Ham have invested in attack again instead of defence but they managed to finish tenth despite having just six clean sheets last season and the arrivals of Sebastian Haller and Pablo Fornals should give them more than enough to replace Marko Arnoutovic too. Add in Felipe Anderson and hopefully a fit Manuel Lanzini and they have more than enough quality to finish in the top half again.

Bottom Half Finish: Not much appeal in about eight odds on shots.

Relegation: Newcastle have often been saved by the managerial nous of Rafa Benitez but his departure spells serious trouble. Perhaps even more damaging are the losses of Salmon Rondon and Ayoze Perez, which robs them of 23 goals that Bruce must find, not to mention the movement that those two provided as well. The mood around St James’s Palace is dark and things might not be about to get much better soon.

Without Big 6 (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd & Tottenham): A tremendously competitive race with some teams having had fine seasons on paper. Leicester won four of their five matches under Brendan Rodgers last season when they finished ninth despite the horror of the October crash which sadly claimed Vichi Srivaddhananprabna’s life and Claude Puel not quite gelling with the squad either. The capture of Ayoze Perez from Newcastle was an astute piece of business but perhaps more important was making Youri Tielemans a permanent member of the squad. In Jamie Vardy, they have a striker who scored 18 goals last season – more than anyone outside of the top six – and also the dynamic James Maddison too. They can just beat off Everton, who have had a tremendous window, and Wolves, who could find their squad stretched by the Europa League.

Top Goalscorer: For all their defensive woes Arsenal scored 73 goals last season and Pierre Emerick-Aubmeyang shared the Golden Boot with 22 goals. That was his first full season but he could have one better – he missed the most big chances last season – but he’ll get plenty of chances and he’s also on penalties too. Jamie Vardy scored 18 goals last season despite Claude Puel’s style of football not quite suiting him but under Brendan Rodgers he should thrive – he scored 10 goals after Puel had gone. Anthony Martial did very well to score 10 goals in what was an incredibly unstable season last year. The Frenchman made just 18 appearances last year but with a full season under his belt could easily score from out wide, or even play through the middle.

Season Goals Handicap: This could be dominated by the Big Six. Manchester City scored 95 goals last season and whilst Liverpool would have won with a start of seven last season, City scored 106 goals the season before and they will surely give themselves a fighting chance of doing so once again. Arsenal scored more goals than anyone but the big two last season and they’ve had a strong window in terms of attacking depth, so they could push the big two with a start of 21 goals.

Season Points Handicap: Manchester City won the handicap two seasons ago and were fourth last season when Liverpool took the honours. Their predicted spread points this season are roughly 90, and that would give them a decent chance of at least a top four finish in this market again. If one takes Southampton’s results under Ralph Hasenhuttl from last season, they would have had 50 points over a season. Star’s handicap of 48 would see them have 98 and they may not have to hit expectations to have a serious chance in this market.

Season Match Bets: Watford were a solid 11th last season, a position that might well have been higher had they not had an FA Cup run to the final, and they should feel more confident about this season than Crystal Palace, whether Wilfred Zaha stays or not. Javi Garcia has a lot of quality in his first XI and Watford carry a greater threat than Palace too.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK Tottenham Top 4 Finish 15 points at 8/15 with
BACK West Ham Top Half Finish 5 pts at 11/10 with
BACK Newcastle To Be Relegated 5 pts at 2/1 with
BACK Leicester Without Big Six 3 pts at 10/3 with
BACK Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Top Goalscorer 2 pts each/way at 13/2 with
BACK Jamie Vardy Top Goalscorer 1 pt each/way at 18/1 with
BACK Anthony Martial Top Goalscorer 1 pt each/way at 66/1 with
BACK Manchester City (scr) Season Goals Handicap 2 pts at 14/1 with
BACK Arsenal (+21) Season Goals Handicap 2 pts at 14/1 with
BACK Manchester City (scr) Season Points Handicap 2 pts 14/1 with
BACK Southampton (+48) Season Points Handicap 2 pts at 14/1 with
BACK Watford To Finish Above Crystal Palace 5 pts at 4/5 with

PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 204.82 points
(excluding Ryan Sidebottom Ashes bet (c/f double and Ashes preview outright), Horseshoe Northern Trust, Political Bets posted 8 August