THE 2016/17 Premier League season begins in August and now is the time to lay down ante-posts for the forthcoming campaign. It promises to be a monumental season, especially in Manchester where Pep Guardiola’s blues fight for supremecy with Jose Mourinho’s reds, but not just in the north with Chelsea expected to rise again, Wenger’s Arsenal in a battle for north London supremacy with Spurs and Jurgen Klopp set to begin his first full season. Something’s got to give and until the first six games are played out I have no strong conviction on who will come out on top.
One thing I do know is that the battle for relegation will be between last year’s three promoted teams (Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull), Watford, Swansea and my personal preference (if that’s not too much of a schadenfreude type statement – SUNDERLAND at a universal 9/2 to be relegated. They simply cannot keep escaping year on year the hangman’s noose and whilst Big Sam is very adept at keeping crisis clubs afloat, I doubt he is quite so adept at managing from a clean slate. Remember, that’s not just finishing bottom but only finishing in the bottom three. Their first five or six fixtures are far from easy and I think the price will contract significantly by the end of September.
On a more positive note the league season begins across all divisions at the same time and in next month’s column we will look at one of my favourite betting opportunities and that is the Premiership Handicap race. However, at this point can I advocate the following bet…
12 Doubles and eight Trebles on the teams to win the respective Championship, League One and League Two (two teams per division).
In the Championship I have already advised in last month’s column my stand out bet NORWICH at 9/1. Added to this should be BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION at 14/1. There is no doubt that last season’s heartache for Chris Hughton’s side was gut-wrenching; but with the backing of legendary and fearless gambler Tony Bloom at the helm and with the undoubted skills of Chris Hughton, I think last year’s surprise package will compete from the off. In League One my two against the field are MILLWALL at 12/1 and BOLTON at a very healthy 16/1.
The appointment of Phil Parkinson can only be a positive one and with new owners and, presumably, a degree of money available. I don’t think that the quality manager that Mr Coyle is, would have gone to the Reebok without certain assurances. Their fan base is large, the stadium is Premier League standard and I just think that they have sunk, up to now, to their lowest point. The chances of Millwall are less fanciful as they played well in the play-offs last season before succumbing to Barnsley, who eventually went up via Wembley. In League Two I have taken a punt on WYCOMBE at 25/1 and COLCHESTER at 28/1 but I do advocate stakes at a minimum.
Away from football July also sees the British Trump Open held this year at Royal Trump, Trumptown, Troon – let’s hope they don’t bar me from visiting Vegas! My three against the field in this most picturesque of Scottish Open venues are JASON DAY, unquestionably the world’s number one golfer at 8/1, SERGIO GARCIA at 33/1 and the next big thing…BRANDEN GRACE also at double carpet 33/1.
Among the other bets, as there are a multitude of different markets, I would advocate an interest on KEVIN CHAPPELL in the top American market at 33/1 and also, as he seems to be returning to form after his recent injuries, GENTLEMAN JIM FURYK at 16/1.