Betting on Premier League: Winter Break Futures

Betting on Premier League: Winter Break Futures

This article is part of our Soccer Picks series.

The last time I did a futures article (Nov. 9), Manchester City were -125 to win the league. They are now nine points above Liverpool and -1200 to take the title. Along those same lines, Mohamed Salah was -120 to win the Golden Boot three months ago. Despite being away for AFCON, he still leads the league by six goals (with 16) and is -400 to win the Boot.

While it's been almost three months, there hasn't been much that's changed. The favorites are still the favorites, they're just bigger favorites. That's why it's a little harder to write about futures when it's more than halfway through the season. I'll still take a look at some intriguing numbers, but in late January, there aren't a ton of bets to make when looking ahead.

Aston Villa will be a side I back in the coming month and unfortunately they're already -150 to finish in the top half after winning at Everton last match. I think there will be a logjam after the top seven teams and Villa is in that second group. If you want value, Crystal Palace and Southampton both at +400 are the best options. Funny enough, I mentioned both three months ago at worse odds. The play of Wolves and the addition of Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa has clearly swung things in the mid-tier.

I'd rather back Southampton, but you could get better odds on them after their next two matches, which are away to Tottenham and Manchester United. Palace have an easier schedule after the break and are more likely to creep up the standings in coming weeks. No matter, both have the quality to surpass a team like Brighton or Leicester City in the standings. Brighton had that great start to the season, but their offensive problems will be an issue the rest of the way and that's why they lead the league with 12 draws.

The most relevant bet is the race to finish top four. Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea are givens with fourth place a massive battle. Only two points separate four clubs with Man United the leader after getting a late goal against West Ham before the break. The Red Devils also have a decent upcoming schedule, so they could again be in fourth place for the next break.

West Ham seem to be the odd team out with +850 odds to finish top four and that makes sense. They have the least amount of depth of this bunch and are coming off two disappointing performances. Tottenham have played fewer matches than the other three and have looked solid under Antonio Conte. I think they're a reasonable choice to finish top four at +175, especially with Son Heung-Min expected back after the break. As for Arsenal, their scoreless draw against Burnley is all I need to look at in regards to their ability to finish top four.

If you still want to get some kind of bet on Manchester City and Liverpool, you can bet on the highest-scoring team. Liverpool are the favorite at -125 with City at -110. Liverpool are three goals up and have played one fewer match, but City are always capable of putting five goals past anyone. The difference between these teams is that Liverpool seem to get three goals in every match, while City have a wider range of outcome, scoring between one and five each game, if not more. With that extra game to play, I think the -125 is worth consideration since that'd put them five or six goals ahead.

Relegation has become interesting after a couple surprising Norwich wins. Norwich are still the biggest favorite to be relegated, but Watford are nearing that conversation again after the sacking of Claudio Ranieri. Of course, there isn't any value in betting those teams to be relegated, nor is there with Burnley at -175. Given the state of those teams and the ones above them, it's hard to see someone else finishing in the bottom three.

Everton would be interesting at +500, but it's hard to fathom a team with Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin finishing bottom three unless things continue to get worse. Newcastle have the money to stay out of relegation and while Brentford aren't playing well, they're still three wins above the teams at the bottom. With a couple more wins, Brentford at +600 to be relegated could be a waste of money.

I think taking Burnley at +300 to finish bottom is worth a look. They're in last with just 18 matches played, but they may only be playing for draws the rest of the way. The return of Maxwel Cornet will be huge after the break, yet he's injury prone and if he misses more time, that means more starts for Jay Rodriguez, Aaron Lennon and Matej Vydra as the team's best forwards. Sean Dyche always seems able to get Burnley out of relegation, but the loss of Chris Wood is a massive blow to the attack.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Zdroik
Adam, a 2019, 2018 and 2017 Finalist for FSWA Soccer Writer of the Year, is RotoWire's soccer editor. He also runs RotoWire's Bracketology, as well as writes on other various college basketball content. He has previously worked at ESPN and Sporting Kansas City, and he is a former Streak for the Cash winner and Michigan State graduate.
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