Prep sports fans from the United States can attest to the crocodile tears and faux “patriotism” that emerges whenever a dominant private school is faced with the prospect of being put in a tougher weight class.
“Our kids just work harder and are better coached than yours, that’s why we’ve won the state football championship 15 years in a row,” the school’s boosters say on online forums. “By asking us to play in a tougher bracket, you’re trying to punish success. It’s un-American!”
Yet arguably, the “American way” is less American than the so-called “socialist” sports culture of Europe. Promotion and relegation are not a means of punishing success any more than a job promotion is a punishment. Yeah, so maybe you get plucked out of the factory to be an executive at General Motors, and thus find yourself in tougher competition. But it’s still a rich reward. Huddersfield probably could have dominated English Championship or League One in soccer 2018-19, but you won’t find the Terriers complaining that they spent the season in the Premier League instead.
An NBA player who is unhappy in the NBA doesn’t have 3 or 4 other leagues he can promote his services too and earn a lucrative new contract. In Europe, footballers who feel they’ve outlasted their usefulness in a domestic league can simply leave for another through an off-season transfer.
If the world of clubs, promotions, relegations, transfers, and competing countries is fairer and simpler than the American system of franchises, trades, and draft picks, it stops being so “simple” when London and Las Vegas get into the mix. Especially in summer – when every roster is in flux.
The Premiership may be losing a favorite son in Leroy Sané very soon as the midfielder ponders a move to Bayern Munich. But there might be just as many key players from elsewhere in Europe who have transferred to the Kingdom as vice-versa before fixtures begin in August.
What is the shuffle doing to the futures odds at soccer betting sites?
Premier League Futures Odds at the End of July
Make no mistake, gambling sites based in London, Las Vegas, and offshore alike are not super fond of offering futures bets on upcoming competitions when everything is in flux and headlines shriek of daily contract drama.
But it’s the English Premier League…only the most popular club organization in the world. Sportsbooks can’t afford not to offer action on the EPL all year long.
Also, it’s not like we can’t count the usual favorites as favorites on the betting board. Manchester City, the club that came oh-so-close to a historic “quadruple” in 2018-19 before settling for a good old-fashioned treble of UK domestic titles instead, is a (-185) wager to lift the Premiership hardware in spring 2020 at Bovada Sportsbook and at BetOnline.
Robert Fripp of King Crimson used to say that elephants only move slowly. Maybe that’s the case with Bovada, the dominant “elephant” of online gambling. Liverpool is still a (+275) wager to win the next Premier League title there. The smaller books appear to be adjusting to the transfer rumors (or “rumours” as they’re known across the pond) a little faster as nervous bettors look to the relatively-stable Reds and Mohamed Salah to have another banner campaign.
Finally, Tottenham is a (+1600) wager at 2 of the above books and (+1800) at Bovada. That looks like an excellent market on the 2019 UEFA Champions League finalists, especially since striker Harry Kane is looking 100% and starring in summer friendlies.
This Harry Kane Goal for the win though 😳🔥
— SONTFootball (@SONTFootball) July 21, 2019
…but as spectacular as the July highlight reel may be, we’d better take a closer look at Spurs before going all-in on an 18-to-1 futures betting market.
Here’s a look at 10 teams getting the most action at Bovada as the season draws near.
Odds-to-Win the English Premier League at Bovada Sportsbook
Man City (-185)
I really hope Leroy Sané doesn’t wind up like any of those National Hockey League or KHL skaters who endlessly move from team to team, with each new city and new head coach promising to make the 23-year-old midfielder into a more complete player.
The Germany National Team didn’t want his services in the 2018 World Cup, much to the side’s detriment. Now, it appears that Sané could wind up out of the Premier League altogether in 2019-20 if Bavarians come up with the right amount of cash.
To be fair, it’s not that City doesn’t want to keep Leroy. At the same time, though, the club has got its hands on another talented young midfielder, formerly a footballer from the Spanish league.
Citizens are ecstatic to be welcoming midfielder Rodri from Atlético Madrid. The 23-year-old Spaniard is a defensive-minded midfielder who could complement the club’s bevy of attacking talent.
Pep Guardiola and City also had defense in mind when activating a buy-back clause to return left-back Angeliño from PSV Eindhoven. He’s expected to challenge Benjamin Mendy for playing time.
In my opinion, Manchester City should be the shortest futures line…but not to the tune of almost 1-to-2. Speculators are too-often historians who somehow think a trophy from last season will produce wins and titles the next season. It’s just a piece of hardware, an inanimate object. There’s no guarantee that the Sky Blues will be as dominant on the attack in 2019-20…especially if Sané flies the coop.
The defending UEFA victors are trimming the fat, parting ways with double-digit footballers in the offseason. Liverpool’s extra roster space is drawing considerable interest from the biggest potential signees on the market.
But you’ve got to sign transfers on the dotted line, and Jurgen Klopp’s side hasn’t made a whole lot of splashes in the headlines. 17-year-old Dutch center-back Sepp van den Berg is an interesting acquisition, but he’s expected to be added to the U-23 squad for the time being.
Reds have been linked to Lille winger Nicolas Pépé, but a contract has not materialized.
Liverpool’s backline will also be a hot topic before the transfer window closes due to the ACL injury of right-back Nathaniel Clyne.
Don’t forget that the team has an annual Golden Boot favorite on its side…excuse the pun.
Harry Kane isn’t the only fresh-faced star looking hot with Spurs over the summer. 22-year-old midfielder Tanguy Ndombele made a quality debut for Tottenham after transferring from Lyon. Troy Parrott is only a teenager, but the 17-year-old has impressed as a talented striker who could wind up getting some reserve minutes behind the incomparable Kane.
Kion Etete is another 17-year-old who just arrived from Notts County. Skipper Mauricio Pochettino has a reputation of throwing in younger players into the mix, and Etete will be a name to watch for throughout the upcoming season.
18-to-1 is a seriously tempting line for Spurs. My only pause is that the club’s backline, which I considered 1 of the most underrated units in sports in 2018-19, has lost Kieran Trippier to Atlético Madrid.
Now, when punters say things like, “Tottenham has a quality backline but not quite as good as City or Chelsea,” they might be correct by accident.
Man United (+2500)
Paul Pogba makes as many “potential transfer” headlines as he makes plays on the pitch, and that’s saying a lot.
Supporters and teammates alike might be getting tired of their star Frenchman having a foot out the door at all times. Red Devils are believed to have a deal in place for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinković-Savić should Pogba be on his way.
MUFC is also a frontrunner in the chase for Leicester City center-back Harry Maguire. The potential addition could be well-timed following the knee injury to Eric Bailly in a friendly against Tottenham.
21-year-old right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka has a bright future after transferring from Crystal Palace where he won the club’s 2018-2019 Player of the Year award. United has also brought in a dose of lethal speed with the signing of 21-year-old Welsh winger Daniel James from Swansea City.
Eden Hazard has bid farewell to Chelsea Football Club in a move to Real Madrid worth a record-setting transfer fee. The club will also have to make a transition on the sidelines as former standout midfielder Frank Lampard replaces Maurizio Sarri as manager.
Sarri’s stubborn tactics in 2018-19 were nobody’s favorite though, and the team’s lack of a dominant striker was a weight around the former skipper’s neck.
Doesn’t look that way. The transfer period has otherwise been quiet for the Blues, whose lone signee so far is Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovačić. The acquisition is still an important move for a club which faces restrictions after allegedly breaking FIFA regulations on signing minors.
Blues have reached into the club’s youth program to fill the void, calling into question Bovada’s 25-to-1 betting line. 23-year-old midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 18-year-old forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, and 20-year-old midfielder Mason Mount could see substantial minutes throughout the EPL season.
Gunners are in a fierce chase to reel-in Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha. But other developments suggest that the club isn’t as rich or as free-spending as its rivals in 2019.
Several noteworthy players have left the roster, including Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who will now suit-up alongside Ronaldo at Juventus.
Arsenal has managed to fill a void in the midfield from receiving 22-year-old central midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid. Teenage attacker Gabriel Martinelli has also been on the team’s radar for months and is expected to have a fine career.
Unai Emery’s club also made a long-term deal for greenhorn defender William Saliba. The 18-year old will spend the 2019-2020 season with French side Saint-Étienne before joining Gunners next summer.
Toffees have joined the competitive race for Zaha, and have reportedly made an offer of 60 million pounds plus an additional player.
Signing Zaha would potentially be the icing on the cake for a club which has bolstered itself throughout the 2019 transfer window. 29-year-old midfielder Fabian Delph has arrived from Man City in hopes of taking on an increased role on the pitch. Portuguese midfielder André Gomes has been a key member of the team, but on loan from Barcelona, and Everton solved that by signing Gomes to a 5-year deal.
The squad has also picked up experience and depth in goal with the signing of Danish keeper Jonas Lössl.
Richarlison will continue to pick up the most headlines as Everton F.C.’s finest attacker.
Now suppose Jordan Pickford finally had the season in goal that everyone thinks he’s capable of. Would a 150-to-1 underdog start looking like a favorite under the tutelage of Marco Silva?
Wolves finished 7th in the Premiership last season and scalped a lot of quality clubs, knocking Liverpool and Manchester United out of the FA Cup before losing to Hornets in the semifinals.
But the organization isn’t sitting on its hands. The transfer window has been especially busy for Nuno Espírito Santo’s side, with 5 signings thus far.
28-year-old Mexican striker Raúl Jiménez had a spectacular 2018-2019 campaign while on loan from Benfica and Wolverhampton has wisely signed the star to a 4-year contract.
Wolves also permanently signed 24-year-old Leander Dendoncker after a successful season on loan from Anderlecht.
Plenty of talent is available from the club’s youth ranks, but won’t be ready to help carry the long-term load in the upcoming season. Wanderers are rumored to be in play for 32-year-old Juventus central midfielder Sami Khedira…that kind of acquisition would help the squad immediately.
Leicester City (+15000)
It doesn’t feel like that long ago when Foxes stunned the Premiership by holding the #1 spot on the table at the end of 38 tough matches. But it might feel like part of another era quite soon.
Leicester City appears destined to part ways with superstar defender Harry Maguire, who has been tabbed for a potential move to either Manchester side.
Skipper Brendan Rodgers has expressed interest in acquiring an attacking midfielder to begin his maiden full season with the club. Ayoze Pérez was recently transferred from Newcastle United and can take the field at forward or in the midfield.
The team has added depth to the backline with the signing of 21-year-old defender James Justin from Luton Town. He’s no replacement for Maguire, however.
West Ham United (+50000)
Hammers are “chomping at the bid,” so to speak…an all-out bid to sign Saint-Étienne defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila.
As is often the case with underdog clubs, though, even a quality acquisition in 1 area could look like a band-aid on a lineup that has been springing too many leaks.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side must fill gaps at defensive midfielder, at forward, and on the backline. The team is struggling to maintain Premier League-level funding and must be crafty with its dollars spent.
The addition of striker Sébastien Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt could provide a much-needed boost to West Ham’s goals-for total in 2019-20 however.
A pair of veteran keepers have been added to the fold as 33-year-old David Martin joined the club from Millwall and veteran Roberto has transferred from Espanyol.
Futures Bet Recommendations for the 2019-20 English Premier League
There are 2 standard ways to play the futures markets…scientifically like a stockbroker or on a hunch like a fan of the Beautiful Game.
Bovada’s “brokers” want to take Liverpool at (+275) before the line shrinks to the price such as those markets now found at other sportsbooks.
Reds proved in spring 2019 that the team is effective on an elite level even when something happens to knock Salah out of the lineup. That’s a crucial factor when so many Premiership clubs – like Everton, for instance – would struggle to score goals if anything happened to their best talent upfront.
But speaking of Everton, I can think of no better hunch to play than a 1 or 2-unit gamble at 150-to-1 on Toffees to ascend in 2020.
Richarlison and Zaha together would be a highlight reel waiting to happen, and who knows how many goals and assists the newcomer would rack-up playing for a more aggressive side as opposed to the cautious zonal defending of Crystal Palace.
The recent boost in midfield will also favor an almost all-English backline led by Leighton Baines and Michael Keane.
Toffees have been exceptionally quiet in summer friendlies, most recently posting a 0-0 draw against Wigan Athletic. That’s just fine. I’d like the squad to save its passion for an early Premier League kickoff and a spring chase for the trophy…especially since I’m putting a penny in their championship futures market.