Manchester City, Man United headline odds to win Premier League title

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With Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho coming in as managers, rivals Manchester City and Manchester United hold down the top two spots on the odds to win the Premier League championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com at the outset of the season.

The 2015-16 season was the most uncharacteristic in recent memory, with Leicester City winning the league after most experts had them marked for relegation. The underdog team winning kick-started an active offseason, which has led to Manchester City being installed as a +250 favorite (bet $100 to win $250), with Manchester United, at +300, sliding in as the second favorite.

Chelsea (+550) and Arsenal (+650) are also high up on the board, which has a big drop-off after the +800 odds on both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. Leicester City sits at +3000

Manchester City, after barely finishing fourth last season, brought in Guardiola, a recent FIFA world coach of the year whom it has coveted for years. Adding John Stones, late of Everton, should solidify the Sky Blues’ back line, while Guardiola has a total of eight newcomers to work into an improved lineup.

Manchester United opted more for the big names, with Mourinho, 34-year-old Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (a non-factor at Euro 2016), and star midfielder Paul Pogba coming into join veteran Wayne Rooney. The Reds are an on-paper power, but there’s reason to wonder how all those egos will co-exist.

Arsenal might be worth a longshot play. Manager Arsene Wenger is in a contract year, which means he could go all out to revamp his attack and central defense for a run at finishing on top.

Man City’s Sergio Aguero and Tottenham’s Harry Kane are respectively listed at +350 and +500 on the top goal scorer board. Everton’s Romelu Lukaku is listed at +1200, but that reflects on the quality of his team, which seems intent on keeping the Belgian striker.

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez (+2000) is also in a situation where he could cash in from his team having a big year. Ibrahimovic is listed at +900, but it seems far-fetched he would be the leading scorer in his first season in the league.

The three worst teams at the end of the 38-game regular season are relegated to the Football League Championship. Understandably, the three teams that have come up have the lowest odds to be low on the table. Hull City is listed at -150 odds, with Burnley at -110, and Middlesborough at +150.

Keep in mind that Hull City won promotion through a special playoffs, as opposed to being a top-two team over the entire season. Crystal Palace, which flirted with relegation last winter, is listed at +400 on the prop wager at the sportsbooks.

UEFA Champions League Semifinals Betting: Second Leg Odds and Analysis

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Lopsided semifinal first legs might make a Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid seem inevitable, but there is ample betting fodder within that reality.

Both  carry big leads into the semifinal second leg this week. Reigning champion Real Madrid is now a -125 favorite on the Champions League futures board, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Juventus is listed at even money, while their respective opponents, Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco, are each darkhorses at +400.

Juventus, which leads 2-0, is a -165 favorite against AS Monaco (+450) with a 2.5 total for their match on Tuesday in Italy. The draw on the three-way moneyline is listed at +295. Juventus, which can lose the match by one goal and still advance, will likely try to pack it in around its goal, something its done well in European play (two goals allowed in 11 matches).

Juventus also comes in healthy and relatively rested, having rotated their lineup during a league match against Torino last Saturday.

Monaco should have everyone fresh, including teen phenom Kylian Mbappe, but the odds of pushing two away goals past Juventus would seem to be remote. The draw seems like a cagey play.

With the former carrying over a 3-0 lead from the first leg, Real Madrid (+155) and host Atletico Madrid (+160) are in a toss-up game with a 2.5 total in their betting matchup on Wednesday. The draw pays +245 on the three-way moneyline.

Real, led on the pitch by Cristiano Ronaldo, has not been shut out in more than a year. Scoring an away goal would all but seal the win on aggregate (road goals are the first tiebreaker). Atletico, which needs to win by at least three goals, has also had a collective struggle with creating opportunities that forwards Kévin Gamiero and Antoine Grieznmann can put away.

This could be a good match for in-game bettors to track, since Real knows an early goal would force Atletico into a desperate style of game to which it is unaccustomed.

The Champions League final – which is a one-game showdown – will take place at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on June 3.

 

English Premier League betting: Liverpool small favorite over Arsenal

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Based on their recent history, one relative certainty when Arsenal plays Liverpool is that they might hit the over.

Ahead of their match on Saturday, Liverpool is even-money at +105 for the win with Arsenal a +240 underdog and a draw listed at +255 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The English Premier League rivals, who are in a five-team race for three spots in next season’s Champions League, have combined for 13 goals in their past two matchups.

Arsenal, which is 15-5-5 (wins-draws-losses) in the Premiership, will be trying not to concede three points. Key playmaker Mesut Ozil (illness) may be something of a match-day decision for manager Arsene Wegner, and Ozil’s absence would affect Arsenal’s ability to create opportunities for striker Alexis Sanchez.

Liverpool, which is 14-7-5, is dealing with a varied list of injuries. Captain Jordan Henderson (foot) is out , while the status of defender Dejan Lovren (knee) and forward Daniel Sturridge (illness) seems shaky.

Saturday’s fixtures also feature a matchup of two teams drawing bettors’ attention for trending in opposite directions, with Manchester United a -425 favorite against +1100 underdog Bournemouth (with a draw listed at +500).

Manchester United, at 13-9-3, is only two points adrift of a coveted top-four spot. With 35-year-old Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring at an impressive rate, Man U has lost only one of its last 26 matches and has won its last six across all competitions.

They are 4-3-0 (wins-draws-losses) in their last seven matches at Old Trafford against mid-table teams such as Bournemouth, but totals bettors should know that they have scored three goals in only one of those matches.

A continued skein of wins would further lower Manchester United’s price on the top-four finish odds board at the sportsbooks. One of their central playmakers in the midfield, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, should be back from a leg injury, which would help with generating a more flowing attack.

Bournemouth, 7-5-14 in the league, has lost six of its last seven matches in all competitions and has been outscored 12-4 in their last four Premiership matches. The Cherries have also allowed a league-most 30 goals in 13 away matches.

Bournemouth are still four points ahead of the bottom three with 14 matches left, but need to win one soon.