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.