Do not think for a second that Chelsea running away from the pack has dashed all betting potential on the English Premier League futures board.
With their double-digit points lead and two months left in the season, manager Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side is now a -800 betting favorite to win the league, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Only Manchester City (+1200) and Tottenham (+1400) are being given any chance of catching Chelsea.
That will force bettors wagering on how the final weeks play out to look elsewhere, and fortunately soccer is distinct from North American leagues in that regular-season finish means everything.
First off, there is the prospect of relegation, since the three worst teams will be sent to the second-tier Championship for the 2017-18 season. Sunderland is the favorite, in a matter of speaking, to go down at -300 (as well as the +165 favorite to finish bottom, or dead last). Beyond Hull City (-125) and Crystal Palace (-110), that board has some value.
Last season’s Cinderella story, Leicester City (+250), is scrambling for points but also has Champions League games on their plate. Bournemouth (+700) has lost striker Callum Wilson for the season with a ruptured ACL in his left knee and not having his finishing ability could cost them vital points.
The top four finishers qualify to ‘play in Europe’ in the Champions League. The aforementioned Chelsea (-10000), Tottenham (-500) and Man City (-500) are overwhelmingly minus-money favorites, with Arsenal (-110) and Liverpool (-110) at around even-money. Missing out on Champions League would be utterly humiliating for Manchester United (+125) and manager Jose Mourinho, and at this point they offer a decent price.
The real value on that board lies with Everton FC (+5000), which is in seventh place but has much tighter defense this season under new manager Ronald Koeman. Everton also had one of the best records in the EPL during the month of January.
While there is no Leicester grabbing the attention of fans across the world, one lower-profile squad that has endeared itself are Burnley, which was one-and-done in 2014-15, the last time it played in the Premiership. Burnley is listed at +500 to finish in the Top 10 (or top half) of the league, with Stoke City (+120), Watford (+275) and Bournemouth (+350) all having greater than even-money odds.