Premier League Odds & Betting Tips: Can Anyone Stop Liverpool From Repeating as EPL Champions?

Chris Altruda previews the upcoming EPL season with Premier League odds, betting tips, and picks to make at online sportsbooks. Follow along as Altruda dives into this season’s EPL storylines and makes some bold calls, including a 25-1 longshot.

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For all their European glory achieved, it was the long-sought domestic trophy that brought Liverpool joy in a pandemic-interrupted season.

Jurgen Klopp’s Merseysiders no longer have to endure the taunts and ridicules of the other “Big Six” clubs about when they will win their first Premier League title. Liverpool effectively took care of that business long before the sports world got shut down due to COVID-19 and then celebrated at the end of an impressive season in which their 99 points were the second-highest total of the Premier League era.

The 18-point gap between the Reds and deposed champions Manchester City was also the second-largest in the Premier League era, trailing only the 19 City amassed over Manchester United in 2017-18 when they became centurions.

2020 EPL Betting Odds at Online Sportsbooks

  • Manchester City -120 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
  • Liverpool +225 (UniBet)
  • Chelsea +1000 (PointsBet)
  • Manchester United +1400 (FOX Bet)
  • Arsenal +4000 (BetMGM)
  • Tottenham +6600 (FOX Bet)
  • Leicester +15000 (DraftKings)
  • Leeds United +15000 (PointsBet)

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SCOUTING THE DEFENDING CHAMPS

Liverpool have not changed all that much in terms of team make-up to defend their title. The attack is still paced by the trident of Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane, the back still in the capable hands of keeper Alisson and central defender Virgil Van Dijk. Creativity in the midfield is still a concern, but also mitigated to a degree with the impressive work of wide backs Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold pumping in crosses and corners to set up their goal-scoring trio.

Klopp was quiet in the transfer market, with the most notable signing being left back Kostas Tsimikas. Scoring depth behind Salah, Firmino, and Mane again lies mostly with Divock Origi and a healthy Xherdan Shaqiri, but youngster Rhian Brewster could be forcing his way into the 18 at Origi’s expense.

MANCHESTER MACHINATIONS

Liverpool’s primary challengers will again come from Manchester – both City and United. Pep Guardiola may have been rebuffed in his bid to win a third straight title last term and then extricate Lionel Messi from Barcelona and reunite with the superstar this offseason, but he still has an embarrassment of riches across almost every position – starting with striker Sergio Aguero.

When healthy – Aguero missed 14 matches last season due to injury – the Argentine is an all-around scoring nuisance and had 16 goals in league play. A former EPL Golden Boot winner and City’s all-time leading scorer, the 32-year-old Aguero remains the better option to lead the line than Gabriel Jesus.

City addressed their weakness in central defense in the transfer market with the signing of Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake as John Stones fell out of favor. Guardiola is hoping Ake and Aymeric Laporte will provide better cover for Ederson between the sticks while carrying play forward to a multi-pronged attack that also includes Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, and newcomer Ferran Torres.

All of them, in addition to Aguero and Jesus, will undoubtedly be on the end of many opportunistic passes from Kevin De Bruyne, who matched a Premier League record with 20 assists last season and may be the only truly indispensable player in Guardiola’s system thanks to his on-field vision.

Over on the red side of Manchester, United must cope with the early season absence of Paul Pogba due to COVID-19, but the January signing of Bruno Fernandes means the midfield is in very capable hands. The irrepressible Portuguese playmaker had eight goals and seven assists in 14 matches after his arrival to power United to a top-four spot for a return to Champions League play, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought in Ajax’s Donny van der Beek to form a double pivot.

Fernandes also has plenty of help offensively. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial shared the team lead with 17 goals in league play, and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood appears tipped for bigger things after contributing 10 in domestic action and another five during Europa League play. United also remain in hot pursuit of fellow teenager and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, who made his England debut this month.

If David De Gea can bounce back from an uncharacteristically poor 2019-20 season, and central defender Harry Maguire’s legal issues from Greece fade quickly, United should be a top-four side with the potential to cause some havoc in the title race.

LONDON’S CALLINGS

The three marquee teams of London – Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur – also all have designs on a top-four finish as they try to narrow the chasm between themselves and both Liverpool and Manchester City.

Chelsea dipped into its near-£150 million transfer kitty from the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and won the Timo Werner sweepstakes, luring the German striker from Red Bull Leipzig after he amassed 28 goals in 34 Bundesliga matches, and then made a second dip in Germany by prying Kai Havertz from Bayern Munich.

Add other marquee signings in the midfield (Hakim Ziyech), left back (Ben Chilwell), and central defense (Thiago Silva) to join holdovers Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic, and Mason Mount, and Frank Lampard’s plans appear to be outscoring opponents given the defense is still shaky and the goalkeeper position unsettled after Kepa Arrizabalaga was dropped in the tail end of last term for Willy Caballero.

Arsenal closed last season with a flourish under first-year boss Mikael Arteta, winning the FA Cup, and also raised expectations for this term with a victory on penalties over Liverpool in the Community Shield. The former Guardiola disciple has a Golden Boot contender in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and the arrival of Willian from across town in Chelsea gives the Gabon international a potent partner in attack.

Whether it is enough for Arsenal to improve on its eighth-place finish from last season remains to be seen, but the arrow is finally pointing in the up direction as opposed to sideways since Arsene Wenger’s departure.

Tottenham Hotspur figure to hover around the top four provided Harry Kane remains healthy. The England talisman and two-time Golden Boot winner was not around for much of Jose Mourinho’s overhaul of the Lilywhites after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, but the three-pronged attack he forms with Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli remains formidable.

Son may be the best No. 2 scoring option in the Premier League on a weekly basis, while Alli – though still temperamental at times – could vault back into stardom if Mourinho can coax it out of the 24-year-old.

OTHER EPL BETTING STORYLINES

Of the three promoted sides entering the Premier League, Leeds United will have the biggest following and largest amount of pressure. The Championship winners return to the top flight after a 17-year absence, and coach Marco Bielsa adds to an already flavorful cast of coaching characters in the Premier League.

Leeds has been pegged by many for a top-half finish, something a promoted side has achieved in each of the previous two seasons through Wolverhampton (7th in 2018-19) and Sheffield United (9th in 2019-20). The summer signing of Rodrigo from Valencia will be pivotal as Bielsa hopes he can form a partnership with top striker Patrick Bramford.

The other area of intrigue lies in the Midlands, where Leicester City and Wolverhampton will vie for regional bragging rights. Brendan Rodgers has rebuilt the Foxes to be something beyond their fairy-tale title season of 2015-16 and reigning Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy continues to be a tireless engine of high-pressing attack who helps create opportunistic goals.

Leicester did well to ward off suitors for playmaker James Maddison, and there is quality sprinkled throughout his first XI from keeper Kasper Schmeichel to defender Caglar Soyuncu to midfielders Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans in support of Vardy. Additionally, Rodgers did well to fill the void created by Chilwell’s departure with the signing of Atalanta’s Timothy Castagne at left back.

Though Wolverhampton faded late and finished seventh, partly due to its run to the Europa League quarterfinals, it may be a case of addition by subtraction as no play on the continent this season may prove a benefit to its domestic standing by season’s end. Wolves will again be led by Mexican striker Raul Jimenez, and they spent a club-record £35 million to sign teenage center-forward Fabio Silva from FC Porto – another in the long list of Portuguese players on Nuno Espirito Santo’s roster.

Wolves will have to replace right-back Matt Doherty, who departed for Tottenham Hotspur, though Adama Traore may be able to fill the spot in the short term as the Midlands squad looks for a potential permanent fix in the extended transfer window.

2020 English Premier League Betting Tips

Odds are subject to change given specific sportsbooks, and for some plays, you may have to ask the book if they can provide odds.

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LIVERPOOL (+225) 1/3 1-2 Win-Place odds

Look, will Liverpool finish 18 points ahead of Manchester City again? No.

Can Liverpool successfully defend its title? Maybe, even though Manchester City is a clear favorite to reclaim the top spot. Taking an each way bet here provides the opportunity to recoup some money should the Merseysiders finish runners-up while also providing the opportunity to claim both prizes as a clear title contender.

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SADIO MANE TOP LIVERPOOL GOAL-SCORER (+175)

While everyone rightfully signs Salah’s praises, the other truth is Mane has elevated himself into a more clinical finisher capable of longer goal-scoring surges over a prolonged period of matches. The Senegal international has one fewer league goal than Salah over the last two seasons, bagging 40, and his intuition playing off Firmino should result in a steady haul of scoring opportunities.

WOLVERHAMPTON BEST IN MIDLANDS (-106)

Though Leicester City have Europa League commitments as the better team from last season, the Foxes are not an overly deep squad and could be stretched thin with that Thursday-Sunday rotation. Wolverhampton only has domestic duties this term but also spent 2019-20 building its depth while playing in Europa League, which should help it avoid a late-term fade. Both teams are top-half quality, but Wolves are good value here – more so if Leicester progress to the knockout rounds next spring.

Additionally, Wolverhampton getting +250 to finish top-six is an aggressive play worth considering.

ASTON VILLA TO BE RELEGATED (+175) or (YES +170 vs NO -250)

Still a fabled club in English football, the Villans narrowly avoided being one-and-done in the top flight last season as they finished one point better than Bournemouth and Watford at the top of the drop. Aston Villa, which is also a viable option to finish last at +600, has not done much in way of fortifying its squad for this season and still heavily rely on Jack Grealish to create offense.

There are also many question marks throughout the side, and if Grealish – who took an absolute beating from opposing defenses last season as the most-fouled player in the Premier League – misses any extended period of time through injury, Villa will find themselves back in the second tier.

MANCHESTER UNITED (-125) TO FINISH BETTER THAN CHELSEA (-112)

Both sides are clearly top-four worthy, but there is more confidence in United keeper David DeGea regaining his shot-stopping form in quicker fashion than Chelsea boss Frank Lampard solving his between-the-sticks dilemma with Arrizabalaga and Caballero.

United also appeared to be further along the path to building something, whereas Chelsea were still prone to incredibly off-putting performances (case in point the 3-0 shellacking absorbed at Sheffield United). There is a certain pragmatism United has that Chelsea lacks, and that will play out in the “Big Six” matches where Solskjaer’s team has a better likelihood of nicking points from losing positions than Lampard’s side.

SERGIO AGUERO OVER 18.5 GOALS (-118)

There are two risks in taking the over for Aguero – his health and Guardiola’s maddening rotations to keep players fresh as Manchester City chases Champions League glory. The hedge here is the second to a degree contributes to the first, which results in the Argentine’s quality shining through.

Aguero had a goal every 91 minutes last season – his best goal per 90 minutes rate since a 90.53 mark in 2013-14, and he doesn’t disappear in crunch matches – 44 of his career 180 Premier League goals have come against Big Six rivals. Even if he nets only five goals in such matches assuming full health, there should be plenty of opportunities for “Kun” to terrorize lesser opponents.

LEEDS UNITED TOP-10 FINISH (+160)

This is a flyer to a degree since Leeds is a promoted side, but the ninth and 10th spots in the table look to be a four-way fight among the new boys, Everton, Southampton, and Sheffield United – and though trending up, Arsenal can still wobble at times. Each side has its own plusses and minuses, but Sheffield United’s transition into the Premier League on the strength of its defensive discipline and fitness last term augurs well for a Leeds United side drilled in the same tenets by Bielsa.

As is the case with promoted sides, goal-scoring will be a concern for the Peacocks beyond Bamford and Rodrigo. But on paper, Everton looks to be the only side of the four with a clear advantage in talent, which makes Leeds finishing top-half a play worth considering.

RAUL JIMENEZ TOP PREMIER LEAGUE SCORER (+2500)

The offensive focal point on a hard-working Wolverhampton side, Jimenez embodies that tireless quality with exceptional work rate and finishing. The Mexico international had 17 goals last season while playing in every Premier League match, and that figure has a good chance of increasing as Wolves have only domestic competitions this term – something that could result in a less taxing physical burden for Jimenez.

This pick is a sleeper given the scoring talent throughout the Premier League, but Jimenez is clearly capable of playing himself to 20 goals and giving himself a chance to win the Golden Boot.

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KEVIN DE BRUYNE TO SET THE PREMIER LEAGUE SINGLE-SEASON ASSIST RECORD

With the earlier pick of Aguero finishing over 18.5 goals, coupled with the amount of scoring options Manchester City possesses, this is a logical play worth harassing your sportsbook into making a market.

The best way to describe De Bruyne’s vision on the pitch is that he’s the soccer version of Jason Kidd. He knows where the ball needs to go, knows the exact space he needs to make the ball go where it needs to go, and also has the audacity to try passes few players see, let alone make.

De Bruyne has a seemingly endless list of scorers to whom he can distribute for goals, and another key factor in his favor is the departure of David Villa. His absence means the Belgian will be on the ball more as City hold and recycle possession for long stretches in the final third against lesser opponents. It becomes a matter of “when” and not “if” City scores in those instances, and De Bruyne will be at the center of that.

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

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