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City favourites to retain title

Manchester City are favourites to retain the Premier League title in 2014/15.

Last Updated: 11/05/14 at 17:46 Post Comment

Bookmakers Sky Bet have City at 15/8 to make it back-to-back successes when the new campaign kicks off on August 16.

City, who clinched their second title in three seasons by beating West Ham 2-0 on Sunday, head the market from Chelsea at 12/5.

This season's runners-up Liverpool are 5/1 shots - the same price as dethroned champions Manchester United, whose miserable campaign saw them finish in a lowly seventh place - their worst finish since 1989/90.

Arsenal, who led the league for longer than any other team in 2013/14, are 10/1 fifth favourites.

Those title odds are reflected in the top-four betting. City, Chelsea, Liverpool and United are all odds-on to secure a top-four finish next season. Arsenal, who have now finished in the top four in each of the past 18 seasons, are odds-against at 5/4.

Tottenham (5/2) and Everton (4/1), whose 72-point haul this season was a record for a team finishing outside the top four, are also considered Champions League possibles in what looks like the lost tightly-packed top-four market in many a season.

Sky Bet football trader Paul Lowery explained his firm's position in the title betting, saying: "City still have massive spending power for next season despite their Fair Play mishap. They will have the same manager too giving the market a bit more confidence.

"The view with Liverpool is a common one - they will have many more matches with the Champions League next season and squad size is a worry. They used fewer players than any of the other top-four this season and were fortunate with injuries in key positions.

"In contrast, Manchester United are almost in the same position Liverpool were this year now with no European football to contemplate."

Lowery can see Chelsea shortening if, as his firm expects, they sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa in the summer transfer window.

"The missing link at Stamford Bridge is a striker," he added. "We've seen good money for Costa to move to Chelsea and have suspended betting on his future."

At the other end of the table, Sky Bet's trio for the drop is currently Burnley, West Brom and whichever side comes up through the play-offs.

Burnley are currently odds-on at 4/7 with the Baggies 15/8 after their 17th-place finish this term. Lowery says whichever team wins promotion at Wembley next weekend will be sandwiched between those two sides in the betting.

He added: "All the sides in the play-offs have bigger budgets than Burnley; we'll have them second favourites for relegation regardless of which team it is."

Leicester, Palace and Hull are all 2/1 shots.

Sunderland and West Ham, both of whom have had their manager's future called into question in recent days, are each offered at 7/2.

Other markets already available include 'to stay up' and 'top/bottom-half finish'.

Newcastle's poor second half of the season is summed up in the top-half finish market as despite sitting in the top 10 exclusively since November they are out at 11/8 finish in such a position again in 2014/15.

How the 2013/14 title betting unfolded

Manchester City - the eventual champions hit a high of 13/2 at Sky Bet during the campaign. They went out to that price after drawing 2-2 with Sunderland on April 16, a result which left them six points behind then-leaders Liverpool having played a game less. They had started the season as 9/4 shots.

Liverpool - having been sent off as 33/1 shots, the Reds went close to become the biggest-priced winners in Premier League history only to stutter on the run-in. They went as short as 1/6 after winning 3-2 at Norwich on April 20. At that point they led City by nine points having played two games more. Had they won their final three matches they'd have been champions but they lost seven days later at home to Chelsea.

Chelsea - were favourites at various points during the season, the most recent being March 22 when they thrashed Arsenal 6-0. They actually went odds-on after beating Spurs 4-0 on March 8. Defeats to Crystal Palace and Sunderland on the run-in would prove costly though.

Arsenal - the Gunners were joint favourites for the title with City at 7/4 on December 7, a day which saw City held at Southampton and Chelsea lose to Stoke. However, they drew with Everton the next day and were hammered 6-3 the following weekend by City. The rest, as they say, is history.

Manchester United - the defending champions were never actually favourites for the title at any point but were as short as 12/5 after winning at Swansea on the opening day having been sent off at 5/2 to defend their crown. They would actually finish a lowly seventh having been 1/20 to finish in the top four when that market opened in May.

  • Prices correct as of 1700 BST on 11/05/2014.


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    f the answer is Matt Phillips, the question should never be Who is one of your major transfer targets?

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