ANOTHER busy summer sees Manchester City enter the 2017-18 English Premier League season as roaring favourites for the title.
The Citizens have spent over £200 million on new recruits in the transfer window, bringing in a raft of fresh full-backs and a top talent in Bernardo Silva.
Online bookmaker Bet365.com has Pep Guardiola’s men pegged at +187 to knock Chelsea off their perch.
The Blues are paired with Manchester United at +350 odds, with Tottenham Hotspur (+900), Arsenal (+1100) and Liverpool (+1200) rounding out the contenders.
Everton, with Wayne Rooney back where he began, are paying +1000 to jump the big boys and pinch a spot in the top four.
Punters can also get +275 on the Toffees to finish in the top six, ahead of Southampton (+450) and Leicester City (+600).
At the other end of the spectrum, Huddersfield Town are the +175 favourites to prop up the table in their maiden Premier League campaign.
Fellow newcomers Brighton & Hove Albion are also tipped for relegation at +120 odds, while Newcastle United are better backed to finish in the top half (+275) than in the bottom three (+350).
2017-18 Premier League outright betting
+350 – Chelsea, Man United
+900 – Tottenham
+1100 – Arsenal
+1200 – Liverpool
+8000 – Everton
+20000 – Leicester
+25000 – Southampton
+35000 – West Ham
+50000 – Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Stoke, West Brom
+75000 – Bournemouth, Swansea
+100000 – Burnley, Watford
+150000 – Brighton
+200000 – Huddersfield
Market courtesy of Bet365.com
Players to watch in EPL 2017-18
Gabriel Jesus – +500 for Young Player of the Year at Ladbrokes
Even though his rookie year in the Premier League was interrupted by a long-term foot injury, Gabriel Jesus emerged from EPL 2016-17 as one of the league’s hottest commodities.
The Brazilian prodigy slammed home seven goals in 10 appearances for Man City and impressed everybody with his work-rate and maturity.
Reminder Gabriel Jesus got 2 more goals in the league than Rashford last season despite only playing 10 games
— Billy (@Kunbelievable) July 29, 2017
Such was his impact that some are tipping Gabriel to displace Sergio Aguero as the first-choice striker at Eastlands this season.
The two could just as easily work in tandem, as the former Palmeiras man has the skill, smarts and hustle to play just about anywhere in the forward half.
Tottenham’s Dele Alli (+350) is his chief rival for the Young Player of the Year award, but Gabriel is not a bad shout to win POTY outright at +1600 odds if he stays on the park.
Alvaro Morata – +1000 for EPL top goalscorer at Bet365
With Diego Costa determined to force a transfer, Alvaro Morata will start the season as Chelsea’s star striker.
The Blues fought off competition from Man United and Spurs to land the Spaniard, but is he worth the reported £58 million they spent on him?
While Morata is a fine player in anyone’s reckoning, he is not quite the prolific goalscorer some have made him out to be.
— 👑Bakayoko (@KingBakayoko) July 31, 2017
Bet365’s +1000 Premier League Golden Boot quote looks a long way unders when you consider Morata is yet to score 20 league goals in a season at any level.
He could explode onto the scene and stun the doubters, much like Fernando Torres did when he joined Liverpool in 2007, but there are better bets out there.
Paul Pogba – +1200 for Player of the Year at William Hill
Man United’s marquee signing of 2016 divided opinion in his first season in England.
While many wrote him off as a flop, other noted steady improvement in his all-round contribution throughout the campaign.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 31, 2017
Stats show the Frenchman’s influence was significant for the Red Devils, and there can be no doubt he looked more comfortable once Jose Mourinho’s best XI started to take shape in the latter months.
With Ander Herrera now a key man in the middle and Nemanja Matic coming in to play the anchor role, Pogba is poised to show the world exactly why United paid a tick under £90 million to sign him.
Wayne Rooney – +8000 for Player of the Year at William Hill
At face value, Wayne Rooney seems like a poor replacement for Romelu Lukaku.
While the former has struggled to justify his place at Man United in recent years, the latter all but single handedly carried Everton with his 25 league goals last season.
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 27, 2017
That said, this could be exactly what Rooney needs to get his mojo working.
He has looked a shadow of his glorious former self of late, weighed down by the burden of captaining not one, but two underperforming powerhouses.
Back at his old stomping ground, might we see England’s most capped outfield player rediscover his joie de vivre?
Mohamed Salah – +175 for Liverpool top goalscorer at Bet365
More than a few eyebrows were raised when Liverpool broke their club transfer record to bring in Mohamed Salah.
Two impressive seasons at Roma have not erased memories of the Egyptian’s failure to make an impact during his short stint at Chelsea.
His preseason form might have changed a few opinions, however.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah praying for the defenders that have to face them this season. 🙏🏻🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/ccbxSER484
— Football Tweets (@FutballTweets) August 2, 2017
Since arriving on Merseyside this summer, the former Basel star has scored four times in five preseason appearances.
The prospect of Salah lining up alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane is a mouthwatering one for Reds fans, regardless of what happens with Philippe Coutinho.