Many punters like a bet on the Premier League handicap market, where there are twenty teams in the running rather than the three or four that are battling it out for the title.
The handicap market involves each of the teams being given a fictional points allocation which is then added to their real total at the end of the season and several bookmakers have taken their lead from the Racing Post this campaign which makes things easier for punters.
Since the handicaps were created, Sunderland have been all the rage, with several people thinking that 32 points is too much for the Black Cats, although Steve Bruce’s team do face a difficult start which could see them floundering near the foot of the table. Even so, the best price on the Wearside team is 11/1 (Paddy Power – £100 free bets).
Fulham have been allocated an even bigger handicap of 36 points and the Cottagers have shortened to 14/1 (Coral – £25 free betting) with the team expected to go reasonably well under the stewardship of Martin Jol.
Liverpool supporters also appear to have been filling their boots considering that they have been given a 12-point start against Manchester United and a 10-point handicap against Chelsea. Betfred offer 14/1 about Kenny Dalglish’s team performing above expectations.
Champions Manchester United have added Ashley Young, David de Gea and Phil Jones to the squad this summer and the Red Devils might take the Premier League by storm, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s team available at 18/1 (Betfred) off scratch.
United have just two points to make up on Chelsea, with Andre Villas-Boas’ team available at 20/1 (Betfred) to win the Premier League Handicap and the former Porto manager certainly has an elegance of riches in attack.
Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres are two of the best strikers in the division and they will be scrapping for places in attack with Nicolas Anelka and Daniel Sturridge. Perhaps Sturridge will end up returning to Bolton for another loan spell and the Wanderers are 16/1 (Paddy Power) with a 37-point advantage.
Naturally, the three promoted sides have been given a chunky allowance this season and a mid-table finish from any of the trio could be enough to secure at least a place on this market, with the bookmakers paying a quarter of the odds for the first four places.
Swansea City came up through the play-offs and the Welsh side are 20/1 (Paddy Power) with a 44-point start, with Brendan Rodgers having to make a decision about whether his team rove forward as they did in the Championship last term or instead adopt a pragmatic approach that could keep them in the Premier League.
The same applies to some extent with Norwich and QPR. The Canaries are 16/1 (Coral) with a 45-point advantage and QPR have been given 42 points which has prompted Coral to offer 16/1 about Rangers also.