The Premier League now boasts a global audience, thanks to broadcasting deals with some of the biggest networks, and fans from Albania to Zimbabwe can follow the live action and keep up with the fortunes of their chosen team.
However, in many places they are doing more than just watching. A game always has a bit more excitement to it if you have a personal stake in the outcome. In the UK, there are betting shops in every town where fans lay down a pound or two, and in this online age, the pastime is more popular than ever. The recent relaxation of sports betting rules in the US, in particular, means that there are thousands of new punters getting into Premier League betting every week.
The beauty of online bookmakers is that they offer a vast choice of wagers. Of course, you can simply back a team to win a given game, but why not explore one of these more nuanced bets?
The golden boot
Last year, it was obvious from an early stage that nobody was going to catch Manchester City, so there was really very little point in betting on who would win the Premier League. However, the golden boot, or top goalscorer, was another matter. This is a title that Tottenham’s Harry Kane had held three years running, but last year, Mohamed Salah appeared from nowhere with an amazing run of goals at the end of the season.
Who’s in the box seat this year? Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero is favourite with the bookmakers at 11/4, despite being a goal behind Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal at the time of writing. Also, never rule out Harry Kane. He’s a further goal adrift right now, but is a 3/1 shot with the bookies.
Top six finish
Sometimes, the top one, two or three positions are a foregone conclusion, but lower down is less certain. Traditionally, the “big six” teams of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are expected to finish in the top six spots. The troubles that United and Spurs, in particular, are facing mean this is not a foregone conclusion. Right now, United are generally expected to recover in the second part of the season, and are 1/4 on to do so. But if you think, for example, that newly promoted Wolves can maintain their fantastic start and finish the season in the top six, bookmakers will offer you 6/1.
Next manager to leave
If you are the sort of person who, in a previous century, might have enjoyed attending public executions on a Saturday morning, this is the wager for you. It’s tough at the top, and a few bad results can mean a Premier League manager is living on borrowed time. Up till recently, Jose Mourinho has been the bookmakers’ favourite as the next to go, and he remains a 3/1 shot. But who’s to say the team won’t recover and he will retain his post? That being the case, you might think the writing is on the wall for Fulham’s Slaviša Jokanović. If so, the bookies agree with you, and he’s just gone favourite. Put down some money and there’s a 6/4 return if you are right.