As the excitement of the new football season builds, I have had a long hard look at where the winners and losers will come from in the short and long-term.
Firstly, I have had a look at the long running season bets out there. Now for those who lack patience it's not always easy to wait until the end of the season to collect, but with some great value out there, you would be silly not to.
This time last year I picked out Wolves to win league 1 (4-1) and laid Manchester United to make the top 4 (1.3) both of which turned out to be nice little earners whilst also adding to the interest in these markets throughout the season.
So what value is there this season? Well the premier league is perhaps the most open it's been for some years with Chelsea (19-10 with PP), Manchester City (5-2 with Hills) and Arsenal (7-1 with coral) looking stronger than ever it will be an open contest in my opinion, although I fancy Chelsea to win, those odds are too slim for me. The bet I do like however would be Manchester United on a back to lay basis (5-1 with betfair). United couldn't of hand picked a better set of opening fixtures to bed their new formation and tactics in and I expect by November time they will be sitting pretty at the top of the league. This would offer the opportunity to lay for a tidy profit, but with the other 4 big clubs having the worry about the champions league, United maybe able to do as Liverpool did last season and make the most of their sole focus in the Premier League and run the others close if not pip them.
Away from the PL there is even better value for money. The Championship is as competitive as ever, but with this comes some great prices. My 2 teams to follow here would be Derby and Nottingham Forest. Both teams were in the running last season, with Derby suffering play- off misery and Forest fading away as injuries destroyed any chance they had of a challenge. Both have strengthened in the summer and have squads that will challenge for the title. Derby are 8-1 favourites and Forest 18-1 is a huge price in my opinion. Where perhaps the better option comes however is with the promotions market as this offers 3 opportunities for a winner (2 automatic and play-offs) and at 6-1 with coral I think Forest is a great bet for promotion.
League 1 is similar to that of the championship in terms of competitiveness and value. Sheffield United, Leyton Orient and Preston would be my top 3 this season coming, with Leyton Orient the pick of the 3 for promotion. They have had fresh investment from a very wealthy owner and with the signings of McAnuff and Henderson are adding to an already strong side, which is capable of going on strong runs of form. This season with the promotion of Wolves and Brentford I fancy Orient to take the league (10-1) but would back promotion at 7-2 as the safer option.
1st bet: Manchester United to win PL £25 5-1 Betfair (back to lay)
2nd bet: Nottingham Forest to gain promotion £20 6-1 (Corals)
3rd bet: Leyton Orient to gain promotion £30 7/2 888.com
The second area to look at on the eve of the opening fixtures is indeed where the winners and value is within these matches. Now we all know that early season form can be very hard to pick but I've always looked for 2 key things; last seasons momentum and the clubs transfer dealings. On this basis I've picked out a single and a treble to wet the appetite.
My single will be Wigan to beat Reading (Evs with Hills and Betfred). Wigan reached the play-offs although they faded once getting this place they have very much a settled squad with in Uwe Rosler a top up and coming manager. On the counter, Reading have had a woeful summer with the club in financial trouble they have lost many of last years top players and are struggling to play the players wages.
First bet Wigan win £50 evs with Betfred
The second bet combines some skinny odds with a team that was almost my bet of the day. Fleetwood come with great momentum from last season and also having strengthened their squad will be too strong at home to a Crewe side who often struggle away from home (evs for single). To this I'm adding Forest (1-3) and Preston (8-13). Forest are at home to a last minute assembled Blackpool side that they look certain to put to bed. Whilst Preston take great form from last season to a home game against a Notts County team who struggled to maintain their league 1 status last season.
2nd bet: £20 treble Preston, Fleetwood and Forest (4.31 with Hills).