3 Premier League Futures Bets to Make Before the Season Starts
After the first real preseason in what seems like a really long time, the Premier League is nearly back. The Community Shield takes place this weekend, and the first EPL match is on August 5th.
With the campaign right around the corner, let's take a look at which EPL futures bets you should make at EPL odds.
We went a perfect three-for-three in last year's version of this piece. Let's do it again.
Leeds to Be Relegated (+230)
Leeds barely survived last season, winning on the final day to secure their 2022-23 EPL status, and they fully deserved to be in a relegation scrap, ranking in the bottom five of the league in goals scored, goals conceded, wins and expected goal differential, according to FBRef.
They were among the league's worst in both defense and going forward, and since the end of last season, Leeds have lost Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips, two of their best players -- likely the two best. While they've spent a good chunk of cash in the transfer market thanks to getting around $117 million for said pair, Leeds' net spend is only roughly $1 million, per Transfermarkt.
It's hard to overstate the loss of Raphinha. At times last year, with the team suffering from several injuries to key cogs, including Phillips and striker Patrick Bamford, it felt like Raphinha was by far Leeds' best chance -- sometimes only chance -- to create something in attack. He amassed a team-best 3.67 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes and ended up with 11 goals in 34 EPL starts, adding a trio of assists. As for Phillps, he's a top player in midfield who was a vital piece in transitioning the side from defense to attack.
So, in short, Leeds need their new signings to hit the ground running, or they'll be in trouble.
Two positives for Leeds are that they might still have coin to spend yet this offseason, and they should have better injury luck this year than last. But I think they'll end up in the same spot -- fighting for their lives over the final weeks.
As is usually the case, the three promoted teams are priced as the favorites to go down, with Bournemouth at -210 to suffer the drop and Fulham and Nottingham Forest each listed at +110. After that, it's Brentford (+230) and Leeds (+230) who are the incumbents priced as the most likely to be relegated.
The last time all three promoted clubs were relegated was way back in 1997-98, so there's a good chance someone else goes down. Leeds have the look of relegation candidates as a side that nearly went down last year, was bad in both attack and defense, and lost important players in the offseason.
Leicester to Finish in the Top 10 (-155)
Plenty of headlines have been written about Leicester's unthinkable 2015-16 EPL title. I still can't believe it happened. But it's possible the Foxes don't get enough credit for what they've done since that league-winning campaign.
Leicester have solidified themselves as a quality EPL club, continually operating in a shrewd manner in the transfer market and finishing outside the top 10 just twice (12th and 14th) across the last seven years. They've been in the top half for five straight seasons.
At times last year, it looked like that streak would come to an end, and following two consecutive fifth-place finishes, the Foxes did underachieve a bit in 2021-22. But they still finished eighth -- despite Wesley Fofana and Jamie Vardy combining for just 27 EPL starts -- and managed to get to the Europa Conference semifinals. That the season felt a little meh goes to show the impressive standard Leicester have set in recent years.
The Foxes are -155 to finish at least 10th this coming campaign, and that is the ninth-best odds among EPL teams. I think the -155 price undersells them a bit. While Leicester haven't made a single signing this summer, they also haven't lost any important players.
They have managed to keep hold of Youri Tielemans and James Maddison and lost only Ademola Lookman, a player who was a loanee, among relevant players from last season's squad. They should also get more games from Vardy, the team's talisman up front who I like as a darkhorse Golden Boot dart throw, and Fofana, a top-shelf young defender.
We know the big six -- barring something wild -- will account for six of the top-10 slots. After that, it's Newcastle (-360), West Ham (-160), Leicester (-155) and Aston Villa (-125) priced as the most likely to be in the top 10 with Brighton (+125) up next. I like Leicester as much as any of the non-big-six sides and will gladly take them at this price.
Tottenham to Finish in the Top 4 (-155)
Manchester City and Liverpool are the two best teams in the EPL. Heck, they might be the two best teams in the world. They'll probably take up the top two spots in the league, so in all likelihood, that likely leaves Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal to battle it out for the final two Champions League spots.
There are a few reasons to like Spurs' top-four chances this season.
Antonio Conte is a huge reason. He came in midseason last year and helped Tottenham finish fourth. He's been a winner throughout his managerial career, and he had Spurs playing really well over the second half of last campaign.
Needing to finish strongly to get into the top four, Spurs were very un-Spursy. Tottenham lost only once over the final 11 league matches, winning eight times in that span. In back-to-back outings in May, Spurs beat Arsenal, 3-0, in a dominant showing in a match that went a long way toward getting Spurs into the top four, and they drew at Anfield.
Spurs didn't fluke their way into fourth, either. They had the fourth-best expected goal difference (25.8) last year, 13.0 expected goals better than the fifth-best squad (Arsenal).
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are two other reasons. Two of the best players in the league, Son and Kane combined for 40 goals and 16 assists last year. There is no reason to expect anything other than another superb season from both of them.
Locked into the UCL and boasting an elite manager, Tottenham needed to capitalize this summer in the transfer window. I think they have, signing Yves Bissouma and Richarlison for roughly $96 million total and adding Ivan Perisic on a free.
Bissouma has been an excellent midfielder for Brighton and is a proven EPL commodity. And while the $63 million fee for Richarlison might have raised some eyebrows, the Brazilian has scored at least 10 goals in three of the last four seasons with Everton. He and Dejan Kulusevski (five goals and eight assists in 14 starts with Spurs last season) can help make Tottenham less reliant on their two superstars while also giving them some quality depth should either Son or Kane have to miss time.
Although Arsenal have seemingly improved this summer and Manchester United can't be as bad again this year (right?), Tottenham check a lot of boxes heading into the year.
Oddsmakers are into Spurs, too. Tottenham's -155 price to finish in the top four is a smidge better than Chelsea's -150 odds and a good bit better than the prices on United (+135) and Arsenal (+190). I think you can make a case for Tottenham's odds to be even a little better than they are, and I'm fully on board with them at this -155 number.