The 2017/18 Premier League has now comfortably passed the halfway stage and things are getting very serious for the title contenders and their fans. Of course, some of these supporters like to rack up the tension even higher by betting on the league winners as well and this article will take a look at those sides that are worth a flutter on.
The hot favourites are Manchester City, as they have been for most of the season, with Pep Guardiola’s men ranked 1/3 odds-on to win the silverware. 2015/16 was a miserable season for City as their title defence under Manuel Pellegrini disintegrated, leaving them in top three and him out of a job.
The recovery under Guardiola has been remarkable and they currently hold a 13-point lead over second placed Manchester United heading into March. Their most recent match saw them negotiate a tough encounter with another contender – Leicester City – and emerge 5-1 win over the Foxes, and they will be hard to stop now.
There was a period before Christmas when Manchester United were blasting aside all opposition and looking like they could seriously claim a first league title since 2013, but things have gone badly awry for José Mourinho’s side since the New Year. A horrific January saw them suffer a couple of home defeats. They would have set a new record of successive home defeats, but they avoided that with a recent 2-1 victory over Chelsea.
It still leaves the Red Devils 13 points adrift, although a top-four finish would be a real improvement on last season’s sixth-place finish, and their odds for the title have lengthened to 16/1.
The Merseyside outfit are another side that felt they could mount a serious challenge during the first half of the season but have endured their usual fall-away over the winter period. This culminated in an awful 2-2 home draw against Tottenham Hotspur in their most recent match – a game they really needed to win to close the gap on Manchester City. The draw leaves them two points behind the second-placed United and with their next game being at Old Trafford this Saturday; it could all be over for them by the weekend. It is all very similar to the fading of their title hopes last season, which saw them finish in top-four, although the bookies still have them as 18/1 contenders.
Finally, fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur also fluffed a key test when they failed to beat league strugglers West Ham last month, ensuring they also remain nine points off the pace. Spurs finished runners-up last year, which bettered the expectations of many but still felt disappointing in the end, as they could have won the league – and the bookmakers have them on 12/1 to pull it off this year.