Mid-way through the 2012/13 campaign, followers of our ‘Bet Of The Century’ column got on board an already-nine-points-clear Manchester United at 23/20 thanks to the Premier League divisional handicap betting and the same market looks to offer big-three backers another chance to fill their boots before the start of this campaign.
Ladbrokes’ divisional handicap sets up all the teams in the top flight up as 15/1 shots, with Chelsea vying for the title off scratch and the Manchester clubs by far their closest challengers on +1 point handicaps.
Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham are next in the handicap on +10, +14 and +15 points respectively, but none make massive appeal.
The Gunners look to be enduring another disappointing summer season in the transfer market, with attempts to force the club’s fountain pen into the hands of would-be recruits like Gonzalo Higuain faltering as usual and they’ve not got within 15 points of the title in the past two campaigns.
Liverpool seem to have been massively overrated in most Premier League betting markets and given they’ll be without Luis Suarez for at least five games due to suspension at the beginning of the campaign – if not losing the Uruguyan’s talents permanently – they’ll struggle to surmount a gap to Manchester United which stretched to 27 points last term, handicap or not.
Even if Spurs keep hold of Gareth Bale they’ll have to improve dramatically on their performance of last season, which saw them 27 points off first place at the lowering of the final curtain.
Everton and Swansea at first glance look intriguingly weighted on +25 and +33 points, but neither head-start would have seen them crowned champions last term.
Furthermore, the Swans have the additional burden of Europa League football to contend with in 2013/14, whilst the Goodison outfit are expected to lose some of the organisational discipline that stood them in such good stead under David Moyes now that Roberto Martinez has taken over.
Those that fancy Crystal Palace to reach the mythical 40-point safety mark should consider backing them with a +49 handicap, as such a haul would have seen them take at least a share of the title for the past four seasons, but realistically their defence is likely to be far from strong enough to avoid the trapdoor.
With this in mind, the shrewd move for punters could be to back whichever member of last season’s top three they fancy for Premier League glory in the divisional handicap market.
The regular Premier League title betting has Chelsea as 2/1 favourites, ahead of United and City at 11/5. A negligible difference in the handicaps between the trio and the lack of credible handicap challengers mean it makes sense to take a massively enhanced 15/1 about the preferred member of last term’s big three to win the title in the divisional handicap market.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date.