Bettors back dark horses Everton to gatecrash top four party

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With less than two days until the Premier League season kicks off, Everton are proving to be a somewhat unexpected hit among bettors.

The Toffees are priced at 7/1 to finish in the top four, and bets have been pouring in for David Moyes’ side.

Moyes will hope that key players such as Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka will be able to play a full part this season after an injury-ravaged last campaign.

And, with these key figures back in the fold, bettors are even daring to back Everton for a title challenge at 150/1.

In terms of the other title chasers, Liverpool and Arsenal have both been very popular.

With new Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson strengthening his squad with the acquisitions of Joe Cole and Christian Poulsen, the Reds have attracted a host of bets at 12/1 to win the title.

What is most significant for Liverpool, however, is the joint commitment of star players Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres to stay at Anfield, which has helped cut their title odds from 14/1 to 12/1.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have won a tug-of-war for a talisman of their own, with Cesc Fabregas opting against a move to Barcelona to fire the Gunners’ title tilt at 6/1.

Arsene Wenger’s shrewd signings of Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny have also generated support in the title betting market, as Arsenal hunt a first league crown since 2004.

Bettors have been unusually cool on Chelsea and Manchester United, as many seem to be of the opinion that neither side has evolved sufficiently over the summer.

Holders Chelsea are the 13/8 favourites to win the title, but they have not enjoyed the fervent backing in the market many were expecting.

Support has also been oddly in relatively short supply for Manchester United, who are priced at 9/4 to regain the Premier League trophy this season. See the full Premier League Betting Odds market.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.