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6th August 2015
Good afternoon, friends,
In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….
My top 3 Premier League ante-post picks 2015/16….
Twice a year here at Punters Verdict we bow to intense levels of public pressure and make a point of turning tipster.
It’s only fair, I suppose. The rest of the time a big part of our remit is to shine a light on the exploits and shenanigans of individual tipping services. Now and again we like to put the boot on the other foot and show them how the job is done properly.
We always target the Grand National – producing some decent each-way returns for loyal followers over the last couple of years.
And, just before the start of the new football season, we like to bring you our best ante-post Premier League picks – and not just obvious bets either. Oh no….
We’re not running one of those outfits where statements of the bleeding obvious pass for serious betting advice. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to back Chelsea for the title (7/4); Watford to be relegated (4/5); or Sergio Aguero to be top goalscorer (3/1).
I know there are services out there that will take good money off you for that kind of obvious assessment. But we’re not one of them.
We give it some thought and seek to identify a few bets we reckon the market is over-looking….
We put the hard yards in and isolate the selections the market is taking the wrong view on….
We look beyond the obvious and find solid bets at prices that under-estimate the specific outcome….
Stoke face a relegation scrap….
Barcelona appear to have become something of a feeder club for Stoke City of late. The Potteries outfit will head into the new season with a squad containing at least 4 players who learnt their trade at the Camp Nou – and another who has pitched up from Real Madrid.
All the focus is directed at the ‘new’-look Stoke City and the shiny exciting signings. But from a betting perspective it could pay to take note of older components who won’t be featuring as much or at all this time round….
Stoke have lost a couple of key players over the summer – players who were integral components of the success the club has enjoyed over the last couple of seasons.
Steven N’Zonzi – the classy defensive shield – has departed for Sevilla. Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has headed to Stamford Bridge to polish the bench.
And talismanic captain Ryan Shawcross has injury problems. On the eve of the new season it transpires that he requires an operation on his back and will miss the early-season period. It’s really worrying news for Stoke fans but a situation that offers punters a great opportunity.
So much of Stoke’s recent success has been built on solid defence. This term a completely new defensive unit – keeper, back 4 and defensive shield - must adjust to one another and gel on the job.
That’s a big ask and I can see Stoke City having a significantly more troubled season than the market believes. They are a general 14/1 to be relegated and I think that’s big. They’ll trade much shorter than that this season.
I’ll be taking the 15.5 on Betfair and looking to lay-off and pinch points as the nightmare for Stoke fans unfold.
Baggies to be best of the Midlands contingent….
My second bet is a direct result of the thinking behind the first. I am convinced Stoke City will struggle this year for the reason outlined above. I am convinced too that Aston Villa and Leicester will also find life difficult.
Leicester looked nailed on for the drop for a large proportion of last season. It took an almost unbelievable run of form at the end of the campaign to lift them into a highly-improbable 14th place. And I see them dropping back to mean this time round.
It was Nigel Pearson’s stewardship that got the end-of-term run of form out of his side. He’s gone now. So too has midfielder Esteban Cambiasso who played a key role in last season’s revival. They’re going to find it tough.
So too are Aston Villa. Tim Sherwood hasn’t managed to hang on to Christian Benteke or Fabian Delph. He’s also lost the services of experienced Ron Vlaar at the back. The players coming into the club are a raggle-taggle bunch either unproven at the top-level or not having yet entirely convinced at it. It all points to another year of nail-biting and misery for Villa fans.
The upshot is that West Brom are attractively priced at 4/1 to finish highest of the Midlands contingent.
Tony Pulis has ridded out quite a bit of deadwood over the summer and brought in James McLean and Rickie Lambert – who will contribute goals. Perhaps his best bit of business is to have held on to Saido Berahino. The Baggies are in better shape than the market believes.
Sherwood to be first out of the revolving door….
One bet inevitably leads to another and I think Tim Sherwood is a decent-enough price at 10/1 to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post.
When he was appointed by Villa last term it struck me that he was more a beneficiary of desperation within the club than the clear-cut first-choice long-term candidate.
Sherwood has sufficient charisma to interest the press pack. He’s outspoken on occasions and he goes against the grain. He’s full of enthusiasm and seems to have the knack of galvanizing individuals and groups. But can he sustain that?
I’m not sure he can. He strikes me as the kind of guy who can lift a club over the short-term through force of personality – and he did keep Villa up last term. But positivity can quickly become old hat in an environment where outcomes are doggedly negative. More is required to rebuild a club over the long-term – especially one where supporters have huge expectations.
The Villa squad is weaker than most and they’ve lost key players over the summer. Villa only scored 31 goals last term and with Benteke gone to Liverpool I don’t see how they are going to improve on that haul this time round.
A goal-drought will put Villa bang in trouble at the bottom of the table and it will put Sherwood under pressure from Day 1. At 10/1 he’s a good price to be first of the managerial meat to be thrown to the wolves.
Best of the rest….
Those are the three bets I like best 48 hours ahead of the start of the new season. If you’re looking for more….
There you have it. That’s where my money is. Sorry if knowing exactly how the 2015/2016 Premier League season is going to work out spoils the next 10 months for you. But I’m a tipster, I see the future and I know what is going to happen….
And, in the event that I am wrong, at least you can sleep safe in the knowledge that I offer a cast-iron, no-quibble, money-back guarantee….
See you in court, folks….
I’ll be back with the Verdict next week.