Due to some tweaks to the global soccer calendar - look at you, Qatar - the 2022-23 Premier League season is about to begin. That means fans around the world are about to take another 38-game roller coaster ride filled with the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and some exciting soccer.
However, for those with a deep-seated interest, the sport can be an emotional and difficult journey. The life and death of each game can be exciting, but it can also be heartbreaking. Sometimes you just need some reassurance that everything is going to be okay.
With this lens, let's take a look at the odds for the upcoming campaign from a betting perspective and a statistical perspective. Even if your favorite club is facing relegation, at least you'll be prepared for the potential bad news.
Manchester City and Liverpool are undoubtedly the favorites to win the league
If you've watched any European soccer lately, this should come as no surprise. Manchester City are currently the most likely to win the Premier League, with Liverpool having the next best chance.
According to NBC Sports, which cited PointsBet odds on August 5, Manchester City is -150 and Liverpool is +250. Then there are quite a few drops. Tottenham Hotspur, for example, is third at +1200 to win.
Scott Willis, who handles soccer data at Crab Stats, came to a similar conclusion. He ranks Guardiola's men as the best team in the BPL and gives them a 66% chance of lifting the trophy at the end of the season. His second ranked club, Liverpool, has a 30% chance. In addition to those two, his analysis shows Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur both have a 2% chance of winning the league, and Arsenal have an 1% chance of returning to domestic glory.
Which EPL teams will finish in the top four and earn a Champions League spot?
While Wenger has been ridiculed for treating fourth place like a trophy, the iconic manager isn't that far off the mark. If you can't win the league - and only one club can accomplish that feat - then qualifying for the Champions League is a great consolation prize.
Oddsmakers and Willis' data agree on this. PointsBet's top six Champions League chances are as follows.
Manchester City: -10000
Tottenham Hotspur: -167
Manchester United: +175
Willis' percentages reflect a similar reality.
Manchester City: 100%
Tottenham Hotspur: 69%
Manchester United: 15%
All three promoted teams will be relegated immediately
Considering the absolute financial strength of the Premier League, it is very difficult for a promoted team to stay in the division. This year, the three newest members, Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest and Fulham, seem to be making only a brief cameo appearance on the biggest stage.
Pointsbet offers Bournemouth the best chance to return to the championship; the Cherries are currently at -200. They are followed by Fulham and Nottingham Forest (-125), with Leeds (+200) and Brentford (+250) being the rest of the 'best'.
Willis' numbers largely match the chances of relegation, albeit in a slightly different order. He gives Nottingham Forest a 90% chance of exiting the division, with Bournemouth (79%) looking like another safe bet. He does give Fulham the third worst chance of staying up (33%), but Leeds United (23%) and Southampton (20%) aren't far behind.
With it, whether your team is sitting at the top or bottom of these projected tables, at least you know what to expect. However, things are sure to change as the season progresses, so be sure to be prepared. For better or worse, the Premier League campaign is always a wild ride.