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There is no better theater in sports than the Premier League, and with a new season upon us, it's time to get those futures bets locked in.
With the transfer window running for another month, a lot can change in the first few weeks of the season, which makes it vitally important to ensure you limit risk and maximize potential in the futures market. If you're looking for someone to tell you to bet Manchester City to finish top four at -9000, this article isn't for you.
Here are our five favorite value bets - with a few bonuses along the way - to make before the 2020-21 campaign begins.
Mikel Arteta is earning heaps of praise from Arsenal supporters, and it's easy to see why. Despite taking over halfway through last season, the Spaniard guided the Gunners to FA Cup and Community Shield triumphs; oversaw victories over Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Chelsea; and appears to have convinced talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to devote his future to the club.
Arteta's done excellent business in the transfer market, bringing in William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes to shore up the defense. He's extended the loan of midfielder Dani Ceballos and added Premier League know-how with the arrival of Willian. It appears Arsenal's business isn't done yet, either, with Houssem Aouar and Thomas Partey heavily linked to the Emirates. Either one would be a massive coup for the Gunners.
While the teams ahead of them have also done good business, the gap isn't as big as these odds suggest. Manchester United lack depth in attack and have question marks in defense, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn't proven he's the right man for the job. Chelsea, despite a wild spending spree, have holes of their own, and with both sides sure to be distracted by Champions League duties, Arsenal are primed - and generously priced - to take advantage.
Bonus bets: Arsenal over 63.5 points (-118); Arsenal to finish above Tottenham (-115); Arsenal to finish above Manchester United (+300)
With the 2020-21 campaign crammed into eight months, fixture lists will be congested as ever. The league's "big six" will find it difficult to navigate insanely busy spells, attempting to balance domestic and European responsibilities. With those clubs spread thin, chasing teams will be afforded opportunities to bridge the gap.
Wolverhampton Wanderers, who were hampered by their Europa League participation last campaign, are free of European commitments this season. Their sole focus will be returning to the top six after dropping out of it on the final day of last season. That bodes well for manager Nuno Espirito Santo, who doesn't like to stray from his preferred starting XI. With Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City hampered by Europa League duties, Wolves - bolstered by the arrival of wonderkid and club-record signing Fabio Silva - are set to pounce.
Bonus bets: Wolves to finish highest of non "big six" clubs (+200); Wolves over 57.5 points (-118)
I expect Leicester City to not only drop out of the top six, but out of the top half. Brendan Rodgers did an excellent job with the Foxes last season, but a late free fall - winning two of their final 10 matches - showed how much this side will struggle with a congested fixture list. Leicester are talented, but depth is seriously lacking, and they've been disappointingly quiet during the transfer window. Europa League obligations will seriously hamper the Foxes and their domestic form will suffer as a result.
Bonus bets: Leicester under 56.5 points (-115)
I was a year early on tipping Palace for the drop last campaign but am confident going back to the well. Wilfried Zaha is on his way out and that's a serious problem for a club starved for goals. Only Norwich scored less last season than the Eagles, who are in dire straits if they must rely on Jordan Ayew to spearhead the attack.
Palace lost seven of their final eight matches of last season and won just four of 19 after Boxing Day. With Zaha in search of greener pastures and the clubs below them all improving, Roy Hodgson's side has a massive task to avoid the drop. There are going to be a lot of goalless nights at Selhurst Park this season.
Bonus bets: Palace, Fulham, and Brighton to be relegated (+5500); Palace to score the fewest goals (+500)
Everyone is giddy with anticipation for Leeds United's return to the Premier League, but I'll happily pass on the short price tag of -200 for them to finish highest among the newly promoted sides. Marcelo Bielsa has done a wonderful job, but his erraticism warrants concern, while Leeds' high-energy approach isn't conducive to a crammed fixture list. They've faded down the stretch on multiple occasions in the Championship, squandering past promotion bids, and there's a very real concern that they will experience the same fate given the demands of the Premier League.
West Bromwich Albion, meanwhile, are garnering very little attention, and that's just how manager Slaven Bilic will want it. Their entire side from last season's promotion-winning campaign remains intact - with Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana signing permanent deals - and for all the attention Leeds' attack garners, West Brom were the division's joint-top scorers last season.
The Baggies possess impressive depth, Premier League experience, a wealth of capable scorers, and a proven ability to take on Premier League sides - as witnessed in the FA Cup last season. Under the instruction of Bilic, they're poised to take the top flight by surprise this season.
Bonus bets: West Brom over 34.5 points (-118); West Brom to finish above Fulham (-105)
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.