2020-21 PL Predictions: Leaders Manchester United Still at Underdog Odds at Halfway Mark

In one of the most open Premier League title races witnessed in recent history, Manchester United are still valued as dark horses for the crown despite sitting top of the table at the halfway stage.

That feat isn’t sufficient for ‘true’ favorite status, however, with rivals Manchester City most fancied to clinch their third title in the space of four years. Pep Guardiola’s men are second for the time being, two points below their nemeses with one game in hand, equating to -250 outright win odds with Caesars (available in new Jersey and other legal betting states).

Sportsbooks are clearly banking on the Citizens to eventually pull ahead of the crowd considering current pace-setters, United, still offer a significant return of +550. Those deciding the odds may not favor his club’s chances, but manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was cool on United’s chances prior to their recent 2-1 comeback win at Fulham:

City boast one of the best defenses across Europe’s top five soccer divisions—only La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid (seven) and Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain (11) have conceded fewer this season. Despite the fact they would go top of the league by winning their game in hand, there’s an element of unpredictability among this United team that harks back to a time when Solskjaer’s old mentor, Sir Alex Ferguson, was still in charge of the team.

A lot will ride on United’s visit to the Etihad Stadium (scheduled for March 6), but this City team fails to give the same air of invincibility that we’ve seen of Guardiola’s side in past years.

Liverpool ran away with the crown over two widely divided portions of a jumbled 2019-20 season, but the Reds’ title defense sees them sitting six points off the summit after 19 games. The injury absences of first-choice center-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez has been particularly harmful to Liverpool, whose chances are all the slimmer after a 1-0 loss at home to Burnley in Week 19.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE0kC_D5lds

The Merseysiders have fallen to +800 in the sweepstakes after that Ashley Barnes penalty ended a run of 68 games unbeaten at Anfield, with their previous home defeat coming in April 2017. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side have recorded nine wins from their first 19 games (three fewer than United), but those +800 odds could still yield great value come May given they boast the best attack in the Premier League (37 goals). Nonetheless, the German tactician considered it folly to talk about title defenses following that Burnley disappointment, via the Mirror:

https://twitter.com/MirrorFootball/status/1352533709577138177

Like leaders United, third-place Leicester City also boast a joint-high 12 wins from their first 19 outings, and Brendan Rodgers’ side may be the real value bet among the top teams. 

The Foxes are hedged out at +1400 despite briefly holding the Premier League summit themselves following a recent 2-0 win over Chelsea. England midfielder James Maddison described the humble vibe among their dressing room after that result, and the signs are promising when one considers Rodgers has rarely been able to call upon a fully fit squad this term:

https://twitter.com/footballdaily/status/1351657907268579329

Leicester’s rise into genuine title contention is a sign of the changing times, with Everton (+12500), Aston Villa and West Ham United (both +15000) each priced ahead of +25000 underdogs Arsenal, who are recovering from their worst-ever start to a Premier League season. It will pain the north Londoners to see rivals Tottenham Hotspur at less than one tenth of their price (+2000), with Jose Mourinho hoping to return the club to the top four after last season’s sixth-place finish.

Out of all 20 teams, four are at near-impossible title odds of +450000: Fulham, Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United. The first three among that quartet might take it as a slight to be priced alongside the Blades, who are dead last with only five points to their name, at least six fewer than any other side 15 adrift of safety.

Premier League 20/21 Prediction: Manchester United to win 2020-21 Premier League (+550)

Team

Outright Title Odds

Manchester City

-250

Manchester United

+550

Liverpool

+800

Leicester City

+1400

Tottenham Hotspur

+2000

Chelsea

+10000

Everton

+12500

Aston Villa

+15000

West Ham United

+15000

Arsenal

+25000

Southampton

+25000

Leeds United

+100000

Wolverhampton Wanderers

+100000

Crystal Palace

+250000

Brighton & Hove Albion

+350000

Burnley

+350000

Fulham

+450000

Newcastle United

+450000

Sheffield United

+450000

West Bromwich Albion

+450000

 

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