SBC Bookies Corner: Premier League predictions & narratives

The Premier League returns to action this weekend, so SBC demands that bookmakers put their necks on the line and predict which storylines and narratives will dominate EPL season 2019/2020. 


SBC: What is the bookies’ script for EPL Season 2019/2020, are we in for a thriller or is this another repeat season of Manchester City?  

Amy Jones – Paddy Power

Amy Jones (PR & Mischief Marker Paddy Power): Although our odds suggest that it will, indeed, be Manchester City (4/9) making a mockery of the rest of the league again, it’s Liverpool (11/4) who are by far the more popular selection.

That may be in some part because of their wider odds, but Liverpool currently accounts for both far more of the bets in terms of volume of cash and number of bets.

This, of course, is no doubt the hangover effect – and probably literal hangover for some of their fans – of their Champions League glory, but if the punters are anything to go by, we’re going to see another closely ran season between the two.

Tottenham are behind those two at 20/1, and although we’re seeing a good few fivers and tenners, they’re nothing like the popularity of City/Liverpool, they’re attracting more shrewd money than on Man United! (40/1)

Alex Apati – Ladbrokes

SBC: Which team will be the ‘bookies darling’ and which team will be the ‘bookies nightmare’?   

Alex Apati (Ladbrokes PR): Of the popular teams particularly in accumulators teams such as Leeds will cause us issues if they go on a good run, the Championship is very competitive and their price will be less restrictive than a Man City or Liverpool week to week.

One of the top 6 outside of Man City and Liverpool could well help us out as they have done in previous seasons. as of now I think Man Utd may struggle to get going again and a few of their expected wins could go our way.

Furthermore, We’re anticipating Leicester and West Ham to be well-backed throughout the season but one worth keeping an eye on as a surprise hit would be Everton. Always there or thereabout, the Toffees will no doubt offer plenty of value throughout the campaign.

Harry Aitkenhead – Coral

SBC: So be brave… Which pre-season ACCA will bust up bookmakers come next May – what horrorshow could be lurking for bookmaker?

Harry Aitkenhead (PR Executive – Coral): The most popular accumulator (before the English football action began on Saturday) was: ‘PL: Manchester City, CH: Leeds Utd L1: Sunderland L2: Bradford;… So we will be hoping for one or more of these to slip up.

Leeds Utd looked particularly strong in their demolition of Bristol City, who had also been well backed for promotion this season, so they will be one of the worst results for us as punters are backing Bielsa to finally get them up this year. Sunderland are probably the most vulnerable favourites, beginning with another draw, and in League Two Salford were a very popular pick behind Bradford. 

Alistair Gill – Kindred

SBC: Will the introduction of VAR create a fairer league, or will VAR tear-us-apart… again?   

Alistair Gill (Racing Analyst Kindred Plc):  Although VAR should certainly create a ‘fairer’ league, for bookmakers it creates a whole raft of issues which we at Kindred have been working hard to find solutions to, in order to be able to continue offering our players the high level of quality In-Play product which we currently deliver.

With any decision or key action in a game being subject to a likely subsequent review by VAR, the managing of odds on markets which would be affected by that decision becomes particularly difficult, especially if the game isn’t stopped. Take for example the below:

In previous seasons, if there is a foul in the box and a penalty awarded, most relevant markets would be suspended immediately, with only penalty related markets remaining open. If the foul goes unpunished and no penalty is awarded, that’s that and we move on.

This season, however, with VAR, if a tackle is made in the box but no penalty is awarded, the game goes on until a natural break in play, when a VAR check will likely occur. In that interim period, the chance of the attacking team scoring next could be infinitely increased by a penalty they may be awarded, but there is no way of knowing in the interim if a penalty is coming or not. This would also impact bookings and card markets, full time result, next goal scorer, O/U goal lines and any other manner of In-Play markets.

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