April 12, 2024

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English Premier League: Handicapping futures wagers

4 min read
English Premier League: Handicapping futures wagers

Believe it or not, the 2022-23 English Premier League season is not that far away.

To accommodate for the 2022 World Cup this winter in Qatar, the newest campaign will launch Aug. 6. Unsurprisingly, Manchester City (-160) is a consensus favorite to lift the trophy for the third straight season. Liverpool (+185) is the most realistic challenger, before a steep drop-off to Tottenham and Chelsea (+1800).

But I’m not about to lay a price in the futures market, especially without knowing what kind of business Liverpool executes in the summer transfer window. That said, there are a few other markets that pique my interest two months away from the season.

So without further hesitation, here are my two best EPL futures bets for the 2022-23 season.

Rodrigo Bentancur claps.
Rodrigo Bentancur celebrates after a Tottenham win.
Getty Images

Best Bet 1: Tottenham Hotspur top-four finish (+110, DraftKings)

Tottenham claimed the fourth and final Champions League spot late last season, and I believe it will experience similar success this season.

Even with the added set of fixtures, a $150 million cash injection will help bolster this Tottenham Hotspur side. Harry Kane appears to be staying put, with Antonio Conte also returning after guiding Spurs into the Champions League.

Even if you set those two personnel moves aside, there’s a lot to like about Tottenham from last season. Dating back to Matchday 11 — Conte’s first match in charge — the Spurs accumulated the third-most points in the Premier League. Additionally, its offense was clicking on all cylinders. In those 28 fixtures, Tottenham generated 1.96 expected goals per 90 minutes. In the 10 fixtures under Nuno Espirito Santo, Spurs created just 1.02 xG/90 minutes, per fbref.com.

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Additionally, Conte’s Tottenham showed a strong ability to win points rapidly at home. In 14 fixtures under the former EPL winner, Spurs claimed all three points in 10 and dropped all three points just three times.

Its defense also improved, allowing only 0.94 xG/90 minutes in 28 fixtures, down from 1.3 xG/90 in 10 fixtures under Santo.

For all those reasons, I would play this market at +100 or better.

Chelsea's Timo Werner in action with Wolverhampton's Francisco Trincao on Saturday.
Chelsea’s Timo Werner in action with Wolverhampton’s Francisco Trincao.

Best Bet 2: Wolverhampton to be relegated (+550, DraftKings)

I can’t stress this enough: The Wolves are lucky to still be in the Premier League after last season.

This side ran so hot and avoided embarrassing results on a number of occasions. Manager Bruno Lage’s side posted a minus-5 goal differential in the 2021-22 campaign, but simultaneously had a minus-24.4 expected goal differential. That latter number came in as the third-worst output in the Premier League.

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On the road last year, the Wolves had an even goal differential on a minus-12.1 xGDiff, again per fbref.com. It also generated the second-fewest expected goals in the league and underperformed its xGA number by 17.3 goals.

Most of that defensive record can be attributed to keeper Jose Sa, who conceded 43 goals on 50.5 post-shot expected goals, the largest discrepancy in the Premier League.

With Raul Jimenez rumored to be on the way out, I don’t see how the Wolves’ attack can keep up with a defense other EPL sides are starting to figure out. For those reasons, I’m happy to take a flier on the Wolves going back down to the Championship.

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