After a poor 10th place finish in the 2015-16 premier league season (explaining their odds of 13/2 to win the league at the start of the this season), Chelsea certainly upped their game in 2016-17 by topping the league table with an impressive 93 points. In fact their year was something of a record breaker with no previous premier league example of a team being able to rack up 30 wins in a season. For a team that started the season fourth favourite (behind Arsenal at 6-1, Manchester United at 5-1 and Manchester City at 9/4) it was certainly a good showing!
The bookies have taken this on board when looking ahead to the 2018 season. Chelsea are currently 2nd favourite at 3-1 to win the league. Last season’s favourites, Manchester City, haven’t budged as favourites though, and so have another opportunity to prove themselves. They’re the same odds as last season (9/4)! It’s been a very topsy turvy couple of years in the league though (I still can’t quite get my head around Leicester topping the table in 2016!) and so I’m sure I’m not the first to caution against lumping on at those odds. It’s unlikely there will be much of a shift in odds over the first 3 or 4 games, so it may be best to get a feel of how things are starting to pan out!
With Chelsea on the verge of securing the premier league title, and Middlesbrough all but certain to be leaving the league, this is certainly a game of contrasts. There will still be fire in the belly of the Chelsea players as they look to end the season in good form (with ten wins in their last 12 premier league and cup matches) and a few points ahead of their closest rival, Tottenham, who effectively blew their title chances last week against West Ham.
Understandably, with Chelsea at home and in good form, they’re heavy odds on, at 2/11. Having players back from injuries, doesn’t hurt either. There’s certainly not much meat on the bone at those odds though, so I’d be more likely to opt for a Chelsea / Chelsea HF – FT result at 8/13. Granted those aren’t amazing odds, but I see this as being the likely outcome. Chelsea have more strength up front and in defense, in fact they dominate across the board. I could certainly see this being something of a goalfest if Middlesbrough concede early, which could suggest that ‘Any Other Score’ at 9/4 with Betfair is a decent bet (one that relies on Chelsea scoring 4 goals or more).
Of course, whenever anyone coins a game a potential goalfest, it turns into a nil – nil, but hopefully not. Middlebrough haven’t won at Stamford Bridge in forty years and I can’t see them keeping a clean sheet either. Should be an exciting game!