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Premier League - Football: Liverpool +4 to retain Season Handicap crown

It’s that eagerly anticipated time of the season when bet365 release their Premier League Handicap market where Manchester City and Bournemouth are the same price to finish at the top of the table, albeit with the Cherries having a 56-point start!

Last season we saw Manchester City and Liverpool finish well clear of the chasing pack in the Premier League and it was Klopp who pipped Pep in the handicap market with the Reds having a +7 start and the Citizens off scratch.

The difference this campaign as opposed to last is the chasing pack are getting further away with Chelsea going from +7 to +15 and Manchester United now starting with a whopping +19 having been +8 at the start of 2021/22.

We gave Norwich +46 last season and that still left them a mile behind the front two with the newly promoted trio of Fulham, Forest and Bournemouth all getting a start of at least 50 points.

Brighton were well-backed last season with +32, having hugely underperformed their expected points the season before, but they still finished a distant 16 points behind winners Liverpool.

There are certainly no problems with their performances, and their xGD last season was better than that of Manchester United and West Ham, however after two seasons of struggles in front of goal, you feel they may need a more prolific striker to propel them up the handicap table.

Recent seasons have seen the chasing pack largely trying to keep pace with City and Liverpool, who’ve regularly recorded 90+ points totals, and this season may be similar.

City are 1/1 to surpass 90 points again, while Liverpool are 6/5 for over 86 points, and when you factor in their handicap of +4, 90 may be the score to beat.

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Last season saw Tottenham and Brentford take the remaining two each-way places, with Tottenham’s 71 (+18) and Brentford’s 46 (+43) see them both land on 89.

This season sees Spurs only four points shorter, and they’ll hope to avoid the nightmare start they had under Nuno Espirito Santo, prompting his replacement with Antonio Conte.

They averaged exactly two points per game under the Italian, and if they can replicate that over a 38-game season to finish on 76, their handicap of +14 should see them come close.

The newly-promoted sides can often make an attractive proposition; if any of Fulham (+50), Nottingham Forest (+51) or Bournemouth (+56) can survive and reach the 40-point mark, they too shouldn’t be far off a place, with bet365 paying four places at 1/4 the odds.

Wolves may also be of interest to punters fancying them to repeat last season’s top-half finish. While Jose Sa’s heroics saw them vastly over-perform their xGD – something which may prove hard to replicate this season – if they can get near the 51-point mark they set in 2021/22, their handicap of +44 should also see them near the top of the table.

At first glance, Newcastle (+31) and Aston Villa (+37) are two that stick out. Though Villa’s end to the season was a bit of a damp squib, they had nothing to play for, and they’ve recruited well in the summer, with the likes of Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara, as well as securing the permanent transfer of Philippe Coutinho.

Newcastle meanwhile, speak for themselves. From late January to the end of the season, they picked up as many points as Manchester City, and have continued to strengthen this summer, and look good for a top half finish this term.

Settlement is determined after handicap points have been added to all teams’ final league points total. Dead-heat rules apply (goal difference is disregarded). In the event of the scheduled programme of fixtures not being completed, then all bets will be void.

Click here for Premier League Season Handicap market

By Steve Freeth

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