Very few sporting occasions arouse the expectation of punters quite like the start of the new football season. The already exalted levels of expectation for this season were only increased by this summer’s transfer window which saw Premier League teams investing record amounts into their squads, it’s something that has led many to predict that this season could be one of the most captivating yet.
With an abundance of intrigue and excitement ahead, SBC gets the bookies perspective on what to look out for this coming season….
SBC: This summer’s transfer window is likely to see Premier League clubs spend record breaking amounts in order to improve their squads; have any specific transfers had a major effect on outright markets?
Lee Price (Head of PR Paddy Power): Lacazette going to Arsenal saw them shorten a tick form 12s to 11s.
Everton have been the busiest shoppers (Rooney, Pickford, Klassen, Keane, Sandro Ramirez, Onyekuru). Even allowing for the loss of Lukaku, all their signings so far have seen them shorten from 150s in to 80s. They are not finished yet either, picking up Cuco Martina and still in the hunt for Sigurdsson.
United probably opened up a bit short in the market (10/3) and were expect to make a few big signings anyways, so Lukaku’s arrival didn’t have a massive effect on their price.
Still a bit to go in the window yet, so likely to see some more price moves between now and start of the season. Chelsea need a striker seen as Costa looks surplus to requirements. If they got someone like Aguero then it would see them shorten from 7/2.
Also, if Sanchez stays in England, that’s going to have an effect too. Man City have gone from 2/1 to 15/8 since opening, a decent keeper arriving has probably helped, and if they get Sanchez I’d think the rest could forget about winning the league.
Alan Alger (Head of Communications Betway): The first price for Manchester United, shown towards the end of last season, had a significant amount of investment already built into the price. It was also clear that their neighbours, City, would flash the cash.
Arsenal received a very small price cut off the back of the Lacazette transfer, but they are still in the same position in the market. Tottenham’s lack of activity could start to impact on their price soon.
SBC: In recent seasons, both Burnley and Bournemouth have defied the odds and avoided relegation; heading into the new season, Huddersfield are the only Premier League side that are odds on to be relegated, are bookies justified in predicting Huddersfield are destined for the drop?
Charlie McCann (Head of PR BetVictor): Huddersfield lost fifteen times in the Championship last season and were hardly impressive in winning both play-off ties via the penalty spot. The Terriers have kept the nucleus of that squad for the forthcoming Premier League season and the bottom line is we can’t see this side finishing above three sides in the division. The Terriers had a goal difference of -2 in the Championship and over 50% of sides in the Championship scored more goals than the Yorkshire outfit. Whilst the PL does not have much strength-in-depth I will be staggered if the Terriers can survive.
We also think Burnley will struggle and 5/1 for the Clarets to finish bottom looks a huge price as does the 11/10 for Burnley to be relegated given their dreadful away record in the PL last term.
SBC: With the streaming of football evolving and becoming more integrated with social media, are there any new ways that bookies are likely to utilise social media in the new season?
Sebastian Jansson, (Paid Social Manager LeoVegas): We are living through the greatest shift in human behaviour since TV was invented, that shift is from the usage of traditional media such as TV and print to digital media. In the core of digital we find social media.
There are, of course, several platforms within social but at the moment, the one with most users and capabilities, is Facebook. Bookmakers have a fantastic opportunity to connect with their audience over social, and as football has taken rather quick steps into the world of social media over the last 2-3 years, the chances for succeeding are great.
I believe that those who will be successful will be those that will make football-related engaging content on social media. With the rise of live streaming, I am certain we will soon start seeing bookmakers that host live shows on Facebook before and during games.
As a first step, bookmakers will most likely use their own employees, but as they get more comfortable we are likely to see figures like Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville be a part of those shows. I can also imagine that certain bookmakers will connect with certain key football influences such as Arsenal Today, freestylers, etc. in order to utilise their expertise in terms of distribution as well as their personalities to really demonstrate expertise but also to create shows that are really fun and engaging for the audiences to watch and participate in.