WHILE there are some who might argue the point until they are blue in the face, the English Premier League is the most popular and competitive soccer competition in the world.
Known as the Barclays Premier League due to obvious contractual arrangements, punters simply call it the EPL and it offers a smorgasbord of soccer featuring some of the best players of the world, beginning in early August and culminating in the middle of May. It features 20 teams, who square off against each other in home and away competition over 38 ‘match days’, with the title winner crowned on whichever team sits at the top of the table at the end of the 380 match season.
With the elation of the title winner, comes the terrible lows of the teams who get relegated. The three worst teams say goodbye to the EPL, with three new ones coming up from “The Championship” for the next season, thanks to the relegation and promotion system.
Manchester United is the biggest club in the competition and has won the title a record 13 times, with Chelsea taking it out four times, Arsenal three, Manchester City two and the remarkable Blackburn once. United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool are known as ‘The Big Four’ for their dominance in the mid 2000s, but big spending Manchester City has joined their company in recent years, and Tottenham has always been thereabouts, without breaking into the big leagues.
Teams receive three points for a win and one for a draw. The top three teams at season’s end qualify for the lucrative Champions League, while fourth place enters the playoffs for a spot. Fifth place wins automatic qualification for the Europa League, while sixth and seventh can also qualify, depending on who wins the domestic cups, FA Cup and Capitol One.
The best bookmakers to bet on English Premier League include:
English Premier League betting tips
The Premier League has had 47 clubs compete for the title since 1992. That’s 24 years. Only five teams have actually won the title though, so if you’re contemplating futures bets, think long and hard. Leicester might do a Blackburn and change the game this season, but don’t be surprised if its not Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester City, reloaded again.
Before you even think about betting, please ensure there are enough dollars in your pocket to put food on the table and make ends meet. Punting on the Premier League should be fun. Here are a few other things to think about when betting on the EPL.
Back the big guns: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Some seasons might contain a few anomalies, bur if you hang around the Arsenals, the Manchester Uniteds, the Chelseas, the Manchester Cities, Liverpools and Tottenhams, you’re on a winner. Back em at home and back em against just about anyone else but each other.
Recent form and history against opponent: The best way to judge a team is how they have been playing. And work out how they might go against their opponent by looking back at their past results against that side. History seems to play a massive role in soccer and especially in the Premier League. If Aston Villa hasn’t beaten Arsenal in its last 14 tries, it probably isn’t going to do it on its 15th try either.
Be aware of injuries and team changes: Premier League big guns have rather deep reserve sides, some of which could field a better second team than some side’s first XI. Make sure you know who is injured and who is out and who is playing. One player out could be the difference between a 1-0 win and a 5-0 shellacking.
Derby games: You want to punt on them for the fun factor, but they can be so tough to pick. Try picking out an Arsenal Tottenham match. It doesn’t matter where they are on the ladder, it’s always hard fought and can produce the unexpected.
When have they played: This can be particularly impactful in games where sides have had midweek jaunts in the European leagues. Those clubs with heavy schedules can struggle at times, leaving openings for upsets from lower sides.
Australians in the English Premier League
Australia has a rich history in the EPL, with our greatest exports trying their hand in the world’s toughest league, with some wonderful success. Here’s a look at some of the best players from Down Under to have pulled on a Premier League shirt.
Tim Cahill: Cahill was nothing short of a hero at Everton and generated a legion of Australian Toffees fans. He spent eight years Merseyside after David Moyes snared him for a ridiculous price of just 1.5 million pounds and he proceeded to play 210 games and score 56 goals for the club.
Mark Viduka: Before he disappeared off the face of the planet the brute striker was one of the finest in the Premier League. His ability to hold up the ball and control it was a feature and helped him win 240 Premier League caps and score 92 goals for Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United. No Aussie soccer fan who watched the Premier League will forget his remarkable performance against Liverpool when he scored all four goals in a 4-3 win for Leeds.
Harry Kewell: Many believe him the best Australian to ever play and it’s hard to argue. He was perhaps out most gifted export, and, before injuries cruelled him, he tore the Premier League to shreds. Won a Champions League with Leeds and scored 45 goals in 181 appearances for the club in his customary attacking midfield role.
Mark Bosnich: Some younger punters might not know it, but the bloke on Fox Sports’ soccer coverage used to be one of the most talented keepers in the Premier League. The party boy’s reign at the top was short lived, but he does have a title with Manchester United.
Other notable Australians to have played in the English Premier League include Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton and Robbie Slater.
English Premier League: A short history
Organised soccer has been played in England for Over 150 years. But the Premier League, like so many sporting competitions before it, was born out of the dollar sign. Ratings dollars saw clubs in what was then known as the First Division break away from what was known as the ‘Football League’ in 1992 and take advantage of the one million pound purse available from BSkyB.
Some of the greatest soccer players of all time have pulled on the boots and played in the Premier League and the competition has a highlight reel the envy of leagues the world over. It was always going to be popular, but, today, it is unequivocally the most watched soccer competition on the planet, with ratings dollars exceeding 2.2 billion world wide, as it is broadcast into 212 territories, more than 643 million homes, with an audience believed to be almost 5 billion.
If you’re planning to have a punt on the soccer, the English Premier League is both a start and an end point for a massive selection of markets, plenty of midweek and weekend action and the most entertaining football you will see on your TV screens. Don’t miss out.