Local bookie's verdict on Preston North End's promotion chances
Savick bookmaker and PNE fan Joe Whitaker looks ahead to the new seasonIt's that time of year again, the first weekend of the season and the return of the '˜coupon'.
But who do we fancy to have a good season and who a bad one?
Having a look at the state of play concerning clubs can help your plan of attack in getting the much-needed edge over those nasty bookmakers.
Starting close to home, it’s not been a great week for Preston North End, losing their main man up front Sean Maguire and the improving Billy Bodin.
It could be argued that Maguire’s injury last season cost us a play-off place in the end and it is a big disappointment to lose him for three months.
Bodin is arguably even more gutting, losing him for six months, especially after he looked sharp in pre- season.
The odds have responded to these losses and PNE have lengthened to a best price of 10/1 to get promoted, probably about right.
I do feel the league isn’t a great renewal again this season though. There are some big spenders in there like Stoke and Nottingham Forest but its not a guaranteed recipe for success.
They also put managers under pressure for results from the off and it doesn’t seem to work very well a lot of the time. I think WEST BROMWICH ALBION at 3/1 to go straight back up, which can include the play-offs if needs be, looks like a decent price.
They have appointed Graeme Jones as their new assistant manager after he left his role with Belgium, and the signing of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone looks a shrewd one.
It must be remembered it was only four months ago they won at Old Trafford under Darren Moore, and their squad is mainly intact as it stands currently, bar the exit of Jonny Evans.
In the top flight it is hard to look past the title staying at MANCHESTER CITY come the end of the season. Can anyone really be expected to haul back the 19 points that City cruised to win the league by? I don’t think so, though there are other markets out there to play.
The race for the league without City in the market is interesting. I like the look of MANCHESTER UNITED at 5/2, even though they clearly haven’t had a great pre-season.
They under-performed last season and yet still finished comfortably second by four points and six ahead of Liverpool in fourth.
If you consider their key man Paul Pogba is coming back a World Cup winner and Alexis Sanchez has had the summer off, they could just click this season under Jose Mourinho.
In the relegation market I feel HUDDERSFIELD to go down at 5/4 is a very good price. It might seem skinny odds to a normal punter, though you have to remember there are three teams to go down and finding three teams they will better could prove tricky. To me getting more than double your money here is good value.
In League One, I feel BARNSLEY to win the league at 8/1 is worth a decent bet. If you back them each way you will get 2/1 for half your stake if they finish second or third, which would still put you in profit.
I feel they were slightly unlucky to go down last season, and having kept the bulk of their squad together they should be ready to get off to a good start under German boss Daniel Stendel.
They offer much more value than Sunderland at a shockingly short price at 3/1, who could find themselves surprised by the quality down in League One.
League Two is always a strange market to call, with a lot of unknown quantities competing against each other.
TRANMERE are a side who look interesting at 6/1 to get a second successive promotion. It might sound like a tall order but it can happen when teams come up from the National League.
Micky Mellon has moulded a decent young squad together with some loan business from Liverpool and signing a winger from Bristol City.
It would be a great story if they could do it and I can see teams not fancying the trip to the Wirral this season.
Above all folks, keep your bets fun, as it should be and enjoy the upcoming season. Joe