In a lot of sports there are ‘favorites’ and ‘underdog’ teams, and in football this is no different. The public perceives that teams like Manchester United, Liverpool, and even Arsenal have an unfair advantage over teams like Bournemouth, Watford, and Norwich due to the fact that they are generally considered bigger or more popular brands. These three teams represent the underdog in the English game, but this perception can be misleading if not looked at from a little different perspective.
The most popular teams among football fans are generally those teams that win a lot of games or competitions. These are typically the favorites in any given matchup, and as a result their odds of winning are generally agreed to be quite low (3/1, 2/1, or 1/1, respectively). However, the opposite can also be true—teams that are not as popular but do a lot of winning, tend to be the underdogs in any given game, and as a result, their odds of winning are drastically increased (15/1, 20/1, or 50/1, respectively). This is why taking the odds can be so important in sports betting—you may be able to find value in smaller markets or on short-odds tickets, but not always.
The key to finding value in football betting is to look for those teams that are underdogs but are able to produce value in wins. Manchester United is undoubtedly the most popular team in the world, and they have been immensely successful over the years due in large part to having one of the best players in history, Manchester United legend and former captain Wayne Rooney. Even at 37 years old, Wayne Rooney is still one of the best players in the world and provides instant improvement to any team he plays for.
However, the majority of Manchester United’s games this season have been very close affairs and they have only won four of their ten matches thus far. This has not been the same for Liverpool, who began the season with a seven-game winning streak and the first of what would be many impressive showings from the famous ‘Busqueda Squad’. With the addition of American superstar Andrew ‘El Nino’ Juarez, formerly of Club America, Liverpool is looking like a completely different team. They were able to keep pace with the early season form of Manchester United and eventually came out on top with a last-minute penalty to secure an impressive 3-2 win over their great rivals in the Premier League last week.
Liverpool is also undefeated in the Europa League where Manchester United failed to win in their only European outing this season. With both teams having only lost one game in 2019, there is a lot more confidence that the favorites will maintain their unearned number one status going into the new year. This is great news for Liverpool and Europa League bettors in particular as the Europa League is generally considered to be the stepping stone for many teams in European football. With games through to the latter stages of the competition, there should still be plenty of betting value available despite the teams having already been through to the quarterfinals.
Arsenal On The Rise
Arsenal is another famous English football team that has seen a major shift in public perception this year. Having been written off at several points this year, many would consider Arsenal to be a team on the rise. The Gunners have only lost four games all year, and three of those four games were relatively close affairs. They are a great example of a team that has been written off and yet still managed to put in a dominant performance and walk away with a win. This has been possible because of the form of Alexandre ‘tikTok’ Papaioannou. The 31-year-old forward has been in sensational form this year, contributing six goals and five assists for his teammates while on the pitch. In addition to this incredible individual form, Arsenal is still undefeated in the Championship and have not lost a game in the League Cup either. The odds of winning for Arsenal are now 15/1, which makes their value considerably higher than normal for such a great side. It will be very interesting to see how long this winning streak continues as Arsenal look to defend their title with a trophy this year.
Bournemouth is a Premier League team that was, for the most part, an afterthought this season. Eddie Howe, the manager of Bournemouth, took considerable odds on himself to ensure his team’s survival, and for the most part he has done a good job. Having only lost three games all year, Bournemouth are now a proven outfit in the Premier League and will be looking to make a positive impact in the new year. The team did lose their first two games of the season, but since then they have not lost a game and are looking to build on this form going into the new year. Bournemouth are also not above playing the odds—they have a 15/8 win price on the Betfair Exchange, and also offered 1/2 a win to any team that wins this weekend’s football match between Tottenham and Southampton. This is a great example of a team that has the potential to win big but is still considered an underdog in many contests due to a lack of trophies over the years. It is important to note that Bournemouth have a very good record in the FA Cup, having won the trophy on five occasions, so they have plenty of experience in finishing off games in the ‘oldfashioned’ way. This weekend’s game between Spurs and Southampton will be a good example of this as the match has all the makings of a classic cup final—two teams that deserve to be there, fierce competition, and a chance for the fans to witness a game that will be worth attending. This is why many consider Bournemouth to be a team that will rise rapidly in the new year and have plenty of value for bettors looking to back them in this weekend’s game—even at a generous 50/1 odds, this seems like a very good opportunity to make a profit. In addition to this, the game is at Wembley, which has a capacity crowd of over 80,000—making it one of the best games of the year so far. Bournemouth will be looking to give a good account of themselves this weekend and come away with a good win to start the new year.
Norwich On The Rise
Norwich is another Premier League team that rose as high as second place in the table but now finds themselves in the middle of the pack. The Canaries began the season well but have since fallen down the table and are currently lying fifteenth in the Premier League. This is mainly down to the form of Nathan Redmond, a talented English midfielder. Having already scored four goals this season, Redmond is clearly not lacking in confidence. He has expressed an interest in departing the club this summer for pastures new, which will undoubtedly be a major blow to Norwich. Redmond, however, is not the only high-profile player that Norwich have lost this year. There has also been a large exodus of players, with two of the club’s iconic stars, Robbie Savage and Russell Brand, leaving the club this year. The majority of the players that have left Norwich this year have been unable to settle and have found it difficult to get minutes on the pitch. This has undoubtedly hurt the morale of the squad, and shows just how much the club has lost since their return to the top flight in 2014. While it is not yet known who the new head coach will be, there is sure to be significant upheaval at the club as they look to rebuild for the future. Norwich are still some distance away from competing for a major trophy this season, but they have the potential to do so in the near future as they build for the future. These three teams—Bournemouth, Norwich, and Liverpool—have risen as the season has gone on and have all had successful campaigns. They are all great plays for the new year and should not be written off just yet as there is still plenty of value available for those that back them.