English Premier League betting begins

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A few English Premier League teams have been playing exhibition matches in the United States the last couple of weeks, including one Sunday on an odd-looking pitch at Fenway Park.

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There are UEFA Champions League qualifiers happening Tuesday and Wednesday, but the first sign for me that high-level international soccer is upon us is when I see the Premier League Champions open the season at Wembley Stadium against the FA Cup Champions in the FA Community Shield.

This year’s match is Aug. 4 with Manchester City winning its sixth EPL title and they’ll face Liverpool who finished the season as runner-up but qualify because Manchester City also won the FA Cup.

But it was Liverpool who won the grand prize in club level soccer by winning the UEFA Champions League Final.

These two teams figure to be 1-2 again on the season with Manchester City being listed as the 5-8 favorite at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook to win the season title with Liverpool the second-choice at 9-4 odds.

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Tottenham, the team Liverpool beat in the Champions League Final, is the third choice at 14-1, and then it’s Manchester United — the Yankees of the EPL with 20 EPL titles — getting 20-1 odds.

In past years, you would never think of betting any team further down than the four favorites to win the title. But Leicester City changed all that when they won the EPL title in 2016 when they were offered at 5,000-1 odds at European bookmakers such as Ladbrokes. The two teams at the bottom of the SuperBook sheet are Norwich City and Sheffield United each at 2,000-1.  

For the second consecutive year, the SuperBook is also offering odds to win the EPL’s top goal scorer for the 2019-20 season with Tottenham’s Harry Kane coming in as the 4-1 favorite. Kane was the top goal scorer in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

Liverpool’s Mo Salah scored more goals than any player last season between all games, but in just EPL games he was tied with two other players with the most goals (22). Salah led the EPL with 32 goals in the 2017-2018 and is the second choice to have the most this season at 5-1 odds.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (12-1) also had 22 goals last season as did Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (8-1). Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is also 5-to-1 as the co-second choice with Salah.

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