WLB 2015/16 Preview | What The Experts Say

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WE spoke to finest minds in betting and English football to hear their views on the new season.

Iain Macintosh (@IainMacintosh), editor of The Set Pieces

Premier League Winner

Chelsea (6/4 Bet365). No-one’s convinced me that they can topple Chelsea yet.

Premier League Relegation

Leicester (11/4), Sunderland (2/1) and Norwich (11/10), I’m afraid.

Premier League Top Scorer

Sergio Aguero (3/1 Bet365). If Sergio Aguero stays fit, then it ‘s hard to see anyone else beating him.

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough (6/1 Bet365). Middlesbrough should make top spot their own this year.

League One Winner

Southend United (40/1 Bet365) of course. The last time we came up from the League Two play-offs, we won the League One title.

League Two Winner

Wycombe (20/1 Bet365). I hope Wycombe win it. They were brilliant at Wembley and they deserve it.

Your Best Bet

West Ham to be relegated (7/1 Bet365). Now, I’m not convinced they will, but this does happen to a surprising number of teams when they move stadium, so you never know…

Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney), ESPN, Independent, Irish Examiner

Premier League Winner

Chelsea (6/4 Bet365). I don’t think any other manager can match Jose Mourinho’s competitiveness.

Premier League Relegation

Leicester City (11/4 Bet365), Watford (8/11 Bet365), Norwich City (11/10).

Premier League Top Scorer

Sergio Aguero (3/1 Bet365).

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough (6/1 Bet365).

League One Winner

Sheffield United (9/2 Bet365).

League Two Winner

Luton Town (15/2 Bet365).

Your Best Bet

Crystal Palace to finish bottom half (4/9 Bet365). Alan Pardew teams tend to start seasons well, get found out halfway through, and end up falling away.

Sam Tighe (@STigheFootball), Lead Football Writer at Bleacher Report

Premier League Winner

Chelsea (6/4 Bet365). It’s going to be much, much closer this season but Chelsea are still the strongest overall team in this division.

Premier League Relegation

Watford (8/11 Bet365), Leicester (11/4 Bet365), Sunderland (2/1 Bet365). Watford are doing what QPR did, Leicester have gone backwards (lost the manager the entire squad is invested in and lost their best 2014-15 player in Esteban Cambiasso) and Sunderland haven’t done enough in the transfer market as it stands.

Premier League Top Scorer

Sergio Aguero (3/1 Bet365). Injury permitting, as always, but he’s arguably the best overall player in the league and an absolute goal machine to boot.

Your Best Bet

Manchester United to go over the points spread. I think they could get up to eight or nine more than last season’s effort after fleshing out their squad and finally recruiting a midfield worthy of the shirt.

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike), Foxpunter editor

Premier League Winner

Manchester City (11/4 Bet365). I honestly can’t make my mind up between City and United but I do fancy another Manchester duel at the summit. I don’t rate Chelsea – didn’t last season, don’t now – so I’ll go for City, just because.

Premier League Relegation

Watford (8/11 Bet365), Leicester (!1/4 Bet365), Sunderland (2/1 Bet365). Watford look up against it but I’m backing Bournemouth and Norwich to survive, so I’ll go for Leicester and Sunderland to join the Hornets because I don’t rate their managers.

Premier League Top Scorer

Eden Hazard (20/1 Bet365). Eden Hazard looks a decent bet. He scored 20 in his final season at Lille and this would be the next logical step if he wants to encourage these comparisons with Messi and Ronaldo.

Championship Winner

Brentford (12/1 Bet365). Looking at the field today, I’d have to say Brentford. They’re the only team for whom this season is part of a grander scheme. But money talks, so it might depend on how the others invest mid-season.

League One Winner

Sheffield United (9/2 Bet365). On budget alone, Wigan should tear it to pieces but there’s plenty that could go wrong there. From a value perspective, Bradford are the bet but I expect Sheffield United to take the title.

League Two Winner

Luton (13/2 Bet365). I fancy Cambridge will go close but Luton are the team to beat. John Still is like a grandmaster at this level nowadays and he suddenly has so many options that he didn’t have last season.

Your Best Bet

Ipswich to finish in the top-six (11/4 Bet365). It might be touch and go but you can rest assured that Mick McCarthy will make a mockery of the price. The Tractor Boys should be stronger this season than last.

*Sign-up to Mike’s weekly shot ratings emails from Foxpunter here*

Nigel Seeley (@Seeley_Nigel), Tip TV host and betting expert

Premier League Winner

Manchester United (5/1 Bet365). I really want to take Chelsea on at the prices and of all the teams I’m drawn into the 5/1 on Man Utd.

I think the signings they’ve made have been some of the best business of all the teams in Europe in this transfer window and on pre-season (which I know isn’t a guide) they’ve looked excellent. And I expect some more faces to arrive before the season starts.

Premier League Relegation

Watford (8/11 Bet365), West Ham (7/1 Bet365). I really can’t see Watford surviving, but at 8/11 it’s an awful long time to tie your money up for a short prices return. At a big price it could really all go wrong for West Ham and the 7/1 for them to drop looks tempting. I don’t believe Slaven Bilic will be a success, he was never the number one target and the pressure of Premier League football for next season in the Olympic Stadium could be too strong.

Premier League Top Goalscorer

Theo Walcaott (33/1 Bet365), Loic Remy (40/1 Bet365). Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa are far too short and every season there is a shock big price placed goalscorer and this season I would look further down the lists.

I’m expecting a big, big season from Theo Walcott and if he can keep fit, which is a MASSIVE if, and the likelihood of him playing more upfront makes 33/1 looks a big price. Walcott always plays as a striker against weaker opponents and he was scoring goals for fun at the end of last season.

I’m also watching developments with Loic Remy. He’s a great natural goalscorer and if he rocks up at a Crystal Palace or an Aston Villa he will score virtually 50% of their goals; he takes penalties and at 40/1 that prices will be a quarter of that with a move to a club where he will play more football.

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough (6/1 Bet365). I like Middlesbrough. I’ve backed them already at 10/1 (my only ante-post bet so far this season) and I think they will go very, very close. They have an excellent manager, where very unlucky last year and can all the way this term.

The loss of Patrick Bamford is a blow, but the signing of Stewart Downing will be an excellent one and if they can capture Jordan Rhodes that is the final piece of the jigsaw for me.

League One Winner

Bradford (16/1 each-way Bet365). I want to take on the front three. I think Sheffield United, Millwall and Wigan are all too short and with wholesale changes made by all three clubs they will take time to gel.

At 16/1 I like Bradford. Phil Parkinson is a great manager and surely would have gone up automatically if it wasn’t for decent cup runs in the last couple of seasons. They’ve kept all the side that nearly got them to the play-offs last season and remember this is a team that won 4-2 at Stamford Bridge last year and at 16/1 each-way they are too big.

League Two Winner

Luton (13/2 Bet365). Portsmouth have made some excellent recruits this summer, not least Paul Cook as their new manager. But Pompey are too short to consider and Luton are an outstanding alternative at 13/2.

John Still knows the Football League inside out and the Hatters showed what a force they can be when they’re not riddled with injuries. Having had a year’s experience back at League Two level under their belts, a raft of impressive new faces joining including hot-shot Craig Mackail-Smith, they’ll take some stopping.

Your Best Bet

Stoke to finish in the Top-10 (11/10 Bet365). Stoke are a top half Premier League side now and are always been undervalued by the layers I make them 4/6 in that market.

Steve Freeth (@SteveFreeth), Head of Bet365 Media

Premier League Winner

Chelsea (6/4 Bet365). Jose Mourinho on your side makes all the difference and whilst he hasn’t been busy this summer I still expect Chelsea to conquer all.

Premier League Relegation

Leicester (11/4 Bet365), Aston Villa (11/4 Bet365), Bournemouth (6/5 Bet365). Staying on the managers theme, it’s thumbs down for Claudio Ranieri and Tim Sherwood and some may see that Eddie Howe isn’t the genius that most people think he is.

Premier League Top Goalscorer

Christian Benteke (16/1 Bet365). Diego Costa and Serio Aguero could go lame at any time, Harry Kane looks a lay and whilst there’s been money for Wayne Rooney, I fancy Christian Benteke, if he gets the service, to prosper.

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough (6/1 Bet365). Derby have the squad, do they have the manager? I’d like to see Jordan Rhodes at Middlesbrough but they still get my tentative vote from Brentford.

League One Winner

Sheffield United (9/2 Bet365). A number of manager negatives means I can’t get away from Sheffield United but lower down the chain Scunthorpe could surprise.

League Two Winner

Cambridge (14/1 Bet365). We’ve seen plenty for Luton and Cambridge opposing Portsmouth – I’m not writing Pompey off this season under Paul Cook but Richard Money seems to have assembled a very competitive squad with the U’s.

Your Best Bet

Chesterfield to finish in the bottom half (10/11).

Nick Goff (@NickGoff79), Head Football Trader at Coral

Premier League Winner

Manchester City (11/4 Bet365). At the prices, Man City. It’ll take less than people seem to think for them to turn the tables with Chelsea.

Premier League Relegation

Swansea (10/1), West Ham (7/1), West Brom (5/1). I think there’s value in Swansea, West Ham and West Brom. Any one of those going would ensure a profit. Two would be superb.

Premier League Top Scorer

Wayne Rooney (12/1) Playing up front again and on penalties in an improved team, Wayne Rooney is a solid each-way bet.

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough (6/1). If they avoid the playoff final defeat hangover and get off to a good start, Middlesbrough will take all the beating.

League One Winner

Sheffield United (9/2). If Sheffield Utd don’t do it this year, in as weak a section as it’s been for years, when will they?

League Two Winner

Luton (13/2). Luton have been well backed all summer but may still be the value against Portsmouth.

Your Best Bet

Chesterfield to be relegated (7/1). Chesterfield look well overpriced for relegation. A turbulent summer and a new manager for whom relegating teams seems to come naturally.

Matt Vale (@MattDVale), Football League expert and WLB contributor

Premier League Winner

Chelsea (6/4 Bet365).

Premier League Relegation

Leicester (11/4 Bet365), Watford (8/11), Norwich (11/10).

Premier League Top Scorer

Sergio Aguero (3/1 Bet365)

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough (6/1 Bet365).

League One Winner

Sheffield United (9/2 Bet365).

League Two Winner

Portsmouth (4/1 Bet365).

Your Best Bet

Morecambe to finish above Newport (10/11).

Gavin Horsfall (@GHorsfall), Football League expert and WLB contributor

Premier League Winner

Chelsea (6/4 Bet365).

Premier League Relegation

Leicester (11/4 Bet365).

Premier League Top Scorer

Daniel Sturridge (25/1 Bet365).

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough (6/1 Bet365).

League One Winner

Wigan (13/2 Bet365).

League Two Winner

Portsmouth (4/1 Bet365).

Your Best Bet

Morecambe to be in the top-seven on 1 September 2015 (3/1). Jim Bentley’s side always fast out of the traps.

Mark Stinchcombe (@MarkStinchombe), football trader

Premier League Winner

Manchester City (11/4 Bet365). At over a unit bigger than Chelsea, 2013/14 Champions City have to be the bet. They’ve brought in £49m Raheem Sterling, whereas Chelsea signed the misfiring Radamel Falcao.

Premier League Relegation

Norwich (11/10 Bet365), Sunderland (2/1 Bet365), Leicester (11/4 Bet365). I like the chances of Bournemouth and particularly Watford of staying up whilst Aston Villa will be fine under Tim Sherwood.

So Norwich (same squad as went down and inexperienced manager), Sunderland (won just seven games last season) and Leicester (nearly went down, uninspiring Claudio Ranieri and loss of Esteban Cambiasso enough this time).

Premier League Top Scorer

Emmanuel Adebyaor (100/1 each-way). Sherwood got 13 goals in 18 games out of Christian Benteke and 14 in 28 for Emmanuel Aderbayor at Spurs. If Adebayor moves to Villa, the 100/1 each-way is a knocking bet.

Championship Winner

Brentford (12/1 Bet365). I expected Brentford to be shorter after the acquisitions of Philipp Hoffmann and Lasse Vibe, 14/1 each-way looks good value.

League One Winner

Gillingham (25/1 Bet365) Play-off form second half of the season, Justin Edinburgh has made some good signings over the summer and Gillingham could go close.

League Two Winner

Accrington (150/1 Bet365) Portsmouth and Oxford are far too short but I like the 150/1 each-way value on Accrington. Finished fifth under John Coleman in 2011, Terry Gornell and Sean McConville are back at club, Billy Kee’s signed and last season’s top scorer Piero Mingoia has signed a new contract.

Your Best Bet

Barcelona to reign supreme again and win all six trophies (16/1).

Jim Knight (@JimKnight88), Chief Betting Editor at Goal

Premier League Winner

Chelsea (6/4 Bet365). I can’t see past Chelsea defending their title.

I’m not sure Manchester City will be consistent enough in Manuel Pellegrini’s final season to challenge, same goes for a hit and miss Arsenal side while Manchester United are still missing that top class striker and I don’t trust their defence enough to side with them.

Premier League Relegation

Norwich (11/10 Bet365), Sunderland (2/1 Bet365), Leicester (11/4 Bet365).

Premier League Top Scorer

David Silva (80/1 each-way Bet365) Operating more centrally with the arrival of Raheem Sterling, Silva could benefit from a relatively quiet summer where he’s had no major international commitments. At 29 he is in his prime and could be a lively each-way contender.

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough (6/1 Bet365). Close but no cigar last season, Aitor Karanka has made some superb acquisitions and although the Championship is a graveyard for favourite backers, Boro look a solid bet to get back to the top flight.

League One Winner

Bradford (16/1 Bet365). They’ve shown they’re capable of huge performances in the cup competitions in recent years. Hopefully Phil Parkinson is able to guide his experienced and well-balanced side to a concerted push for promotion in what looks a pretty weak League One.

League Two Winner

Cambridge United (14/1 Bet365). A big summer in the transfer market for the U’s should mean they’re competing at the top end of the division. Portsmouth are a silly short price for another season and I think Richard Money’s squad could provide a return for punters.

Your Best Bet

Crystal Palace to finish in the top-10 (7/4 Bet365). Or without the big-six at 12/1 (Bet365) if you’re feeling brave. Palace landed a real coup in Yohan Cabaye this summer and I’m confident that given a full season in South London, Alan Pardew can make real strides forward.

Beating the big sides has been a regular feature of the last couple of years for the Eagles and if they can grind out a few more results then a top half finish is achievable. Having done a lot of their best work on the road last term, if they can make Selhurst Park the force it was in the 2013/14 campaign, they could surprise plenty of teams.

Will Dyer (@W2Dyer), WLB contributor

Premier League Winner

Arsenal (7/2 Bet365). Petr Cech’s a big signing, he’s a winner, along with Francois Coquelin in that defensive midfield role they should be better away from home than in recent years. Furthermore, I think Arsenal will add at least 10 points to last year’s tally if they get a full season out of Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott; which could get them the trophy.

Premier League Relegation

Sunderland (2/1 Bet365). Unfortunately they are incredibly boring to watch, they drew a lot of games last season and only need to lose a few of those and have same bad luck to fall away. Any side that loses 12-0l on aggregate to a mid-table team like Southampton is going to struggle.

Premier League Top Scorer

Memphis Depay (25/1 Bet365). Plenty of Eredivise stars in the past have lit up the Premier League; Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and most recently Luis Suarez. Memphis may well find himself playing striker at times during games as I feel Wayne Rooney’s midfield role last year will have had a lasting effect on him.

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough (6/1 Bet365). Stewart Downing returns to his hometown and the club where he made his name and he should be the best player in the league this year. Boro have the best back four by some margin and with Christian Stuani up front as a more natural striker thanPatrick  Bamford last season I think they’ll be even stronger.

League One Winner

Bradford City (16/1 Bet365). Phil Parkinson has the profile of a League One winning manager. He’s into his fourth year in charge of the Bantams which is way longer than most of the Football League’s appointments and he’s taken Bradford to the League Cup final and won them promotion from League Two but most importantly he’s taken a side up from League One to the Championship before; Colchester in 2005/06.

League Two Winner

Luton Town (13/2 Bet365). Paddy McCourt, Mark O’Brien, Danny Green, Josh McQuoid, Scott Cuthbert and Markus Okounghae are all great signings to a team that was already pretty good just needed to score that extra goal in some games. Kenilworth Road is a fortress for them and barring any big collapses like the back end of last season they should be right there.

Your Best Bet

Manchester United to go unbeaten at home in the 2015/16 Premier League at 10/1. Louis van Gaal has got his head round the Premier League now and with United bringing in a raft of new talent and their incredible record against top-six rivals in the Premier League era I feel this wager is a bit overpriced.

Gabriel Sutton (@_Footballab), Editor of the The Football Lab

Premier League Winner

Chelsea (6/4 Bet365). Jose Mourinho will not allow for any complacency, and Eden Hazard will step up another level. Chelsea’s gritty defensive qualities set them apart from the chasing pack.

Premier League Relegation

Watford (8/11 Bet365), Sunderland (2/1 Bet365), Stoke (14/1 Bet365). Watford have not replaced the dynamism of Adlene Guedioura in midfield, they have a very poor defence, and there is a lack of transparency at the club at boardroom level.

Dick Advocaat’s strict approach at Sunderland worked when he first took over, with the club in desperate need of points, but it will not work over a whole campaign. The Black Cats have not yet signed a striker despite scoring just 31 goals last season.

Stoke have never been in relegation trouble before, but they have never had to lose key players before. Getting rid of midfield enforcer Steven N’Zonzi will be a very costly mistake.

Premier League Top Scorer

Olivier Giroud (25/1 Bet365). He has his injury problems, but so do Costa and Aguero, and the Frenchman is likely to start when fit. He averaged more than a goal in 2 games last season.

Championship Winner

Wolverhampton Wanderers (14/1 Bet365).. They picked up 30 points from their final 15 games last season, and have 2 of the division’s best strikers in Nouha Dicko and Benik Afobe. After a summer of stability, this energetic, young Wolves team is ready to step up another level.

League One Winner

Millwall (11/1 Bet365). They improved in the Championship as soon as Neil Harris took over, and he will get the backing of the fans. There is a lot of exciting, young talent in this Millwall team and the Lions will come roaring back.

League Two Winner

Luton Town (13/2 Bet365). They have drastically improved the quality of their squad this summer. With Paddy McCourt and Cameron McGeehan in the side, they will get goals from midfield.

Your Best Bet

Portsmouth not to finish in the top-seven (2/1). Portsmouth have too many luxury players, which will create tactical complications and therefore a lack of consistency in selection. Being a big club at this level means nothing – just ask Bristol Rovers and Tranmere fans.

Edward Matthews, Bet 365

Premier League Winner

Chelsea (6/4). The Blues haven’t really strengthened this summer but I can’t see Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph being the difference makers for closest rivals Man City (11/4). Keeping Sergio Aguero fit and firing all season is the one chance they have to overthrow the holders. Arsenal will be closer this term, but not enough to bring them their first crown for 12 years.

Premier League Relegation

Watford (8/11) and Sunderland (2/1) are my two main picks, along with West Ham (7/1) as more of an outside bet.

Premier League Top Scorer

If Aguero (3/1) remains uninjured – he can light up the Premier League week in and week out for Man City, so he’s my top outright pick despite the short price.

Championship Winner

Middlesbrough look good value at 6/1 considering their very positive 2014/15 campaign which saw them narrowly miss out on promotion. New signing Stewart Downing will add to their experience and he should make up for the loss of Patrick Bamford.

League One Winner

Sheffield United (9/2). I expect the Blades to go that bit further in 2015/16 and push to regain their Championship status next season.

League Two Winner

I’m backing Luton at 13/2. They put some great performances together throughout 2014/15 but fell short in the four way battle for those promotional spots in the latter stages of the campaign, but this experience will put them in good stead this time round.

Your Best Bet

I do think there is great each way value in Christian Benteke for Premier League Top Scorer at 16/1, with bet365 paying up to four places. Providing he stays fit, he’s a proven goalscorer and assuming Liverpool’s creative players can supply the Belgian with what he needs, he can score over 20+ goals this season which should put him within contention.

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