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Soccer Betting Preview – United favored to repeat as English champions

Posted by Todd Shale on 4/25/2012 11:33:50 AM

England Soccer odds – Manchester United (+125), Chelsea (+175), Arsenal (+600), Liverpool (+800)

  • United and Chelsea to battle for the crown
  • Arsenal look to close gap
  • Liverpool hopes new strike pair can mesh quickly

Manchester United edged out Chelsea to reclaim the English Premiership title, but the Blues have made moves to push the Red Devils to the end of the season. Meanwhile, Arsenal and Liverpool will try to fend off the rest of the league in an attempt to make the Champions League. The online betting odds reflect the gap between the “Big Four” and the rest of the league.

United are favored at +175 internet sportsbook odds, and they managed to hold onto Cristiano Ronaldo, who was being wooed by Spanish giants Real Madrid. Ronaldo, the reigning Player of the Year, scored 42 goals in all competitions last season while leading United to the league and Champions League trophies. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain that form, even though he had his heart set on a move to Madrid. Also, United have to worry about Wayne Rooney, who could miss the start of the season because of a virus picked up in Nigeria during a preseason tour with the club.

Chelsea has a new manager in Luis Felipe Scolari, who has won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, while taking Portugal to the finals of Euro 2004. Scolari then brought in Deco from Barcelona, and he brings in creativity in the midfield. Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard are still with the club despite a summer of transfer rumors, but they still have captain John Terry and goalkeeper Petr Cech, which means the Chelsea defense will be stout once again. With English soccer betting odds of +175, the Blues will certainly make it interesting this year.

Arsenal are rated at +600, but they may find it difficult to challenge the top two with their young squad that overachieved last season. Cesc Fabregas had a phenomenal Euro 2008 tournament, and has quickly blossomed into one of the best midfielders in the world. Emmanuel Adebayor's 30 goals made him a wanted man by Italy's AC Milan, but he stayed with the Gunners, and should form a deadly strike pair with Robin van Persie, who needs to remain healthy.

Liverpool, listed at +800, has arguably the best young striker in the world in Fernando Torres, who scored the winning goal for Spain in the Euro 2008 final. Torres now has a new partner in Robbie Keane, who moved from Tottenham. This is a relief for captain Steven Gerrard, who was often pushed forward to support Torres. Gerrard will still get forward, but he will still be able to track back to help the defense.

Todd's Analysis: United still has a great squad, but the Ronaldo saga caused some distraction at the club, and Sir Alex Ferguson will have his hands full trying to keep the young star focused, although if anyone can do it, it's Fergie. However, Chelsea has Deco, and are close to snatching Robinho from Real Madrid, and Scolari likes to play attractive football, which will suit the club's owners and fans just fine. Take Chelsea to grab the title this season in a hard-fought battle that will go to the end.

Are you a fan of “The Beautiful Game”? Then you should try Todd Shale's “Beautiful picks”. Though he enjoys a good rugby match, Todd is happiest when he can handicap a great soccer match - or football match, as he prefers to call it. Thoughts or questions?

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