At long last, real football is back.
The interminable, intolerable friendly competitions are done and dusted, and it’s time for the serious business to get going again.
We’ve had a look around and picked out five outright selections that offer the best value when combined as an accumulator, and as it turns out, we’ve come up with something decent.
With Bayern and PSG both priced at 1/7 to win their domestic leagues, we’ve had a glance at other competitions in order to make it worth our while.
First up is the Europa League. AC Milan and Arsenal seem the obvious picks, with both sides having strengthened over the off-season. Milan are a growing power under new chairman Li Hongyong, and will be a threat on all fronts in 2017/18. They will almost certainly be in the shake-up in this tournament.
However, we’ve chosen Arsenal at 15/2 here, as we believe they have the class and the experience to follow in Man Utd’s footsteps and keep Europe’s second-tier trophy in England.
Moreover, choosing the Gunners will also allow us to use the rossoneri in a later leg of the bet…
Sticking with continental competition, it’s onto the main attraction now. Barca, Real Madrid and Bayern are the favourites to win the Champions League this year, but we’re looking beyond those three for a little more value.
That value doesn’t lie in the English sides, who may well be occupied with business closer to home, but rather with Qatar’s France’s Paris Saint-Germain.
The acquisition of Neymar from Barca has weakened the Spanish side considerably, but also marks PSG out for the first time as a genuine contender for glory in Europe’s premier competition.
In Spain, it looks to be a two-horse race, and in light of the aforementioned mega-transfer, the better value would seem to be found with Real at Evens.
The Premier League is the hardest race to call out of all the major European leagues, with four or five teams in realistic contention for the title. The big London sides are in with a decent shot, as are Liverpool, but it seems as if the division is set to be a struggle between the blue and red halves of Manchester.
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have reinforced their teams significantly, and are both proven winners. In truth, it’s something of a toss-up between City and United, but we fancy the Citizens at 15/8.
Finally, we head over to Serie A for our last selection. Juve are heavy favourites at 8/11, but won’t be as strong as in previous years, most notably as a consequence of losing their defensive mainstay Leonardo Bonucci to Milan. Who, at 5/1, seem ludicrously overpriced given the amount of talent and buying power they now possess.
With a £5 stake, those five selections pay out a none-too-shabby £16,128.75.
Which translates to about fourteen minutes’ worth of work for Neymar, but could set you up for a decent summer holiday in 2018.