I could swear that the Premier League season just ended days ago, but here we are on the precipice of a brand new campaign. One that will be a lot different from others given how short the time off was between the end of last year and this one.
That short amount of time is something we can take advantage of, however. With the transfer window running into October, most teams have only just begun to change their rosters for the new season. Few have finished their overhaul. As a result, odds are teams won't look all that different in these first few weeks from how they looked at the end of last season. This gives us a better idea of what to expect when betting the early season matchups, and even if it's not a full Premier League slate this weekend, there are three plays I'm quite interested in.
So let's get the season off on the right foot, shall we? All lines are courtesy of the William Hill Sportsbook.
1. Southampton at Crystal Palace: Southampton +140
Crystal Palace could not score goals last season. Their 31 Premier League goals ranked 19th in the league, ahead of only Norwich City's 26, and Norwich is no longer around. Things weren't any better in the expected goals (xG) category as Palace's 33.9 xG were better than only Newcastle's 33.0. I'm not sure what will be any different in this match. Getting Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea is a good start, but he's not going to impact this match.
Meanwhile, Southampton was much more potent last season. Their 51 goals ranked eighth in the league, and they had an xG of 53.9, which ranked seventh. Also, unlike a lot of teams, Southampton doesn't get shy on the road. At home, the Saints had an average xG of 1.34 in 19 matches. On the road, that number rose to 1.63. I think the Saints win this one more times than not, so +140 is a terrific price.
2. Tottenham vs. Everton: Draw +255
Perhaps no Premier League team has remade its starting XI like Everton has this window. While James Rodriguez is grabbing all the headlines, I think the more important signings are getting Allan from Napoli and Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford. They're the kind of players Everton sorely lacked in the midfield last year, and they need them if they're going to play the way Carlo Ancellotti wants them to. Now, they can, and Rodriguez is just icing on the cake. Still, it should take some time for that new midfield to find solid footing, and I'm not ready to take Everton to win at Tottenham outright. This is likely to be a low-scoring, tight affair, and that makes the draw very appealing.
3. Chelsea vs. Brighton: Both Teams to Score (-120)
There's been a lot of attention on the signings Chelsea have made to bolster the attack during the transfer window and for good reason. Players like Timo Werner and Kai Havertz can be great, and adding them to Chelsea's attack makes this side even more dangerous. But Chelsea's problem last season wasn't scoring goals (the Blues ranked third in the league in both goals and xG); it was stopping the other team from scoring them. Thiago Silva is a great player and an excellent signing to bolster the back line, but he alone won't be enough, and this Brighton team is capable of finding the back of the net. Chelsea kept only nine clean sheets in 38 Premier League matches last season, and I don't think they'll get one here.