World Cups capture the imagination of the public like few other events. Even the most casual football observer can be swept up in the excitement of a national team when the tournament only comes around once every four years.
Brief Introduction to the English Premier League
Football is the world's largest and most popular sport, growing yearly with more and more spectators and fans alike. Countries all over the world have elite leagues featuring the top teams in the nation, with world class players competing at the peak of their physical performance. The best of the best all over the world is arguably to be found in England.
The UK Premier League, formed in 1992, is the top-level football league for English professional teams and is widely considered around the globe to be one of the most prestigious football leagues of all. The confederation behind the league is the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
Sponsorship and Teams
Formerly sponsored by Barclays but now without any title sponsorship in accordance with the FA’s wish for a “clean” brand for the competition more in line with those of major U.S. sports leagues, the Premier League has been known by various other terms down the years. Many fans refer to it simply as the ‘EFL’ (English Premier League).
In common with the English football league system as a whole, the Premier League features teams from both England and Wales, the latter including Swansea City as of the 2016-17 season.
The EFL features 20 clubs that each play 38 matches yearly from August through to May. The Premier League schedule involves each team playing every opponent twice, once at their home stadium and once on the road. Games are usually on Saturdays and Sundays, normally to sold-out crowds, and some games are also played on weeknights.
Standings and Scoring
Scoring is as follows: three points for a win, one point for a draw and no points for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points accumulated during the season. Any ties are broken by goal difference and then by total goals scored.
The bottom three teams each season are dropped to English football’s second-tier league competition, the English Football League Championship, and replaced by that league’s top three finishers.
Top Teams and Titles
For many years in the 2000s, the battle for the highest places in the league was generally contested by the “Big Four” clubs: Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. These clubs have become household names throughout the world, with fan bases extending far beyond England.
However, the usual football betting odds have been upset more than a few times in recent years, including by occasional UEFA Champions League entrants Tottenham Hotspur, shock 2015-16 champions Leicester City and Manchester City. The latter won the 2011-12 title to become the first club outside the “Big Four” to become Premier League champions since the success of Blackburn Rovers in 1994-95.
Indeed, part of the draw of the Premier League is the opportunity that the smaller outlying teams often have to compete against the juggernauts, which helps to connect fans all over the country.
Manchester United have won the most Premier League titles with 13, most recently in the 2012-13 season. Chelsea are second in the all-time list, with four titles, followed by Arsenal, with three.
Premier League games are watched around the world by legions of fans who follow their teams religiously. The television and merchandising rights are predictably massive, being worth millions every year.
Asia and Europe are the two largest Premier League fan bases in the world, and it is not uncommon to find many fans sporting jerseys of their favourite players or driving cars with team flags affixed to their windows.
Broadcasting rights for live Premier League games are presently shared by Sky Sports and BT Sport, while the BBC shows weekly highlights on its Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2 programmes on Saturdays and Sundays.
Every season the Golden Boot award is given to the player who scores the most goals that year. Player of the Season, Manager of the Season and Golden Glove are other top awards offered each
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs holds the record for Premier League appearances, with 632, while he also has more Premier League winner’s medals than any other player, with 13.
Alan Shearer holds the record for most Premier League goals scored, with 260, followed by Wayne Rooney, Andrew Cole and Frank Lampard. Other fan favourites down the years have included Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Owen, Gareth Bale and Sergio Agüero.
Find the Best Football Betting Sites
As Leicester City’s success last season has taught us, this league can be a surprising one – which means potentially big rewards who correctly bet on the Premier League winner.
With the Foxes’ triumph defying 5,000-1 odds for the title before the 2015-16 season started, it’s fair to say that even the longest Premier League betting odds can be tempting.
How are the current championship winner odds looking? Will this season’s victor be one of the ‘usual suspects’, or could we see some more major shocks at the top of the table? Remember that football betting predictions can be made for both individual games and the league in general, with such markets as top league goal scorer and teams to be relegated also available.