English Premier League
The English Premier league (EPL) is recognized as one of the top four football leagues in Europe. Along with Spain’s Primera División, Italy’s Serie A, and Germany Bundesliga, the EPL boasts some of the most talented clubs, managers, and footballers from around the world.
Formed in 1992, the English Premier League is the top division in English professional football, and has become the most watched sporting league in the world. Twenty clubs compete in the league each season (August to May) attempting to lift the prestigious Barclays Premier League trophy. At the end of each season, the three clubs with fewest seasonal points are relegated to the Football League Championship – the second-tier of English football. Additionally, the two Championship teams with the most points are automatically promoted to the EPL, with playoffs involving teams ranked 3rd to 6th deciding the third promotion place.
Football giants Manchester United are the most successful club to date in the English Premier League. They have won the EPL a record 11 times with their most recent being their third consecutive title win in 2008-09.
Although 43 teams have competed in the English Premier League, only four clubs have taken the title: Manchester United (11), Arsenal (3), Chelsea (2), and Blackburn Rovers (1).
The lack of a salary cap in the EPL is a double-edged sword. On one hand it allows wealthy investors to bring the best players in the world to the English league, increasing club revenue and match attendances. However, the league has been criticized for its “Big Four” teams that dominate the league. Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal are amongst the richest football clubs in the world. Their supremacy each season seems to suggest why there have only been four title winners; and with more clubs being taken over by rich investors, such as Manchester City by an Abu Dhabi development group in 2008, it could cause the demise of financially smaller clubs to lower-tiered football.
The English Premier League boasts exciting betting opportunities every season for fans all over the world. Online sportsbooks offer odds on every single match during the season, with each team playing 38 games: home and away against every club in the competition. The English Premier League can be unpredictable, and often harsh on clubs that fail to perform. For example, in the 2008-09 season, having spent 16 years in the EPL, Newcastle United was relegated to the Football League Championship, despite possessing English international striker Michael Owen. In contrast, newly promoted Stoke City – who was expected to be relegated – had a fantastic first spell back in the Premier League, finishing 12th.
The altogether ups and downs of an English Premier League season make for highly exciting betting opportunities. Online sportsbooks will have the odds on every match your favourite club plays, with the new season beginning on August 15th 2009.