On 14 June, the Premier League released their fixtures for the 2017/18 season, with fans around the world looking for derby dates and particularly difficult patches in the schedule. But, first of all, each of the 20 teams will need to get their season going with a win in their opening weekend fixture.
With some great match-ups set for the first week of Premier League action, some prime, money-winning possibilities have presented themselves for bettors. Sure, Chelsea and Manchester United get decent draws against Burnley and West Ham United at home, respectively, but other games will be much closer affairs.
Everton vs Stoke City
This is a huge game for Everton, who want to progress from last season and give the top six a run for their money. Manager Ronald Koeman has entered into the transfer market bright and early, already in talks with the likes of Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, and Sandro Ramirez, so the team looks to be getting stronger.
However, with each passing day, it looks more and more likely that star striker Romelu Lukaku and English midfield talent Ross Barkley will be on their way out of Everton for a big-money transfer. The players they’ve been linked to above certainly suggest that the team is preparing for two of their star men to depart this summer. Regardless, Everton will undoubtedly come into the season with a very strong team.
On the other hand, Stoke City look to be in a tricky predicament. The club has been forced to publicly back manager Mark Hughes due to the growing frustration among Stoke City fans. They may have acquired Darren Fletcher as a free agent, but other than that, they’re linked more to departures than arrivals.
As it stands, Everton are 4/6 in the latest odds on bet365 to win at Goodison Park on the opening day. Now, those odds may fluctuate depending on departures and arrivals at the club, but either way, Everton will very likely be notching up a win against Stoke.
West Bromwich Albion vs AFC Bournemouth
West Bromwich Albion did not experience a good end to the 2016/17 season. In fact, once they had effectively secured safety with 40 points, the engines cooled, and they basically just played out the rest of the season. This is likely weighing on their odds-off chances of beating Bournemouth at home on the opening day.
With Tony Pulis at the helm, West Brom have become a defensive powerhouse, being able to pull out points from games that they really shouldn’t be. Next season, the Baggies will look to start strong to earn themselves a place in the league in 2018/19 as soon as they can.
Bournemouth secured themselves as a Premier League team last season, but unfortunately, their performances have attracted the attentions of other clubs, with transfer bids looking set to be aimed at their star players. The Cherries did manage to bring in Asmir Begovic as their new goalie, but they still look like underdogs to win against West Brom at the Hawthorns.
There’s a long summer of transfers ahead, but West Bromwich Albion and Everton look like great bets to win their first games of the season, and at longer odds than expected.