The most popular soccer league in the world kicks off a new season this weekend. This week's Premier League betting cheat sheet focuses on the big names switches teams and the star players who'll be sitting out this weekend.
Fixture of the Week: Chelsea v. Burnley
Chelsea (-450) begin defense of their 2016-17 English Premier League title Saturday with a home encounter with Burnley (+1,100). The Blues enter the 2017-18 campaign immersed in turmoil after losing key players Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic in the offseason - and with word that superstar Eden Hazard is keen to leave Stamford Bridge for Barcelona, Chelsea fans are as nervous as ever.
The arrivals of Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko should help mitigate the Blues' pivotal personnel losses - but if the club gets off to a slow start, manager Antonio Conte won't hesitate to shake things up. Burnley struggled to just 11 victories in 38 league matches last season, but that was still considered significant given the team's minuscule budget.
Spurred to a Title?
Having shown dramatic improvement over the past three seasons, Tottenham Hotspur (-154) look to take a final step forward as they opens their season Sunday in Newcastle (+400). Spurs fans have seen their team go from EPL also-ran to league runner-up in just two seasons, but might be a bit skittish after watching their club make no significant additions in the transfer market.
The sale of Kyle Walker for 50 million Euros was an eye-opener, but isn't expected to weaken a starting 11 that is considered one of the best and most well-rounded in the league. Newcastle return to the Premier League after finishing atop the Championship table last season, but didn't make many ripples in a quiet offseason.
Leicester City Looking for a Rebound
Leicester City's unfathomable run to the 2015-16 championship provided one of the biggest highlights in betting history - but the Foxes couldn't follow it up, dangling close to the relegation line at one point last season before rallying to a 12th-place finish.
Few people know what to expect from Leicester City in 2017-18, but the additions of young Hull import Harry Maguire and Nigerian star Kelechi Iheanacho should make manager Craig Shakespeare's life a whole lot easier.
The Foxes (+600) kick off their 2017-18 campaign Friday against an Arsenal unit (-223) that finished fifth in the EPL last season, but could be severely shorthanded. Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and Mezut Ozil are all considered doubtful to participate in the season opener.
* Manchester United were hot on the trail of Gareth Bale - but Real Madrid insists the 28-year-old winger isn't going anywhere. Bale dealt with a litany of injuries last season, but still had nine goals in 27 appearances and is considered a pivotal part of Real Madrid's quest to repeat as Champions League and La Liga champs.
* Southampton have made their first splash in the summer transfer window, luring midfielder Mario Lemina away from Italian side Juventus on a deal worth more than 18 million Euros. The 23-year-old made 42 appearances for Juventus, scoring three goals; Stoke, Watford and Leicester were also thought to be interested in signing him.
* Arsenal are expected to ignore any offer made for star forward Sanchez - and that resolve has reportedly led to French side Paris Saint-Germain dropping their pursuit of the sensational forward. PSG were reportedly interested in offering more than 80 million Euros to secure Sanchez's services, but have since backed off; Sanchez's current contract expires at the end of this season.
* Three of Arsenal's top players missed the club's Community Shield match against Chelsea, and are considered longshots to be in uniform against Leicester City. Sanchez is being eased into action with the team, while Ozil is nursing an ankle injury and Murray is recovering from a calf ailment. Also central defender and French International Laurent Koscienlny will sit out while serving a three-match suspension from last season.
* Tottenham Hotspur defender Kieran Trippier is questionable for the club's EPL opener against host Newcastle after suffering an ankle injury in his side's 2-0 victory over Juventus last weekend. Trippier was involved in a pair of collisions with Juventus defender Alex Sandro, and was seen on crutches and in a walking boot after the match.
Props of the Week
* Harry Kane was the premier goal-scorer in the EPL last season - and oddsmakers believe he'll pick up right where he left off this weekend against Newcastle. According to Bet365, Kane is installed at -138 to convert in Spurs’ season opener; he's listed at +260 to score in either the first or second half.