With just seven games left of the 2016-17 Premiership season, there is still all to play for at both ends of the table. Tottenham Hotspur’s sensational winning streak has just about kept them in touching distance of leaders Chelsea, and it could go down to the wire at this rate. The battle to reach the top four is still alive and kicking, with Arsenal and Man Utd trying to usurp Man City and Liverpool. And there is real intrigue at the bottom, where Hull and Swansea are heading towards a straight fight to beat the drop. Here we look at some of the smartest predictions for the remainder of the Premier League season:
Chelsea are seven points clear of Spurs with 21 points left to fight for, so it should be a second title in three seasons for Eden Hazard and co. They are worthy leaders and should go on to clinch it: Bookmaker has Premier League odds that you can review and you will see that Antonio Conte’s men are favourites to win almost all of their remaining games. At odds of 1/12, however, there is not much value in backing them, so you might fancy a speculative flutter on Spurs at 10/1 to pip them, but that seems foolhardy.
Arsenal suffered a damaging 3-0 defeat against Crystal Palace last time out and now look set to miss out on a top four spot for the first time under Arsene Wenger. They are now 7/1 to finish in the Champions League places, while Man City are 1/8 and Liverpool are 2/7. It seems like Liverpool are the one that could still be hauled back, and the 9/2 on Man Utd doing so looks an interesting bet. They have drawn far too many games, but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in the side and firing on all cylinders they can do it. They are six points behind, but have two games in hand, and Liverpool should be looking nervously over their shoulders due to their defensive form.
Sunderland and Middlesbrough look dead and buried, and the battle to avoid relegation looks like coming down to Swansea and Hull. Crystal Palace could still get sucked into it, but they are in decent form and should steer clear of it. Swansea and Hull have the league’s worst defensive records, but have not found goals too difficult to come by. Swansea have changed their manager twice this season, and the second it seemed to work as Paul Clement dragged them up the table, but they have taken just one point from their last five games and gone back into the drop zone. In that period Hull have won three times and leapfrogged the Swans into 17th. They now have a two-point advantage going into the final six matches, and they have the momentum. Hull have a decent run-in too, with games against Stoke, Watford, Southampton, Sunderland, Palace and Spurs. Swansea also have to play Stoke, Watford and Sunderland, but face tough games against Man Utd, Everton and West Brom. It should be close, but Swansea look in trouble and the 10/11 on them to go down looks a good bet.
Who to Back
For individual match betting between now and the rest of the season, it is advisable to back teams that are really fighting for points. Arsenal, Man Utd, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City all need points, as do Hull and Swansea. Watford, Stoke, Southampton, Burnley, Bournemouth and West Ham are all examples of teams that cannot get relegated or qualify for Europe and therefore have very little to play for, apart from pride, so it makes sense to oppose them, and back the teams that are motivated to win crucial points.