Premier League Free Bets & Betting Offers
Since it began life in the 1992/93 season, the Premier League has grown into the richest, most popular football division in the world. Its matches are enjoyed in more than 200 countries and are watched by an estimated 4.7 billion people (that might be a rather generous estimate but you get the idea!). There is little doubt that the top division in English football offers great entertainment and it has attracted almost all the best players and managers over the years.
The best Premier League teams have competed (and often beaten) the best sides from the rest of Europe and indeed the world. The Premier League offers excitement aplenty whether you are a fan of one of the biggest, most successful sides in the land or you follow a club that is perpetually battling against relegation. Indeed, millions of people watch the Premier League even though the team they support could only dream of making it to the top flight.
With clubs that have effectively become global brands, such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, the Premier League is as popular as ever. And, of course, there are numerous ways to bet on the action if you so desire.
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Betting on the Premier League
Football is the sport that brings in the most revenue to bookmakers in the UK (even more than horse racing). It should come as no surprise, therefore, that bookies offer numerous betting markets to people who want to place wagers on the sport’s most followed league, the Premier League.
Here we’ll run through the most popular betting markets for those seeking to bet on England’s top flight, focusing on the outright markets (as opposed to those available for individual games).
Premier League Winner
This is certainly one of the most popular betting markets as winning the league is what all the teams are trying to do (and all the fans dream their team will achieve!). Betting on a side to win the Premier League is a straightforward wager that is simply backing a specific team to win the title.
Bookies usually begin taking bets on the next season’s Premier League champions as soon as the current season ends (or occasionally earlier if the title has already been decided). The market remains open until the Premier League title race is over. This might be before the season itself is finished, for instance, when a side has such a points lead that no other club can catch them.
With some bookies, this is a win-only market, although most offer it each way for the earlier stages of the campaign. That is to say you can’t always back a team each way. But bookies do usually give the option to back a team in to finish in the top 2, the top 6 and – a popular bet in its own right – to finish in the top 4. These markets remain open for the entire season, or until settled.
Betting on a side to finish in the top 4 in the Premier League tends to be more popular than betting on them to finish in the top 2 or top 6. This is because finishing in the top four places in the Premier League holds a particular significance: it qualifies a side to play in the Champions League. Given the “race for the top four” is widely covered by broadcasters and the wider media, this particular betting market has also gained prominence.
As with the Premier League winner market, this market is generally available for the next season as soon as the current season ends. At the start of the season, odds are available for every team in the division. The odds for each team to finish in the top four will vary according to how they perform in the Premier League as the season progresses.
Then bookies will stop taking bets on sides when it becomes mathematically impossible for them to finish in the top four, or indeed if they cannot finish outside of the top four (in which case the bookies may pay out on bets on that team).
Backing the top scorer in the Premier League is very popular because it often allows your bet to have a chance of winning until late in the season or even until the final day. Unless one player has scored shedloads more than the player you’ve backed, there is always a chance that your player could go on a fantastic scoring run in the final matches of the season.
As with many other markets, bookies will tend to open the next season’s Top Goalscorer market after the current season ends. The odds on players to finish as the top scorer fluctuate over the course of the season based on how they perform, whether they suffer injuries and so on.
To give an indication of this, at the time of writing (26 games into the 2022/23 season), Man City’s Erling Haaland has scored a whopping total of 27 goals. His nearest rival to finish as top scorer is Tottenham’s Harry Kane who has 18 goals to his name. The bookies are currently pricing Haaland at odds of just 1/25 (or shorter in some places) to be the top scorer, while Kane is available at odds as long as 25/1. Of course, there is a chance Haaland will get injured and miss the final 12 games of the campaign and Kane scores a goal a game for the rest of the season and wins the Golden Boot. But we won’t be betting on it!
Note that if two or more players finish on the same number of goals (as has happened five times in the Premier League up to the end of the 2021/22 season), dead heat rules apply. This means that if you back one of the players that jointly scored the most goals, the amount the bookie pays out will be reduced. Dead heat rules are an industry standard and essentially your stake is divided by the number of people involved in the tie. In 2018/19, three players all scored 22 goals and so only a third of your total stake would have been settled as a winning bet.
Backing a team to get relegated is very popular, possibly as a way for fans to soften the blow if their side goes down to the Championship! As with most outright markets, this will stay live until the bottom three has been decided. Bookies will stop taking bets on teams when they have amassed enough point to ensure their survival in the top flight.
Other Premier League Betting Markets
There are lots of other outright betting markets available for the Premier League. Many are variations of those mentioned above while some are rather more unique. Here is a selection of some of the more popular markets available.
- Team v Team – Bookies offer the chance to bet on one specific team finishing higher in the Premier League than another specific team (e.g. Spurs to finish higher than Arsenal).
- To Finish Bottom – A variation on the relegation market, you back a side you think will finish at the very foot of the table.
- Next Manager to Leave Post – Also known as the Sack Race, you’re betting on which Premier League manager will be the next to part company with their club.
- “Without” Bets – There are various “without” bets available in different markets in which there is a strong favourite, thus reducing the odds of the other contenders but giving a better chance of winning as the favourite is eliminated from the market. For instance, you might find a Top Goalscorer Without Haaland market, or – if a side has a massive lead at the top of the table – Premier League Winner Without Arsenal.
Premier League Key Facts
People in general, and football fans in particular, love a good stat. Here we have some of the key facts, stats and snippets of information about the Premier League:
- First Premier League – The inaugural Premier League season was 1992/93 and – like many since – it was won by Manchester United.
- When – The Premier League season usually starts in mid-late August and runs until early May.
- How Many Teams – There are 20 teams in the Premier League, which has been the case since the 1995/96 season, before which there were 22 teams.
- How Many Games – Each team plays each of the other 19 teams home and away and hence they each play 38 games.
- Most Successful Team – Manchester United (as of the end of the 2021/22 season) have won the most Premier League titles with 13. Man City are next in line with six titles and Chelsea are third with five.
- Player with Most Premier League Goals (overall) – Alan Shearer wins with 260 goals in 441 Premier League games. Harry Kane is third on 201 and will hope to eclipse Shearer in the years ahead.
- Player with Most Goals in One Season – Andy Cole (for Newcastle United in 1993/94) and Alan Shearer (for Blackburn Rovers in 1994/95) each scored 34 goals in a 42-game season; Mohamed Salah (for Liverpool in 2017/18) scored 32 goals in a 38-game campaign. This is a record we expect Erling Haaland to break in 2022/23.
- Player with Most Premier League Appearances – 653, Gareth Barry (May 1998 to February 2018).
- Goalkeeper with Most Clean Sheets – Petr Cech, 202 clean sheets in 443 games (2004/05 to 2018/19).
- Player with Most Red Cards – 8 (Richard Dunne, Duncan Ferguson and Patrick Vieira).
- Youngest Player to Play – Ethan Nwaneri who was aged 15 years and 181 days when he played for Arsenal against Brentford on 18th September 2022.
- Oldest Player to Play – John Burridge who was aged 43 years and 162 days when he played for Manchester City against Queens Park Rangers on 14th May 1995.
- Highest Points Total – 100, Manchester City in the 2017/18 season.
- Lowest Points Total – 11, Derby County in the 2007/08 season.
- Highest Points Total of Relegated Side – 49, Crystal Palace in 1992/93 (42-game season); 42, West Ham United in 2002/03 (38-game season).
- Lowest Points Total of Champions – 75, Manchester United in 1996/97.
Structure of the Premier League
As mentioned earlier, there are 20 teams in the Premier League and each plays every other team twice, home and away. This means each team plays 38 matches and there are 380 games in total. A team earns three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points if they lose a match.
The team that finishes the season with the most points is declared the champion. The three teams who have earned the least points (and thus end the season in 18th, 19th and 20th positions) will be relegated and will therefore play the following season in the Championship.
Teams who finish in the top four positions gain entry to the following season’s Champions League. The team that finishes fifth in the Premier League qualifies for the Europa League (as does the winner of the FA Cup). Depending on which teams win the FA Cup and the EFL Cup, teams that finish sixth and seventh may well qualify for the Europa Conference League.
How to Get into the Premier League
As with most football divisions, the only way for a team to get into the Premier League is by way of promotion from the division below, which is the EFL Championship. At present, the sides that finish first and second in the Championship gain automatic promotion to the Premier League for the following season. The sides that finish third to sixth go into the play-offs in which the third-placed side plays the sixth-placed side and the fourth-placed side plays the fifth-placed side. The winners of those two-legged ties go through to the play-off final.
Usually played at Wembley, the play-off final is dubbed “the richest game in football” as the winning side gains promotion to the Premier League and thus enjoys the humungous financial benefits of feasting at football’s top table. Even a nice little sweetener if they go straight back down, thanks to the somewhat controversial system of “parachute payments”.
Was There Football Before the Premier League?
Despite what Sky Sports might have people believe at times, football didn’t start with the Premier League. The sport of football in various forms had been played for centuries, but the professional game began with the formation of the Football League in 1888. Preston North End won the first two titles, with Everton and Sunderland following them as champions of England. From 1892 onwards, there were enough teams to form more than one division, and from that time until the emergence of the Premier League, the First Division was England’s top flight.
The final season of the First Division was therefore the 1991/92 season, which saw Leeds United crowned as champions. Once the Premier League muscled its way onto the scene, England’s second-tier division became known as the Football League First Division. In 2004, it was changed to the Football League Championship and then (in 2016) to the EFL Championship.
How Can You Watch Premier League Football Matches?
The most obvious and old-school way of watching Premier League football games is to physically attend a match. This can be easier said than done, however, as many matches are oversubscribed and getting hold of tickets can be a challenge to say the least, especially with some of the bigger (more successful) clubs. The price of tickets can be prohibitively expensive for many people too. But if you are keen to attend a game, the best option is to visit the website of the club in question.
The easier approach is, of course, to watch Premier League matches on TV. The broadcasting deals change every few years, and which companies broadcast games will vary from country to country. At the time of writing, there are three authorised broadcasters of live Premier League matches in the UK: Sky Sports, BT Sport and Amazon Prime Video. The BBC also currently has rights to broadcast highlights, while BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT are permitted to broadcast certain games live (non-visually) over the radio (though this also covers audio streaming too).
Selling broadcast rights to the Premier League is a great money-spinner for the league itself and indeed the football clubs. It earns the Premier League around €2.2 billion a year! There are a total of 200 live games broadcast each season, with those games split into various packages. Don’t be surprised to see that number grow, with some clubs keen to see all games televised, as tends to happen with the major sports leagues and teams in the US.
Non-English Sides in English Top Flight
Although the Premier League is the top tier of English football, members of the Football Association of Wales are eligible to participate if they gain promotion from the Championship. This has happened with two Welsh sides, Swansea City and Cardiff City.