Commodore's EPL Picks

It's been three long months. Were it not for the World Cup I don't know if I'd have made it through this winter of discontent. Feeding on the scraps of the odd overhyped friendly sponsored by some technology company from the Far East and the junk food thrown out by the transfer rumour mill, I fear I'm in desperate need of nourishment. Fear not though, for here it is - in all it’s glory. Bare those teeth and sink them deep in. Go ahead, gorge yourselves. For this is the Premier League, where gluttony is encouraged and there's more than enough to go around. Here we live large, we punt hard, and we prosper. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, then you could always try horse racing. Of course to the initiated few, there's nothing quite like a Premier League season, especially when there's money flying about. Well let us not stand on ceremony, it's time to get our hands dirty.

Man United 3/10 draw 4/1 Swansea 83/10
Manchester United versus Swansea. It may be a repeat of both team's opening fixtures from last season but these are two very different sides. Two new managers, plenty fresh faces and United are at home this time around. Of course the big difference is David Moyes is somewhere crying into his Scotch rather than seated in the dugout at Old Trafford. The Red Devils have done good business and in Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw they've got two good acquisitions. Swansea, well they'll be safe, but not much more. Moyes managed a 4-1 win against the Swans, I don't see why Van Gaal would manage anything less. Back United on the 'cap at 17/20.

Leicester 19/10 draw 9/4 Everton 27/20
Leicester are back in the Premier League. A lot has changed since Muzzy Izzet and Paul Dickov turned out for the Foxes, but they should be up to the challenge after topping the Championship last season. They kick things off against Everton, who look pretty much like the same side as last season. They've splashed the cash and signed Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry. I can assure you that only one arrived to fanfare. Either way, Roberto Martinez will have his work cut out for him if he is to repeat last season's heroics. However, The Toffees should start with a win. Back'em at a decent 27/20.

QPR 14/10 draw 22/10 Hull City 18/10
Harry Redknapp took QPR down, and now he's brought them back up. So he's levelled out the ledger, but can he keep them up? The signing of Rio Ferdinand doesn't inspire much hope, especially when paired with the lead-footed Steven Caulker. Any sort of pace will trouble this lot. They've got Hull first up, who have made some decent signings in Robert Snodgrass, Jake Livermore and Thomas Ince. All will add to Steve Bruce's already useful side. Hull were pretty poor on the road last season, while QPR had a good home record, albeit in the Championship. I'm leaning toward a home win, but the safer option is perhaps QPR on the Draw No Bet at 7/10.

Stoke 19/20 draw 23/10 Aston Villa 28/10
Next up we have two perennial mid-table finishers - Aston Villa and Stoke. Based on last season's showings though, Villa are on the slide and Stoke on the up. Mark Hughes, against all the odds, has put together a decent enough team that plays some pretty attractive football, even in the Potteries on a wet Wednesday night. Villa meanwhile have tried buying young, then buying old and have settled with whatever they can get their hands on. That their owner is trying to flog them like a used car salesman doesn't help matters. Villa are one of my bets for the drop, making Stoke at 19/20 a pretty solid opening day bet.

West Brom 11/10 draw 23/10 Sunderland 9/4
Gus Poyet worked wonders at Sunderland last season, taking them to the Carling Cup final and keeping them in the Premier League. He'll struggle to repeat those heroics this year. Fabio Borini, a star of that campaign, simply refuses to sign for them. Jack Rodwell is their marque signing, a injury prone, overpriced flop. He's both achieved so much and so little for someone at 23 years of age. West Brom away presents them with a tough start. The Baggies' signing of fellow Everton and Man City outcast Joleon Lescott seems to be a shrewd move. They're still woefully short up front though, so I'm doing the sensible thing and going with under 2.5 goals at 7/10.

West Ham 24/10 draw 23/10 Tottenham 21/20
Spurs will be good this season. They've gotten themselves a good manager, and they'll start to see the best of last season's signings. West Ham, well they'll be West Ham, despite the new badge. Visiting sides will be hit with a barrage of crosses and elbows, in no particular order. Andy Carroll will miss most of the season, Kevin Nolan will continue to flap wildly every time he scores a goal and they will beat Spurs, at least once, if not twice. So let me not waste any more time than I have to here. Back The Hammers at a rather generous 24/10.

Arsenal 1/4 draw 43/10 Crystal Palace 95/10
Arsenal are another team that tend to follow a formula. Burst out of the blocks, stumble somewhere around Christmas, get eliminated from every competition in the space of a week in March, flirt with the threat of no Champions League football, finish fourth. Repeat. Wenger has opted to splash the cash again this summer, with Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy the chosen targets. Sanchez looks a great signing, but Debuchy was a liability at Newcastle, and I don't expect that to change higher up the league table. They'll get past Crystal Palace on the opening day, courtesy of a second half blitz. Back the second half to produce the most goals at 21/20. 

Liverpool 7/20 draw 38/10 Southampton 7/1
In probably the most intriguing fixture on the opening day, Liverpool clash with Southampton at Anfield. One side a carcass of their once successful selves, the other are scavengers that picked them apart. The Reds have lost their best player and in his place they've signed a host of mid-range players with potential. Potential is all well and good, but it doesn't win you games or leagues in the here and now - just ask Arsenal. The Saints will struggle this term. Their spine has been ripped out and their brain replaced with that of Ronald Koeman, a decent manager, but he's no Pochettino. Back the Reds to fill their boots on opening day, Liverpool by 3 or more at 5/2. 

Newcastle 38/10 draw 28/10 Man City 13/20
In another repeat of last season's opening fixtures, Newcastle play host to the champions at St James Park. City were well below their best in the Community Shield, but this is the league, their bread and butter. The Magpies have been busy making up for last summer's failings, using the Daily Sun as their scouting network to sign a host of European journeymen. They still don't have a striker capable of lifting them above a mid-table finish. I'm expecting them to catch a bit of a hiding on opening day from a City side still smarting from their loss to Arsenal.

Burnley 64/10 draw 7/2 Chelsea 4/10
Monday Night Football returns with a match that looks a formality on paper at least. Chelsea were able to sell two players this summer for upwards of £75 million and still look a stronger team. Spanish World Cup flops Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas have been viewed as the final pieces of Mourinho's puzzle although I'm not so sure. As for Burnley, it'll take nothing short of a miracle to keep them up. They'll cause some trouble at home though, starting with a draw against Mourinho's Blues on opening day at a hefty 7/2.

Now for the uninitiated few, there are quite a few new markets available with Hollywood. My personal favourites include the Draw No Bet, Winning Margin and Total Goals (Aggregated). Before I leave you to do your own exploration, it's time to make some rash predictions. Man Utd will be much better this season, but they won't win the league. They will win a trophy though, my money is on the FA Cup. Daniel Sturridge will finish top goalscorer, but Liverpool won't win the league. That honour will go to Man City once again, as I just don't think Diego Costa is all he's made out to be. Time will tell how delirious I am, but until then, enjoy the footy. I know I sure will.

Yours Truly, 

Written by Commodore Vegas
Follow him on Twitter here!

Commodore’s Weekend Picks
Man United HANDICAP (-1) 17/20
Everton WIN 27/20
Stoke WIN 19/20
West Brom UNDER 2.5 GOALS 7/10
West Ham WIN 24/10
Liverpool WIN BY 3 OR MORE
Man City WIN 13/20
Chelsea DRAW 7/2