The English Premier League is the top professional soccer league in England and is widely considered the best club league in the world. Premier League is vastly profitable, both in England and for media companies around the world. The Premier League also provides plenty of opportunities for soccer betting throughout the season and even in the off-season.
Premier League routinely contains some of the biggest names and players in the world of soccer. Along with that comes some of the biggest and most expensive managers in club soccer. The stadiums are treated as soccer cathedrals as well and have been home to some of the biggest games and biggest competitions in the world of soccer.
Thanks to its success and high UEFA coefficient, the Premier league annually supplies four teams to the Champions League, with at least two if not three others slated for the other European club competitions.
History of the Premier League
While the Football League was founded in 1888 and England had a First Division league, the Premier League as we know it dates back to February 20, 1992. The change was made in a breakaway to secure domestic television rights and prevent the top clubs from breaking away to form their own league. The first Premier League secured a five-year television broadcast deal with BSkyB for £304 million, and the BBC aired the highlights package.
The very first Premier League season kicked off in August 1992, and the league consisted of 22 teams: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Chelsea, Coventry City, Crystal Palace, Everton, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest, Oldham Athletic, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, and Wimbledon. The league stayed at 22 teams until the 1995-96 season when it dropped down to 20 teams.
The very first Premier League title was won by Manchester United in 1992-93, and they repeated it in 1993-94. United won seven of the first nine Premier League titles, with the only exceptions coming in 1994-95 (Blackburn Rovers) and 1997-98 (Arsenal).
With Manchester United having success domestically, they also had success on the continent. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men rallied to win the 1999 Champions League in added time over Bayern Munich. That win gave United the first-ever Treble (FA Cup, Champions League, Premier League) and marked the first Premier League team to win the Champions League. An English team hadn’t won since Liverpool in 1984 before all English teams were banned from European competition due to hooliganism.
Entering the 2000s, the Premier League saw four clubs, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool, separate themselves from the rest. During the first decade of the 21st century, the “Top Four” claimed 36 of the 40 Champions League spots and won all 10 titles. United took five of those titles, with Chelsea winning three and Arsenal two.
The 2003-04 Arsenal team picked up the nickname “The Invincibles” as they became the first club to go through a Premier League season without a single loss. They finished the season with 26 wins, 12 draws, and 90 points, eventually playing 49 straight games without a loss. Their streak ended with a 2-0 loss at Manchester United in the 10th game of the 2004-05 season.
Starting in 2005 there was a Premier League team in seven of the next eight Champions League finals. The league went 3-5 in those finals, highlighted by an All-Premier League final in Moscow in 2008 as Manchester United defeated Chelsea on penalty kicks. Chelsea (2012) and Liverpool (2005) won titles in that span as well. Arsenal (2000), Liverpool (2001), Middlesbrough (2006), and Fulham (2010) also represented the league in UEFA Cup/Europa League finals in the decade.
By 2010, Tottenham and Manchester City emerged to expand the “Top Four” into a “Big Six.” The two Manchester sides won two titles each to start the decade, alternating as United won in 2010-11 and 2012-13 while City won in 2011-12 and 2013-14. In 2012, City secured their first league title since 1968 with a last-minute goal against Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the season, leaving United in second place on goal differential.
The Premier League got its biggest shock in the 2015-16 season. Leicester City, who had finished 14th the season before, stunned the league and the sporting world by winning their first Championship in 132 years and breaking the Big Six stranglehold on the title. The Foxes began the season with 5000/1 odds to win the title, and they did so with two games to spare.
Chelsea went from first to 10th to first between 2014-15 and 2016-17, winning titles on either side of Leicester City. Manchester City returned to the top in 2017-18 as new manager Pep Guardiola added Premier League titles to his La Liga and Bundesliga triumphs.
COVID-19 interrupted the 2019-20 season, which ended a few months later and with no fans in the stands. At the end of an arduous campaign, Liverpool sat atop the league for the first time, securing their first top-flight title since 1990. The 2019-20 season was also the first to use video assistant referees, following in the steps of other big European leagues, FIFA competitions, and the Champions League.
With fans back in the stands, Manchester City returned to the top of the standings in 2020-21, ahead of Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea. Their triumph meant that seven clubs had combined to win the first 30 Premier League titles, led by Manchester United with 13.
Premier League Records
The Premier League record book isn’t nearly as old as some of the other leagues in Europe as it started in 1992 and separates itself from the English Football League records.
The 2017-18 Manchester City team set the record for most points in a season with 100 and also with most away points in a season at 50. Four teams have secured 55 points at home in a season, while the Derby County team from 2007-08 holds the record for least points in a season at 11.
The same 2017-18 Manchester City team set the Premier League record with 106 goals scored in 38 games. They allowed 29 goals and still hold the record with a +79 goal differential. On the flip side, the 2007-08 Derby County team had a -69 goal differential and set the record for most goals allowed in a 38-game season at 89.
The 2004-05 Chelsea team holds the record for least goals allowed at 15, and they allowed just six goals at home. The 2001-02 Arsenal team was the first to score in every single game in a season, and they eventually scored in a record 55 straight games.
Individually. Alan Shearer holds the career goals record with 260 goals between 1992 and 2006, playing for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United. Wayne Rooney became the second player to top 200 goals with 208 between 2002 and 2018, playing for Everton and Manchester United. In the 2015-16 championship season for Leicester City, Jamie Vardy set a Premier League record by scoring in 11 straight matches.
Andy Cole in 1993-94 and Shearer a year later both scored 34 goals in a 42-game season. Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah holds the 38-game record with 32 goals in 2017-18, when he scored in a record 24 different matches.
Ryan Giggs racked up a career record of 162 assists for Manchester United between 1993 and 2013. Thierry Henry in 2002-03 for Arsenal assisted on 20 goals in a season, matched in 2019-20 by Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
David Beckham holds the Premier League record with 18 goals off free kicks, all for Manchester United. Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero holds the hat-trick record with 12 in his career. The single-game record for most goals is five, accomplished many times, first by Andy Cole in a 9-0 Manchester United win over Ipswich Town in 1995.
Gareth Barry played a record 653 games between 1997 and 2018 for Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton, and West Bromwich Albion. David James holds the record for most appearances by a goalkeeper with 572, playing for multiple teams.
How do the Premier League odds work?
Premier League soccer odds work in two different ways, a three-way bet and a two-way bet. In the three-way bet there is an option of a draw, but that option isn’t available in the two-way bet. All moneyline bets end after regular time plus injury time.
An example would be Arsenal +115 to beat Chelsea +190 at home with a draw in the game listed at +210. In the second option, Arsenal is -150 with Chelsea at +110, and a draw isn’t an option.
Regular Premier League best bets
There are multiple best bets for Premier League soccer odds. Options include betting on the spread/goal line, betting on total goals, betting on team goals, betting on both teams to score, or betting on specific player odds.
Betting the spread or goal line gives you an advantage and works just like a point spread in other sports. If you bet Everton +1.5 against Manchester City, then you can still win the bet even if Everton loses by one or ties the game. Most sportsbooks offer soccer odds on goal lines from +/- 0.5 up to +/- 3.5 at varying odds.
On the total goals bet, it works as an over/under in other sports. Most sportsbooks offer soccer odds with the total goals in half goals. For example, if you wager $100 on under 1.5 goals in the Liverpool/Tottenham game at +120, you would win $120 if the game ended 1-0 or 0-0.
Each team has a total team goals option in soccer betting. In that same Liverpool/Tottenham game, you can bet on Liverpool over 2.5 goals or Tottenham under 0.5 goals, with odds different for each bet.
Player odds are another option in soccer betting, and there are a few options. You can bet on a player to score a goal or a player to pick up a card. Options could include Mo Salah to score first at +250 or to score an anytime goal at +120, or Harry Maguire to pick up a yellow card at +300.
Premier League Futures bets explained
Premier League futures markets are a big business both in the offseason and even during the season. Even though the “Big Six” have dominated lately, more and more teams are getting wealthy foreign owners that make them contenders and change the betting market.
At the beginning of the season, bettors can find odds on who will win the Premier League Championship, who will finish top four to make the Champions League, which three teams will be relegated, and who will lead the league in scoring. These odds will change with results during the season, and value can be found when a team starts slow but still has the talent to make a later season run.
Looking at results from the end of the previous season can tell which teams finished strong or struggled down the stretch. Also, take a look at what teams changed managers and which teams brought in new players for the upcoming season.
Premier League Betting tips
The Premier League is a very popular league for soccer betting as it is most readily available worldwide. The teams and players tend to be the most familiar to bettors as well, even those new to soccer betting. Good research is key; learning about the league, the teams, the managers, the style, and even how the weather impacts English soccer with colder weather in the winter months than in other leagues.
How to bet on Premier League?
Premier League betting, like any other sports betting, requires discipline and patience. Shopping around for the best odds from various sportsbooks is key. Some books will have profit boosts or specials on a weekly or daily basis.
In addition to regular bets, you can also make parlay bets on Premier League games at most books. Putting favorites together to both win in the same week can improve the odds and the return. But that also brings more risk as you need to win multiple games to win a bet.
Premier League Frequently Asked Questions
A typical Premier League season starts in early August and runs into late May. This schedule can fluctuate during World Cup years and even in years with the European Championships.
The 20 teams each play the other 19 teams home and away for a total of 38 games. A win is worth three points and a draw is worth one.
The top four teams in the standings qualify for the next season’s Champions League. The three teams following will also qualify for one of the other European club competitions.
The bottom three teams each year get relegated to the Championship. While three teams join the Premier League each season, up from the Championship.
England has many rivalries, some regionally, some based on competition. Among the big rivalries over the years are Liverpool/Manchester United, the North London Derby between Tottenham and Arsenal, the Manchester Derby between United and City, and the Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and England. The other London teams also have rivalries with each other, especially Chelsea and Arsenal. Manchester United and Leeds United have a long-time rivalry, while Manchester City and Liverpool have a newer rivalry in the 2010s/2020s due to both teams’ successes.
As with most European leagues, the Premier League has a transfer market in the summer and the winter. There are two transfer markets for Premier League teams, one in the summer and one in the winter. The bigger transfers tend to happen over the summer, while winter transfers in January tend to be loans or deals for players with expiring contracts.
Among the famous stadiums in the Premier League are Old Trafford, home to Manchester United, Liverpool’s Anfield, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, Leeds United’s Elland Road, Everton’s Goodison Park, and Newcastle United’s St. James Park. There have been new stadiums built in the 21st century, such as Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, West Ham United’s Olympic Stadium, and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.