The Premier League is renowned for its fierce competition and surprise results. The wealth of top players spread across numerous clubs creates a highly competitive environment, which can make betting on the league particularly difficult.

On the face of it some outcomes can look like a sure thing, while other good bets may look off-putting but can offer punters a great return. A good example of this was the recent Chelsea home match against Southampton. Most major bookies place the visitors at 17/4 winners, which on face value – champions at home to a team outside the top 6 – seems fairly normal, however considering Chelsea’s woeful form and Southampton’s in-form Pelle and Tadic it was actually a very good bet.

Top 6 Top Tips

Crystal Palace to finish in the top 6, are you mad? Sure, this does sound overly ambitious but since Pardew has taken the helm at the London club only two teams have won more points, last season’s champions Chelsea and Manchester City. Palace are currently 9/2 to finish in the top 6, behind Everton, Spurs and Liverpool who all currently trail them in the league.

While it’s still early days in the season Pardew’s good run has extended from last season and displays the kind of consistency that make this a good bet. Stranger things have happened in the Premier League, such as a newly sacked Brendan Rodgers nearly winning the title with Liverpool.

14/1 outsiders Leicester are another interesting shout. The likes of Vardy and Mahrez have been performing well and the club have only lost once so far this season. Despite this their ability to maintain a top 6 finish is questionable when considering they finished 14th last season.

Top Scorer Markets

This year’s top scorer market is much more of a gamble than in previous seasons thanks to the erratic performances of Aguero and Diego Costa, and the total absence of Wayne Rooney. Aguero is the current favourite at 8/11; however until his exploits against Newcastle he was struggling with fitness and finding the back of the net.

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy is the current top scorer and 25/1 on to be the league’s top scorer come May, but considering the wealth of proven finishers he is up against this seems like a short term occurrence.

An interesting candidate is Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal. Ranked as a 9/1 outsider on Virgin Games, but usually Arsenal’s most consistent performer, and one of their most consistent goal threats. Last season he finished 5th highest scorer in the league, two ahead of Olivier Giroud. If Aguero and Costa were on form betting on him would be madness, but considering the strange situation at the moment and his appealing odds, he could be worth a punt.

Avoid at all costs Wayne Rooney, who has a woeful 5 goals in 9 months. For context, that’s as many as Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski has scored in 9 minutes…

Champions / Last place betting

The fight to not finish last, or as some are calling it, the Tyne-Wear derby. Unusually none of the newly promoted sides are favourites in this market; instead it’s Sunderland, Newcastle and Aston Villa. Currently this market is best avoided completely, along with overall champion due to the wealth of suitable candidates! At this rate all three clubs are likely to experience a change of manager before the end of the season and depending on their new recruits, this could dramatically change their fortunes, while it is likely at least one or two other clubs will get drawn into the turmoil.

While Man City look strongest so far, a prolonged spell on the sidelines for Sergio Aguero would leave them with just Wilfred Bony up front. With Chelsea floundering and Man Utd prone to lapses in concentration, as shown in the Arsenal or Swansea game, the race for the title is too close to call at this early stage.