Ahead of the start of the new Premier League season, the pressure is on for a number of clubs at the top of the hierarchy to enjoy a successful season.
The financial outlay by clubs, coupled with the economic rewards for success, mean the margin for failure is ever decreasing, with a top four finish the bare minimum expected for a number of sides. Manchester City may have finished third last season, but they have been installed as the favourites for the title and as such they are also the shortest priced side to finish in a Champions League berth.
Marathonbet price Pep Guardiola's side at 9/50 (1.18) to finish in the top four, while they can be backed at 9/2 (5.50) to finish outside. City have so far spent the most amount of money in the summer transfer window and while that will not guarantee them the title, they look nailed on to secure Champions League football at the very least.
Defending champions Chelsea are priced at 7/25 (1.28), although the west Londoners secured the title last season without having the rigours of European competition, something they will have to balance in the coming campaign.
Next in the betting come Manchester United who are offered at 1/3 (1.33) despite ending last season in sixth position. Jose Mourinho has also spent a lot of money this summer and if United are to improve on their showing in the previous campaign they will surely need to be more prolific in the final third; last season seven teams netted more goals than the two time European champions.
The Reds have finished outside the top four in three of the last four seasons and are offered at 53/25 (3.12) to do so once more. For the first time in a long time, Spurs are clear favourites over rivals Arsenal to finish in the top four with Mauricio Pochettino's men priced at 4/6 (1.66) and the Gunners offered at 19/20 (1.95).
Backing Arsene Wenger's side to finish in the top four was one of the most consistent bets in English fooball, with last season's fifth-placed finish the first time the selection had failed to pay out in 20 years.
The side that pipped Arsenal to fourth place last term are Liverpool and the Merseysiders are priced at 5/6 (1.83) to secure a Champions League place next season and at a tempting looking 91/100 (1.91) to miss out. Jurgen Klopp's squad does not look much stronger than last season, and with most teams strengthening intelligently, Liverpool could struggle to repeat a top four finish.
With such a competitive top six it leaves little room for outside bets in this market, although Everton have bought well this summer and are priced at 19/2 (10.50) to secure their first top four finish since 2005.