How to Bet: English Premier League
The EPL stands for the English Premier League, and it is the top soccer league in England. It is either referred to as the EPL or the Premier League, and it is one of the top soccer leagues in the world. The EPL season runs from August until May, and there are 20 clubs in the league.
Some of the world's top soccer teams are in the EPL, such as Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool. The EPL is the most-watched sports league in the world.
When it comes to betting on EPL games, bettors have a lot of options. Considering the league is seen as one of the best soccer leagues in the world, all sportsbooks will have odds posted for every single game.
Not only will they have game odds but many betting markets for each game such as totals, handicaps, and proposition bets. There are many sportsbooks online today that will also offer special bonuses and promotions for the EPL throughout the season.
Rules & Gameplay
Soccer is the most popular sport on the planet and pits 11 players per team against each other and a ball that is 68–70 cm (27–28 in) circumference. The main goal is to score more goals than the opponent by getting the ball in the opponent's net.
The game is played on a rectangular field with two even sides, with each one having a goal box and a goal. Typically goals are scored by kicking or heading the ball into the opponent’s goal, but other parts of the body, besides the hands and arms, can redirect the ball into the net.
The 11 players on the field, for each team, are made up of defenders, midfielders, forwards, and one goalie. The goalie is the only player that is allowed to touch the ball with their hands, and they can only do so in the designated area of the goal box, which is 20 yards by six yards deep.
The players on the field try to control the ball and keep it away from the opponent to push it forward and attempt to score.
The players move the ball by either dribbling it with their feet or passing it to their teammates. The opposing team tries to get control of the ball by intercepting a pass, stealing from a dribbling player, or legally tacking a player by touching the ball first. If a player physically gets in the way of another without touching the ball first, they are whistled for a foul.
In an EPL game, the play only stops when the ball goes out of bounds, if a goal is scored, or if there is a foul. When play stops in an EPL game, there are eight ways to put the ball in play. These are:
- Kick-off – The ball is placed at the center of the field to start the game, start the second half, or after a goal.
- Throw-in – If a ball goes out of bounds, the team that opposes the one that touched the ball last gets to throw it in. They throw the ball in from the point where the ball went out of bounds.
- Goal Kick – When the ball passes the backline last touched by the attacking team, the other team gets to kick the ball off from their goal line.
- Corner Kick – If a ball has gone out of bounds last touched by the defending team on their side of the field. The opposing team then gets a free-kick from the corner of their offensive end.
- Indirect Free Kick – If a player commits a foul that is not excessive, the opposing team gets a free-kick at the spot of the foul. A player cannot score on an indirect kick straight away as a player from their team, or the other team has to touch it before going into the net.
- Direct Free Kick – In a player commits an excessive foul, the opposing team is given a direct free kick at the spot of the foul. In a direct free kick, the player kicking the ball can score without having the ball touch another player.
- Penalty Kick – If a player commits a foul in their goal box. If this happens, the opponent is awarded a penalty kick where they are one on one with the goalie, and other players cannot move until the ball is kicked.
- Drop Ball – If there is no foul and the referee stops the play, the ref will drop the ball between two opposing players who try to gain control.
There is one main referee on the playing field following the ball. They are the ones that dole out the fouls and have the discretion if the foul is a minor one or major one being more excessive.
If it is very excessive, the referee can give out a yellow card to the player, which is a warning. If that same player gets another yellow card in the game, they are sent off and cannot come back.
A foul that is deemed very excessive and can cause physical injury to a player is given a red card, and they are automatically thrown out of the game. Red cards can also be given if a player uses their hands on purpose to keep the ball from going in their net.
When a player is sent off for two yellow cards or one red card, a substitute cannot come in for them, so that team is playing with a man down.
During an EPL game, a manager can substitute players taking off ones on the field and replacing them with a player on the bench. When a player is substituted, they cannot return to the game.
There is also a foul called offsides, and the team that did not commit the foul is awarded an indirect kick to restart play. If a player is closer to the opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent (no the goalie), this foul is called.
An EPL match lasts 90 minutes with two 45 minute halves. In an EPL match, the game clock never stops. However, if there is play stoppage, such as for a penalty or player substitution, the referee adds time to the end of the first half or second half.
For example, after the first half, if the referee sees there has been four minutes of stoppage time, that will be added to the 45 minutes after that has concluded.
How The Teams Work
As mentioned before in an EPL match, the players try to control the ball and move it forward to the opponents’ goal to try to score. The positions on the field and their primary jobs are:
- Forwards – The players that play mainly on their opponents’ half of the field and are the main goal scorers.
- Midfielders – The players that control the ball in the middle of the field and also play defense. Midfielders can go all over the field, and there are attacking midfielders and more defensive ones. They are instigators trying to get the ball to the forwards to score.
- Defenders – Players that mainly are on their side of the field to keep the opposing team from scoring. However, just like midfielders, they can move up and score.
- Goalie – The player in the goal box that defends and is the last line of the defense.
On the defensive side of the field, the goalie is also kind of a coach when it comes to telling players where to be when there is a free kick or corner kick.
Strategy and Tactics
There are many strategies used by teams in EPL games. A specific strategy is to use a team's strength and bring out the opposing team's weakness. For example, if a team is an attacking one, their approach will be to push forward more and try to score rather than playing back and playing defense.
There are also strategies and tactics used in EPL games, depending on how the game is going. For example, if a team is strong defensively but gets down 2-0 early, they will have to change their tactics to be a more attacking team to get back in the match.
History of the EPL
While the history of soccer dates back centuries, the EPL was only established in 1992. While English soccer has had leagues for over 100 years in the Football League, which was founded back in 1888.
The first division, top league, in England until the EPL was the Football League First Division. That top league had problems in later part of the 1980s with subpar stadiums, and the league was struggling to keep up with other top leagues in Europe of Italy Serie A and La Liga in Spain.
There was also a big blow in the 1985 Hillsborough disaster where 39 fans were killed in a stampede during a Liverpool vs. Juventus match, and England was banned from European competition for five years.
In 1990, the managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the top clubs in the Football League First Division to discuss a possible new league. More money would come to the teams in the league who would have commercial independence from The Football Association and the Football League.
They could get their own sponsorship deals and television deals. In 1992 all of the clubs in Football League First Division left, and the FA Premier League (EPL) was born.
The first EPL match was in the 1992-1993 season, and in the beginning, there were 22 clubs in the EPL compared to 20. The league was a success right off the bat, and one of the main reasons was the huge television deal in place with the BBC and BSkyB. For the next two decades, the EPL emerged as one of the world's top leagues that has continued to this day.
In the EPL, 20 clubs play two matches against every other club at home and away. Teams are awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw, and none for a loss. At the end of the season, the three EPL clubs with the fewest points are relegated to the EPL Championship League, the second biggest league in England.
The top two clubs from the Championship League are promoted to the EPL with a third team decided by playoff matches between the third, fourth, and fifth place teams.
Wall of Fame
While there have been many legendary English soccer players, the EPL was only established in 1992, so the Wall of Fame is not as big as other sports and soccer leagues that have been around a long time. Still, some of the best soccer players in the last three decades have graced the pitch for EPL games.
It is hard to pinpoint the best soccer player that has ever played in the EPL, but many players are legends or soon to be legends. Some of the top players who have played in the EPL over the years include Thierry Henry, Christiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Eric Cantona, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, and Ryan Giggs.
One of the most distinctive elements of the EPL is the popularity of the league in England and Europe. Some of the most prestigious clubs in the world are in the EPL. The brand of soccer is top-notch, and some of the best players in the world are in the top league from England.
The brand names of some of the top clubs in the EPL are distinctive, as it is hard not to talk about the best soccer in the world without mentioning the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool. EPL fixtures and results are heavily scrutinized, but EPL transfer news and the EPL table are always prominent in the press, especially in England and Europe.
One of the distinctive elements about the EPL and English soccer, in general, has been hooliganism. Hooligans were prevalent in English soccer for many decades, but while still present at EPL games, the violence has diminished in the last ten or so years. Now, while hooligans still exist in the EPL in supporting their club, the violence has been curbed.
While there are many essential EPL statistics, soccer is a sport that does not focus on stats like the other sports of baseball and basketball. The top stats in soccer are the wins and losses, goals scored, goals against, and goal differential. Player stats are crucial as well, but not like in other sports.
Soccer bettors can also look over the stats, especially the team ones, when looking to handicap MLS games. Anytime you handicap EPL games, you have a better chance to win a bet on one. Stats are important for EPL games for those looking to bet on them.
Popularity and Cultural Impact
The popularity of the EPL and for EPL games could not be more prominent as of 2020. The EPL has risen to be one of the top soccer leagues in the world, and there is a reason that it is the most-watched league in the world as well. EPL games are the biggest games in the soccer world on a weekly basis, but the stars in the league are some of the biggest sports stars in the world.
Just look at David Beckham, who has transcended the game of soccer, and while a global icon, he was once one of the best players in the EPL.
Major stars in the EPL are big pitchmen, especially in England and Europe, and they and teams do work in the community and back worthy causes. The England Premier League has the popularity of one of the most significant soccer leagues in the world, but there are many more aspects to it other than just the game on the pitch.
The EPL is massive in England and Europe and also very popular in the United States. This can be seen by NBC now broadcasting live EPL matches during the season.