The bell has rung on Christian Benteke’s £32.5m switch from Aston Villa to Liverpool, with the black and yellow boys and girls at bwin.com laying on a range of special bets ahead of the Belgium centre-forward’s first season at Anfield.
You can have 3/5 about Benteke bagging over 16.5 Premier League goals during 2015/16, which seems a touch on the short side considering the 24-year-old managed as much just once in three terms with Villa.
The one big problem with the Zaire-born striker, and the reason many believed no club would match his meaty release clause, is his shoddy fitness record; Benteke started just 82 of Villa’s 114 top-flight fixtures during his time in the Midlands.
That works out at just over 27 starts per term, with bwin’s under/over mark for next season fixed at 27.5.
With increased competition for places at Anfield, Benteke failing to make Brendan Rodgers’ XI at least 28 times seems the sensible course of betting action, also at 3/5.
Despite his past injury woes, the former Genk trainee must be worth a nibble at 4/5 to ripple the onion bag more frequently than new teammate Daniel Sturridge in the Premier League next term, with England’s increasingly-forgotten striker 11/10 to win this match bet and 11/1 the draw.
Sturridge hasn’t kicked a ball in anger (in public at least) since being substituted late on during Liverpool’s 1-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat of Blackburn in April, and made only 19 appearances of any stripe for club and country last term, scoring just five goals.
The former Manchester City and Chelsea forward is obviously a striking force when he gets going, as evidenced by his stunning haul of 21 goals in 29 Premier League matches two terms ago, but the 25-year-old still missed 18 of Liverpool’s all-competition fixtures during that campaign due to ankle problems.
Significantly for this bet, Sturridge is expected to be out of action until mid-October after hip surgery, leaving Benteke ample time to steal a march on his new colleague.
All that being said, an even better wager may be found in over/under Benteke assists for the coming top-flight term, with the line set at 3.5 and 17/20 odds either side available with bwin.com.
He only managed to surpass this tally in his first season at Villa, laying on four in 2012/13, two in 2013/14 and the same again last season, but it wasn’t for the want of trying.
Squawka.com records Benteke creating 133 chances for profligate Villans teammates during his time there.
If he can do the same with the likes of Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, Danny Ings, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson around to finish off, Benteke might clear this mark by Christmas.