Shrewd transfer activity and seasons of consistency has done Everton no favours with the bookies, who have them priced as outsiders to finish highest in a three-way tussle with Tottenham and city foes Liverpool.
Roberto Martinez’s men are 11/2 shouts to savour the best league campaign of the trio, with the Reds 11/25 and Spurs available at 3s, but the short-sightedness of the odds gurus has carved a windfall opportunity for the smart punters.
Here’s why every man and his canine companion must be on the Blues in this market:
Everton have made major signings without disrupting last season’s framework.
The permanent acquisitions of Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry are huge, while hanging on to assets such as Seamus Coleman will prove equally important.
Tottenham are stuck with largely the same squad as last term after some ill-advised forays into the transfer market squandered all of their spends, a disaster-riddled methodology that Liverpool are inexplicably striving to replicate ahead of the coming campaign.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are in a worse position than they were at this stage last season, while Everton’s situation has unquestionably improved, giving them a great chance of bridging the 12-point gap between the two from 2013/14.
The Toffees have got the better of their red neighbours in two of the previous three instalments.
A third straight top-six finish is the least Martinez can hope for from the top-tier tilt ahead.
Spurs’ improvements haven’t been significant enough to suggest they’ll better their sixth-place finish of last season, while Liverpool’s devolution points to a reversion of fortunes in the Merseyside power struggle.
European distractions must be factored in.
It’s difficult to predict how a Europa League soiree will affect Everton given that they haven’t participated in the continental consolation competition since 2009/10, but Martinez’s cup heroics in recent campaigns suggests they’ll manage.
The Lilywhites, however, were frequently sidetracked by their European excursions last term, losing six league matches after being called into action of a Thursday night, while Liverpool’s Southampton-flavoured squad will surely struggle as they attempt to juggle the Champions League with domestic football.