Leicester City 3.00, the draw 3.35, Everton 2.35
First games of any new season are always fiendishly hard to predict but newly promoted Leicester at home to Everton looks to be the hardest fixture of the weekend. The Foxes won the Championship by a distance last campaign and with the hosts’ advantage they should be a real test for Roberto Martinez’s side who, at one point, had control over the final Champions League slot.
Toffees fans will be relieved to have signed Romelu Lukaku on a permanent basis and as the Belgian usually starts a new season in a positive fashion, I’m backing the striker to have the final say in a tight contest.
Best Bet: Romelu Lukaku to score anytime 2.55
Score Prediction: Leicester City 1-2 Everton 10.00
Queens Park Rangers 2.40, the draw 3.20, Hull City 3.00
QPR are another newly promoted side with home advantage in another tough fixture against a Hull team who impressed in the knockout competitions before finishing just four points ahead of the relegation zone.
Harry Redknapp’s men will expect to have Loic Remy fit and ready to play, but Hull have lost their main striker Shane Long to Southampton for around £12m. QPR should win it but it may not be the most entertaining game of the afternoon.
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals 1.60
Score Prediction: Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Hull City 7.00
Stoke City 1.95, the draw 3.30, Aston Villa 4.10
After a difficult campaign in 2012-13, the Britannia Stadium was a fortress once again last season as Stoke’s impressive home form kept them comfortably away from the drop zone. I expect that to continue in the following months and I can’t see struggling Villa coming away with a positive result on Saturday.
While a number of Premier League sides were linked with Bojan Krkic, Mark Hughes made the move and the Spaniard could prove to be the bargain of the summer. Krkic has looked strong in pre-season and I feel he will turn the game in the home side’s favour.
Best Bet: Bojan Krkic to score anytime 3.70
Score Prediction: Stoke City 1-0 Aston Villa 6.40
West Brom 2.15, the draw 3.30, Sunderland 3.40
Two sides who struggled at the wrong end of the table meet in what could be the earliest relegation six pointer of the season. To be fair to Sunderland, the team rallied late on under Gus Poyet and if they are less occupied in the domestic cups than they were in 2013-14 then they should survive quite comfortably.
It looks like being a difficult season for West Brom however and many of their fans remain underwhelmed by the appointment of Alan Irvine. More importantly, the squad doesn’t look any better equipped to prosper than it did last time out but for now, a draw looks the best option in this fixture.
Best Bet: Both teams to score 1.95
Score Prediction: West Brom 2-2 Sunderland 15.00
West Ham 3.60, the draw 3.40, Tottenham Hotspur 2.05
Many West Ham fans viewed last season’s treble over Spurs as their greatest achievement and wins in the league and Capital One Cup partly masked a poor overall campaign. However, the most interesting purchase on either side is that of Enner Valencia and if the Ecuadorian can maintain the form shown in 2014 for his country and for former club side Pachuca then it should be a more productive campaign for the Hammers.
Tottenham are notoriously slow starters and while I’m expecting a better season under Mauricio Pochettino, it’s one that should start with a subdued draw at Upton Park.
Best Bet: Enner Valencia to score anytime 3.10
Score Prediction: West Ham 1-1 Spurs 6.75