Suning can put Chinese rivals in the shade
There have been some eye-catching signings in the build-up to the Chinese Super League season but continuity could pay off for Jiangsu Suning, last season's runners-up, who look set to make a bold challenge for first place.
The spending power of Chinese clubs was the talk of the January transfer window and some big deals were done despite restrictions being imposed. There is a limit of five foreign players (one of them Asian) per squad and a limit of three foreign players in each starting line-up.
Carlos Tevez became the highest-paid player in the world after his move from Boca Juniors to Shanghai Shenhua and will be expected to make the difference for his new employers, who finished 16 points behind champions Guangzhou Evergrande last term.
Shanghai Shenhua get a 13-2 quote while Guangzhou Evergrande are just 5-4 to retain the title they have won six seasons in a row.
Guangzhou Evergrande - managed by former Brazil head coach Phil Scolari - have largely kept faith with the players who brought them success last term.
Brazilian striker Ricardo Goulart topped the division's scoring charts with 19 goals and compatriot and teammate Alan weighed in with 14 goals.
They were the main reason Guangzhou won the league but it will probably be harder to pile up the points this time because the depth of the league is improving.
Shanghai SIPG - 7-1 fourth favourites - will expect to challenge after paying Chelsea a reported £51 million for midfielder Oscar but their challenge may depend more on the performances of striker Hulk, who has the potential to contest top-scorer honours.
Having more than one regular source of goals is crucial and this is where Jiangsu Suning may have the edge on their rivals.
Brazilian winger Alex Teixeira bagged 11 goals for them last season, one more than Colombian teammate Roger Martinez, who netted ten goals in 12 appearances.
Martinez made a huge impact after joining halfway through the season and, if he maintains such an impressive scoring rate, Jiangsu will take some stopping.
1pt 7-1 188Bet