We’re into the final quarter of the season now, and fast approaching the home straight and given that we’ve not hauled ourselves not only bang into the Play Off picture but we’re well in the automatic promotion race now so what’s the coming two months got in store for us?
Nobody can predict the future (unless you believe in crystal balls and palm reading of course) but in sport today there is nobody better to look at for advice than the bookmakers who have people employed to try and ensure that they make money on the outcome of sporting events and to do that they need to tempt people in to backing the losers i.e. offer big prices on them and offer short prices on the ones they think will win.
Looking at the prices from 5 of the major bookmaking players we get average odds on the top 8 sides approximately as follows (in current league table order): –
West Brom – 5/2
Derby County – 4/1
Birmingham – 9/4
Sunderland – 7/2
Southampton – 10/1
Cardiff – 14/1
Preston – 22/1
Wolves – 33/1
So despite the fact that there is only 4 points between all of the top eight sides, the bookmakers have clearly nailed their colours to the mast and stated that the winner will come from the current top 4 sides with us being the 3rd favourites so it looks like it’s the Play Offs for us then according to them.
Of course there are various unknowns that have been factored into those prices at present with namely Birmingham having 2 games in hand to play meaning that their price shows them as favourites as winning those two games would put them in pole position with a minimum of 4 points between them and 3rd with a further 3 potential points ahead of us.
The price of West Brom is also shorter than the price available for ourselves on the basis that we are visiting The Hawthorns on Saturday and the bookmakers’ price up West Brom as the side most likely to leave with 3 points from the game and so stretch their lead.
As everyone knows its going to be tough this weekend, but if we can maintain our recent unbeaten run then we will have left ourselves in a superb position for the automatic promotion places and you are likely to see the bookmakers’ make adjustments to their odds to reflect that. When you consider that 6 of the top 7 are facing each this weekend other (and the other are facing 10th placed Colchester) then in all honesty its not going to be the end of our chances should we lose this Saturday as only a few sides can have made up points on us.
We’ve got ourselves one hell of a Championship Challenge this season though and with talk of a £50m kitty being up for grabs for the three promoted sides then it makes for real exciting football.
Premiership is the most exciting league in the world they say…. The bookmakers’ clearly don’t think so: –
Man Utd – 2/9
Chelsea – 4/1
Liverpool – 200/1
Arsenal – 600/1
Where’s the excitement in a one horse race?