Somewhat surprisingly, despite being sixth from bottom, Hull City are tonight favourites with the online bookmakers to be relegated from the Premiership at a best price of 4/7 with Paddy Power (£50 Paddy Power Free Bet available to customers opening a new account). News of an injury to Jimmy Bullard might have some impact on these odds as he has been influential in getting Phil Brown’s men back on track lately, their record with and without him, I can imagine would be telling.
A good win for Portsmouth, followed up by 3 points for Wolves who beat Bolton 2-1 has seen the bottom of the Premier League close up, there is now just 7 points seperating the bottom eight clubs.
The bottom three sides in the league are not the same three represented in the betting with Hull and Portsmouth 4/6 with William Hill, and Wolves are 5/6 with Coral, collectively the bookies favourites for the drop.
Burnley are fourth favourites in the betting, but for me they are bottom 3 material far more than Hull are. I cannot see Burnley’s good home form continuing and their away form is appalling, the way they leak goals away from home will soon become telling and could be a drain on their confidence. They are a best price of 13/8 with Sky Bet for the drop which seems quite a big price considering most other bookies have them far shorter. VC Bet, Totesport and Paddy Power all have Burnley at 5/4.
Second from bottom Bolton are fifth favourites at 3/1 with Coral and Sky Bet suggesting that the online bookmakers think they have enough fight and Premier League experience to find their way out of trouble. Their result today might have anti Megson fans thinking different though.
West Ham are just 1 point and one place away from the bottom three. The bookies have them as sixth favourites at a best price of 5/1 with Boylesports and Betfred (£50 Betfred Free Bet is available to customers opening a new account). The hammers are an interesting bet as it is well known that they have financial difficulties and people will be speculating as to whether or not they will have to sell the likes of Green, Parker, Upson and Cole in the January transfer window.
As much of a blow as Carlton Cole being out injured until the end of January is to manager Zola, it could end up being a blessing in disguise if it puts off potential buyers during the transfer window. A fit Carlton Cole for the run-in could be invaluable to the Hammers. How they cope between now and the return of Cole could go a long way to deciding their fate.
Fifth from bottom and just 2 points clear of the drop zone, Everton, are as big as 25/1 to go down with Betfred showing that the online bookmakers still believe their position to be a false one, despite their crippling injury list. This could represent a good football trading opportunity as they can be backed at long odds for small stakes, and then if their position doesn’t improve, I can lay them for an online trading profit.
Wigan are 11/2 with Sky Bet and 5/1 with Sportingbet, Paddy Power and Bet365 and could be a decent bet. Their form is up and down at best, with notable defensive calamities like conceding 9 at Tottenham and 4 at Portsmouth, add to that an inexperienced manager who likes to play football on the deck and this season could prove a disaster for Dave Whelan who has said he will back Martinez even if they go down.
Birmingham seem to be flying at the moment after their 3-2 win over Wigan, they are up to eighth in the league but are still just behind Wigan in football betting at 6/1 with Bet365 and Betfred.
For me though Birmingham look a better bet to stay up than Wigan and in Alex McLeish they have a manager who will fight his way to safety.