“The favourites have flip-flopped” is a niche betting phrase that is usually used when referring to the fast-moving market changes that occur ahead of a horse race.

Outright football markets move much slower than those day-to-day prices formed at the tracks and it’s also rare for them to change so early in a season.

But Liverpool have overtaken Man City as the favourites for the Premier League title and we can pinpoint the exact moment when that ‘flip-flop’ happened: the 58th minute of City’s game against Leicester at the Etihad on Sunday, when Jamie Vardy dispatched a penalty past Ederson to put his side 3-1 up and complete his hat-trick.

In the remaining 32 minutes, the scoreline developed into a 5-2 away win and City’s title odds crept up above their previous odds-on quotes. After Liverpool’s win against Arsenal on Monday put them six points clear, albeit having played an extra game, City were 13/8 from 5/6. That’s a correction of 16.45 per cent.


Jurgen Klopp’s team replaced them as the odds-on favourites at 10/11, giving early justification to the kind of questions that I answered here in pre-season.

Those that thought holders Liverpool were good value to maintain their superiority over City hopefully took advantage of generous odds of 9/4.

Of course the explanations in that article do not suddenly become null and void. The methods aren’t intended to be right all the time, they just need to accurately predict chance and then let the maths look after the rest.

I can certainly understand the viewpoint that Premier League football isn’t about maths and ‘expected goals’ equations, but it’s also worth pointing out that our eyes will always react a little quicker than a ratings system that cannot be bound by knee-jerk alterations.

If you can keep ahead of those ratings moves then it’s a great route to profit.

Leicester now show as just 40/1 to win a second Premier League title in half a decade.

We can see big changes in the markets focusing on Leicester and Arsenal’s realistic aims, too.

The Foxes’s post-restart slump killed their top four hopes last season, but they have recovered in the short time available to them and now show as just 40/1 to win a second Premier League title in half a decade.

They were as big as 250/1 before a ball was kicked. Three wins from three also sees them as major movers in the ‘Top Four Finish’ market, with an alteration to 3/1 from 9/1.

Despite their defeat at Anfield it was a reasonable weekend for Arsenal in that market for the Champions League places.

Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Wolves all failed to convince on the pitch, despite the wheel of fortune dictating their varied results. The market has given the Gunners the excuse that they were playing their most difficult away game of the season, so Mikel Arteta’s team remain shorter than 2/1 to get back into Europe’s elite competition.

At the wrong end of the table we also have a stronger view on which team might be the worst in the division.

It was a relatively close pre-season call that Fulham might be slightly behind West Bromwich Albion in terms of quality, but the updated markets put the Cottagers firmly in last place. Scott Parker’s side are 4/11 to make a quick return to the Championship.

Other notable movers in the market for the drop are Burnley and Sheffield United, who are yet to pick up a point between them and lack the funds to put their personnel issues right before the end of the transfer window. They both show at a price of 15/8 for the drop.

It is worth remembering that just 28 games of a 380-game season have been played, so we can try and stay ahead of overreactions in the market going into this weekend’s matches.

Everton have been one of the worst odds-on home teams in the last two decades of the division, so does their blistering start to this campaign make them a good proposition at odds of 3/4 at home to a lively Brighton side?

Another vulnerable odds-on favourite in week four could be Southampton at 31/40 to beat West Brom.

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