Outright market changes after Premier League gameweek 5
In his weekly column, Alan Alger reveals what impact another shock set of results had on the Premier League outright markets, including the race for the title and top four.
It wasn’t a result or a goal that had the biggest effect on the outright Premier League markets this weekend, but an injury.
Liverpool’s supposed inability to cope with the absence of Virgil van Dijk has heavily influenced another drift for the Reds in the Premier League title market which has seen them move from 6/4 joint-favourites out to 11/4.
Manchester City, meanwhile, have regained their odds-on status to reclaim the title at 10/11.
Pep Guardiola’s men did gain two points on their main rivals at the weekend as the Merseyside derby ended in a draw.
That result at Goodison showed, albeit with a touch of good fortune, that Everton will be in there fighting for the European places at the very least. The Toffees are still odds-on at 5/6 for a ‘Top Six Finish’.
It was a London derby that understandably grabbed the most headlines, though, and it featured a very unusual in-play title market correction.
Traders usually pride themselves on not allowing the result of one game to sway their thinking on teams’ overall chances, but we saw some wild swings on Sunday afternoon within the space of 90 minutes.
Tottenham galloping into a 3-0 lead over West Ham inside the first quarter of the match, which they held until half-time, saw Jose Mourinho’s team more than halve in price – from 14/1 to 13/2 – to claim a first top-flight title since 1961.
Following an incredible levelling of the scores, Tottenham had drifted back out to 14/1 by full-time.
The price creeping as low as that at the break was caused by a combination of the Van Dijk news and a reaction to Spurs’ performance in the first 45 minutes, and it didn’t fluctuate as they comfortably protected the lead until deep into the second half.
The market didn’t move even when West Ham got their first goal back but, following an incredible levelling of the scores, Tottenham had drifted back out to 14/1 by full-time.
“What happened?” Mourinho was asked by the interviewer on TV afterwards. “Football happened!” he responded, and it might be the recognition that, yes, these things can just happen that has seen his side shorten slightly back into 12/1 in the couple of days after the match.
It’s important to reiterate what I said in my column a fortnight ago – that odds-compilers are desperate not to repeat their Leicester City mistake from 2015/16 with Aston Villa.
Remember, that mistake was not the offering of four-figure odds at the start of the season. The mistake was offering the Foxes at three-figure prices for too long once they had settled in the autumn and early winter.
That’s not to say that Dean Smith’s side do not deserve to be showing at 66/1 (from 100/1) for the title, and 14/1 (from 25/1) to be playing in the Champions League next season, as they showed a new battling quality to get over the line against Leicester on Sunday evening.
They also have a nice run of fixtures coming up that could see them go far shorter for both.
While the battle for honours at the top of the table has produced a number of exciting markets, especially for Villa fans, the relegation market that they expected to be their focus is unusually stagnant.
Of the nine teams at the top of the market during the international break, seven remain in exactly the same place after the weekend’s round of matches.
The only two teams to swap places were Crystal Palace (9/2 from 6/1) and Brighton (11/2 from 5/1). The performance review of the ‘M23 Derby’ draw entirely favoured the Seagulls, who dominated despite the 1-1 scoreline.
Another thing to note is that we are increasingly unsure that Fulham and West Bromwich Albion are certainties for relegation.
Both drifted minimally, to account for how bad Burnley, Sheffield United and Newcastle United might be in comparison.
That trio all saw their prices go in the wrong direction, accounting for Newcastle’s failure to kill off Manchester United, and the other two failing to beat the Baggies and the Cottagers.
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