When outright prices start to return to pre-season levels it’s hard to refer to them without using a degree of hindsight.

From a betting perspective there’s actually a degree of normality creeping into what we’re now obliged to call the most abnormal of seasons.

For the past couple of years we’ve seen Manchester City and Liverpool occupying the top two spots and a huge percentage at the head of the betting.

In behind them we’ve seen the merry-go-round of a handful of teams that compete for the next few places with varying degrees of consistency. Win, and they receive a price cut and media plaudits. Lose, and they drift along with the doom and gloom of headlines about their manager being under pressure.

With just over 50 days gone since the first kick of the campaign, there has been market indecision as to whether the title can be prised from the grip of the big two. They are currently on offer at 11/8 (Manchester City) and 2/1 (Liverpool) – a huge 75.5% combined, which is about 1/3.

Tottenham have maintained their position in third place, claimed from Chelsea over the last fortnight, but Jose Mourinho’s side did drift slightly from 7/1 to 15/2 to account for the slightly cumbersome way in which they negotiated a perfectly winnable home fixture against Brighton.

This was another example on just getting three points on the board not necessarily being enough to impress the compilers.

Chelsea have had eight points shaved off their ceiling price of 20/1, which was on offer prior to a draw at Old Trafford and a win over Burnley. The clean-sheets keep on coming for Frank Lampard’s side, who now show at 12/1.

If somebody is going to 'do a Leicester', it might be the Foxes themselves. The huge question mark is whether they will run out of energy.

Manchester United have edged back out to 33/1 after losing to Arsenal.

The Gunners, meanwhile, are receiving plenty of trader respect, despite already having three defeats on the board. They are back to 28/1, five betting points lower than where they started the season, with the market respecting the fact that Mikel Arteta’s men have already got some tough fixtures out of the way.

Everton’s low of 16/1 in the Premier League title market is now a distant memory, along with Aston Villa’s basement price of 66/1. The pacesetting duo have drifted to 66/1 and 250/1 respectively after being exposed in recent defeats. Bubbles have well and truly burst.

Indeed, if somebody is going to ‘do a Leicester’, it might be the Foxes themselves, who are three points better off than at the same stage of the season they took the title.

The huge question mark is whether they will run out of energy, as seemed to be the case last season. That explains why we are happy to dangle a generous 33/1 carrot for their potential backers.

If it was indeed tiredness that cost them last season, despite the enforced break, then this condensed season might make their efforts even harder to sustain. We have to be happy to lay that price with that in mind.

Southampton had an extremely slow start to what was supposed to be the season in which they ‘kicked on’ under Ralph Hasenhuttl, but prices of 10/1 for them to top the Premier League ‘without the Big 6’ would be tempting but for the presence of Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Keep in mind that the Saints did reach as big as 20/1 in that market because of their sloppy start.

The four teams at the bottom of the table still occupy the first four places in the relegation market, with Fulham receiving minimal credit for beating another one of the quartet, West Brom, at home.

The market likes Sheffield United and wants to agree with Chris Wilder that their stuttering start can be heavily caveated. The Blades show odds-against at 5/4, with Burnley joining Fulham and West Brom at odds-on quotes and most likely for the drop.

Three teams at the same price of 9/2 – Brighton, Crystal Palace and Newcastle – could all justifiably have concerns if Wilder’s team pick up form to leave them closest to the hapless trio at the top of the ‘drop’ market.

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