Outright market changes after Premier League gameweek 9
In his weekly column, Alan Alger reveals that, in terms of odds, this season's title race is shaping up as the closest for five seasons.
You have to go all the way back to February 2016 to find a Premier League title market as open as this one. It’s been over 1,700 days since we last saw four teams priced at 7/1 or lower to win the title at the same time, as is the situation after nine games of this season.
Liverpool went favourites before the international break with their draw at the Etihad, but favouritism flipped back to Man City after Joe Gomez suffered a knee injury while on England duty.
Jurgen Klopp’s squad keep answering the questions, though, and their demolition of previous leaders Leicester City showed that their depth requires a little more respect than to keep knocking them off the top of the market whenever they lose a player, as also happened when Virgil van Dijk was ruled out.
At 6/4, the Reds can look confidently towards second favourites Manchester City, who are an astonishing 31% off their opening price of 8/11 favourites.
Pep Guardiola’s new contract was followed by a defeat at Tottenham and a drift to 11/4, with many followers on Betway’s social media accounts questioning whether the lengthening of the odds had gone far enough for a side firmly in the bottom half of the table.
Tottenham are 5/1 to lift a first title since 1961, but were far shorter in 2015/16 when they fell apart in the final weeks of the campaign.
That might have a lot to do with the emergence of two genuine challengers from the capital.
Tottenham saw off City in such a professional manner at the weekend that it has led many to speculate whether Jose Mourinho might pull off his customary second-season special.
They’re 5/1 to lift a first title since 1961, but were far shorter in 2015/16 when they fell apart in the final weeks of the campaign.
Frank Lampard can afford a little smile at the way things are playing out at Stamford Bridge. The 3-3 draw at home to Southampton in their fifth game of the campaign exposed their defensive frailties and saw their title odds extended to 20/1.
However, their next four games have produced three wins and a draw in which they have allowed their opponents just one goal. A current price of 6/1 represents exactly half of their pre-season offering.
A ‘bar’ price in betting is usually used to illustrate a market that has a number of also-rans at much bigger prices than the market leaders. The Premier League is now 33/1 bar those four teams we’ve mentioned heading the market.
It’s a dismissive enough phrase that the selections in the bar section aren’t usually worthy of comment, and you’d have to agree at this point.
If it does mean that four teams will break away then it could also put paid to any real interest in the ‘Top 4 Finish’ market.
As expected, the same quartet are all odds-on to stay in that grouping, even though Manchester City need to travel up the table to join their fellow short-priced sides.
The market certainly thinks they will, with City 1/10 to finish in the Champions League places.
A much more interesting market will be the ‘Top 6 Finish’, where Manchester United are the token beneficiaries of an odds-on quote of 8/13, even though fifth or sixth place will be seen as failure at Old Trafford.
On the other hand, sides like Everton (9/4), Wolves (13/2), Southampton (15/2) and Aston Villa (9/1) will hope downturns at United and, notably, Arsenal continue, so that those kind of positions can be achieved. They’d all gladly welcome top six as progress.
The relegation market is still flipping between Sheffield United and Burnley as to who will join Fulham and West Bromwich Albion in the Championship next season, with the latter duo still firmly odds-on.
Of the other two, it’s Sheffield United’s turn to show up odds-on at 5/6, after Burnley (5/4) secured their first win of the campaign. The odds compilers’ patience has worn thin in awaiting an upturn in fortunes for the Blades.
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