Bookmakers have pegged English Premier League newcomers Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Leicester as the most likely teams to finish the season at the bottom of the ladder, which flies in the face of most recent history.
With Burnley trading at odds of +220 with Ladbrokes, Queens Park Rangers trading at odds of +700 with Bwin and Leicester trading at odds of +750 with Spreadex, dutching the English Premier League freshmen generates odds of -125 about one of them ending the 38-round competition in 20th position.
One is convinced that, while there is a good chance that one of Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Leicester will prop up the English Premier League ladder at the end of the term, bookmakers have gone too far into quoting such an outcome at odds on because what the history books show is that the gap between England’s top two divisions is not all that wide.
Overall, 11 of the 22 English Premier League seasons have ended with one of the promoted teams at the foot of the ladder. Even on that statistic one should be looking for odds of 2.00 before dutching Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Leicester. And it gets even worse for punters who have wagered on the option already. Last term was the first in the last five in which a promoted side finished 20th and Cardiff, which ended up just two points adrift of Fulham, contributed to its own downfall. Cardiff’s controversial owner, Vincent Tan, made numerous strange decisions.
So one is willing to bet around Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Leicester in the race for the English Premier League wooden spoon. According to bookmakers, the established sides that are most likely to finish at the bottom of the ladder are, in betting order, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich, Hull, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Southampton, Swansea, West Ham, Newcastle and Stoke. No bookmaker thinks that any of the other seven teams is a contender for the unwanted prize.
At odds of +1800 with Bwin, Aston Villa appeals as the value play before the English Premier League sides kick a ball in anger. Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner is trying to sell the Birmingham-based team, captain Ron Vlaar is being linked with moves here, there and everywhere, striker Christian Benteke is out of action and then there is the managerial duo of Paul Lambert and Roy Keane. Lambert has been under pressure for some time and there is a school of thought that Keane accepted the position as Lambert’s assistant because he thought that he would be the top dog before very long.
Aston Villa’s pre-season performances have been poor, losing to English third-tier side Chesterfield and Dutch top-flight team Groningen in appalling efforts, its transfer activity has been uninspiring and its supporter groups are embroiled in rows with club officials regarding a code of conduct.
The English Premier League fixture computer has not handed a particularly tough start to Aston Villa but that could be a curse rather than a blessing for the Villans because their fans will expect them to accrue points from their opening three games – away to Stoke, home to Newcastle and home to Hull. If Aston Villa fails to win any of its first three matches – and one thinks that there is a good chance that will happen – the atmosphere at Villa Park will be toxic ahead of back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back assignments against Liverpool (away), Arsenal (home), Chelsea (away), Manchester City (home) and Everton (away). It is crucial that Aston Villa earns points before that horrific run.
Only Newcastle finished off last term’s English Premier League in worse form than Aston Villa – the Villans took four points from their last nine games and they did not register a road victory following their 1-0 defeat of Sunderland on New Year’s Day. Aston Villa is an accident waiting to happen so back the Villans at odds of 19.00 to finish the English Premier League below every other side.
Aston Villa to finish bottom of the league
Where to Bet: Bwin
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