Norwich Big to Stay Up and West Ham Big to Go Down


The final field is known for the next edition of the English Premier League and, for the umpteenth season in a row, the betting markets have the three promoted teams as the three favourites to be relegated back to the second tier. History, however, says that the odds are firmly in favour of at least one newcomer surviving and that means that there is value available on some of the less fancied relegation chances.

There have been 23 English Premier League seasons and only one of them has resulted in all the newly promoted sides making an immediate return from whence they came – the 1997-1998 campaign in which Barnsley, Bolton and Crystal Palace went straight back down, if you were wondering.

So there are two ways to attack the early English Premier League relegation markets. First, history says that at least one of the English Premier League newcomers is worth backing to stay up. And second, history says that at least one of the longer priced English Premier League teams is worth backing to drop into the English Championship. One’s job is to identify the two English Premier League sides before the market matures and the early value disappears into thin air.

The English Premier League is three months away from kicking off and Watford is heading for a pre-season crisis – Slavisa Jokanovic is set to quit the Hornets. So that leaves one to choose between Bournemouth and Norwich, two teams that have a lot in common – both the Cherries and the Canaries have a manager who looks to have the football world at his feet.

Eddie Howe has superseded Harry Redknapp as Bournemouth’s best ever boss and what the relatively young manager has achieved in his two spells as Cherries coach is amazing. But will Howe be able to attract enough high-quality players to Bournemouth so that the Cherries can stay among the big boys for more than one season? And Howe’s record in his two years in charge of Burnley was okay but certainly not fantastic.

Alex Neil has no black marks against his name. The Norwich boss was working wonders at Hamilton before the Canaries came calling and made him an offer that he could not refuse. Neil guided Norwich to the English Premier League via the English Championship play-offs, while Hamilton fell apart as soon as its ex manager moved south of Hadrian’s Wall. Neil is a deep thinker well known for his tactical breakdown of opposition sides but equally famous for his fiery temper that has led to comparison with Alex Ferguson. Norwich’s spending power and ability to lure players is, arguably, greater than that of Bournemouth, plus one thinks that Neil’s managerial stock is greater than that of Howe.

SkyBet is offering odds of -111 that Norwich survives the English Premier League cull and one thinks that the Canaries are the most likely of three promoted teams to stay up.

With regards to the early value play in the English Premier League relegation market, one thinks that West Ham will kick off at shorter odds than the +700 that BetVictor is offering currently, thereby enabling punters to trade their position.

There is a rumour that former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic may succeed Sam Allardyce as Hammers boss. Bilic managing West Ham would be hugely entertaining – while it lasts. For while Bilic has the potential to be a success in charge of West Ham because he is the type of personality to whom the club’s supporters will warm, he is the type of personality that lives life on the edge and it could end in tears.

Allardyce is a smart cookie for getting away from West Ham while he can. West Ham’s results in the second half of the English Premier League were similar to those of the three sides that went down, the Hammers do not able to spend a large amount of money on new players and they have the distraction of the UEFA Europa League for which they have qualified by virtue of their superb disciplinary record.

Tips Summary

Norwich to survive in the Premier League
Odds: -111
Where to Bet: SkyBet

West Ham to be relegated
Odds: +700
Where to Bet: BetVictor

1997-1998 campaign
Eddie Howe
English Premier League
Harry Redknapp
Slavisa Jokanovic

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