The most interesting and competitive football league in the world is slowly coming to a close. Leicester City have been crowned champions, in what surely is the most unlikely title win in football history, the champions from last year, Chelsea, have had a terrible season, and Tottenham and Arsenal have all but ensured their Champions League spots.
On the other end of the table Aston Villa fans have long ago given up hope and are more likely to be cheering when Microgaming Tribune’s latest reviews are up than to watch their shambles of a team. At least that way, they can win some money and forget that this season had ever happened.
However, not all is done and dusted and there is still a lot to play for in the EPL. There is a CL spot up for grabs and the relegation battle will surely go down to the wire until the last day of the season. Clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, West Ham, Southampton, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sunderland, and Norwich still have a lot at stake and will try their hardest to either earn a European spot or save themselves from relegation.
A quick look at the Top 4, Top 6 and Relegation betting markets reveals several enticing betting propositions and you would be foolish to miss on them. We’ll try to briefly analyze these markets and find the best value bets.
Let’s start with the Top 4 market. As you probably know by now, earning a spot in one of the top four positions in the EPL brings with itself an automatic participation in next year’s Champions League group stages to the first three teams, while the fourth placed team has to play in the last qualifying round of the same competition before the group phase. For now Leicester, Tottenham and most likely Arsenal have already managed to earn a CL spot, and the last passenger to Europe’s elite competition will be one of the two Manchester clubs or West Ham.
Of those three clubs Manchester United and West Ham have three games remaining, one of which is against themselves and the other two against Norwich and Bournemouth, and Swansea and Stoke respectively. The Citizens have only got two matches, the first on Super Sunday against Arsenal, and the second one away at Swansea.
Based on current form and on the fixture list, it seems that, even though they were strong favourites for the title at the start of the season, Man City may actually miss out on a CL spot for next season. They are four points ahead of United and five ahead of West Ham, but with back to back losses to Southampton and Real Madrid, it looks like Pellegrini’s team is imploding at the worst period of the season.
If the Citizens fail to beat Arsenal on Sunday, then Man United’s CL destiny will be in their hands and all they’ll need to do to qualify for the CL will be to win their remaining three fixtures. In the end Van Gaal might actually have a quite successful season in which he will clinch CL qualification and a possible FA Cup victory.
However, United must first beat West Ham, in what might turn out to be a sudden death penalty shoot out for the fourth spot and the Champions League. In all honesty, they should have enough to beat both the East Londoners and Norwich and Bournemouth, and that’s why the odds of 7/2 for United to finish fourth and ahead of their city rivals look very attractive. It looks like Guardiola will have a lot of work to do before next season starts.
The battle for the fifth and sixth position isn’t as alluring as the one discussed above, but clubs are still going to try their hardest to finish in the Top 6. Chances are that West Ham and one of the Manchester clubs will finish the season there, but with odds of 9/1 it’s worth trying out your luck on Southampton to finish in the Top 6.
They play against a demoralized Tottenham side, immediately after they lost the battle for the EPL title and against a Crystal Palace team which will be entirely focused on the FA Cup final a week later. Should West Ham slip up, the Saints will definitely be there to pick up the pieces.
The last market which we are going to discuss is the relegation market. There, Newcastle, Sunderland, and Norwich are going to try to fight it out for the last remaining spot which leads to safety. Norwich is likely to be the first to be relegated based on current form, morale and fixtures. On a similar note, Sunderland have been trying to engineer the so called Great Escape for most of the season, but after only winning three times in the last fifteen league games, Big Sam’s side seem like genuine relegation candidates.
This brings us to Newcastle. A side which has been rejuvenated under the guidance of Rafa Benitez, and which has been transformed from a team bound for relegation to favourites for survival. They play against Aston Villa and Tottenham in the last two games, and both of those matches can be labelled ‘winnable’. The odds for Newcastle to survive are 4/6 and are one of the safest bets until the end of the season.