Premier League Relegation Battle Will Become Clearer by January, But Odds Will Shift
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Nine games of a Premier League season, especially one as weird as this one has started, is not enough to formulate too many ideas about the championship and relegation pictures.
But it has started to paint in the outlines, and will definitely start to take shape over the next month.
Starting this Friday, and going through January 4, the 20 teams in the Premier League will play eight rounds of games, and be nearly halfway through their campaigns.
These games do not include the UEFA Champions and Europa League matches in the midweek over the next weeks, nor the EFL Carabao Cup quarterfinals for six Premier League sides.
But the teams that will likely be in the relegation battle in 2021 do not have to worry about those things, except for Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup, if you think the Magpies could be in the battle come January.
Right now, sports books have a pretty clear idea of the teams they think are going to be in the relegation zone come May, or at least in the thick of the battle to stay in the top flight.
Currently, the bottom four teams of the table have combined for two wins, seven draws, and 26 losses in their 35 games played this season. Quite honestly, that is atrocious. The bottom three teams, Sheffield United (one), West Bromwich Albion (three), and Fulham (four), have combined to win less points than the team sitting in 16th place, Brighton & Hove Albion (nine). In between them is Burnley, which just won its first game Monday and now has five points with a game in hand.
Right now, the odds think Fulham (-300) and West Brom (-250), both promoted teams from the Championship, are the two clear favorites to be relegated back down to the Football League. Sheffield United, which stunned everyone last season staying in the race for Europe until the final weeks, is third choice at -125, with Burnley +105. After them, Newcastle United is fifth choice at +350, with Brighton sixth at +700, according to the Pointsbet app oddsmakers.
For me, Brighton plays attacking soccer, and should be able to shake off a slow start over the coming month and pick up some points. Wins are huge, and goals win games.
I think Burnley is still too experienced and Sean Dyche will be able to get his side to grind out results. I think after a tough run here in the festive fixtures, the Clarets have some very winnable games, and should be fine.
Fulham needs a manager that can grind out results: the longer they stay with Scott Parker, the more chance the Cottagers finish in the bottom three. West Brom has been playing much better of late, but can it win enough games.
Which leaves us with Sheffield United. I guess Dean Henderson was huge for the Blades last season, because without the Manchester United keeper, they have little margin for error. Sheffield United, at -125, might be the best value bet to get relegated.
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