The Premiership season might be only a quarter of the way through, but the nights are drawing in, Halloween will soon be upon us and already the summer, with its transfer window madness, feels like a long time ago.
With the table starting to take shape, thoughts are already turning to which team will be at the top of the table for Christmas, a feat that amateur statisticians across the nation love to correlate with ultimate Premiership success come the end of the season.
Worthy of a wager?
Since we all got swept up in the smartphone revolution, sports betting at the ever-growing line up of online casinos and gambling sites has never been more popular. One of the draws of the football betting sector is that there are so many outright bets on offer, as well as wagers to be made on individual games.
Very few can see past Manchester City for Premiership glory this year. The team looks head and shoulders above the rest, and has the depth of talent to be able to withstand even the most freakish run of injuries. Most bookies have them odds on to be topping the table at Christmas and to stay there till the end of the season.
However, when it comes to who will fill the remaining three top spots, the picture is less clear.
Best of the rest
Thus far, the team that is, for this year at least, having to come to terms with the title of “Manchester’s other football club” has been the only one that looked capable of hanging on to City’s heels. However, last weekend’s shock defeat to Huddersfield Town put them on level points with Spurs, and placed both teams five points adrift of the runaway leaders.
This puts all the more pressure on Tottenham’s forthcoming visit to Old Trafford at the weekend, but even this is looking increasingly like being the battle to finish best of the rest. The bookmakers agree, and have both teams odds-on for a top four finish. The question of who will take the final top-four berth, however, is a tantalising one.
Six into four doesn’t go
Bookies are convinced that the fourth spot will be taken by one of the remaining “big three” clubs of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. For them, the only question is which one. Right now, the two London teams are level on points, but with Liverpool only three adrift, this makes little difference to the odds. Of the three, Chelsea are the current favourites at 1/2 on, while Liverpool and Arsenal are only slight outsiders, each at around 6/4.
An outside shot?
The above cover six of the teams currently in the top half of the table. What of the other four? The stand out team among the outsiders has to be Newcastle on their current form. They have sustained a solid run of Premiership form in recent weeks, and have been unbeaten for more than a month. With some bookmakers offering 150/1 for a top four finish in May, many will find the odds too tempting to turn down.