Could you imagine a contestant being 7500/1 to win in a 20-strong field? No way could it be a horse race, though I’d have to say some of the ones I’ve backed have run that bad they deserved an even bigger quote than that.
The flamboyant odds we’re talking about appear in the lists for the English Premier League, with, as you might expect, two of the newly-three promoted sides being priced up at that huge price. It wouldn’t have happened in Lawrie McMenamin’s day at The Dell – the Saints are now in a new stadium, St Mary’s - but has now, Southampton rank outsiders to take the title along with Reading.
The romantics - never mind those with more money than sense - among Norwich, Wigan and West Ham supporters will probably take a tickle on their side at 5000/1, but now that Brendan Rodgers has left them after doing a splendid job last season, Swansea City fans might not be tempted to take a punt, even at 3000/1 , which is five hundred points higher than the odds available about West Brom, Stoke City and Queens Park Rangers. Aston Villa (2000/1), Sunderland (1000/1) and Fulham (1500/1) are other teams to get a four-figure quote.
All of those odds make the 5/4 about Manchester City – and indeed Man U’s 13/8 - look incredibly skimpy, but that’s what the men with the money are saying, and they go just 9/2 about the third-favs Chelsea. The champions haven’t made any significant signings yet, but having missed a good part of last season, Carlos Tevez would count as a plus if he were to available on a regular basis. City were 9/2 before the off last season, and are 1000/1 in another of the current markets, the one quoting prices on relegation.
Arsenal’s 12/1 will surely increase if Robin van Persie takes his leave, just as Man U’s would contract if he were to go to Old Trafford. Guaranteed to strengthen Sir Alex’s side is the fit-again Nemanja Vidic.
Rodgers is 25/1 to guide his new side, Liverpool, to the title, and it’s the same price Tottenham. Newcastle (150/1) and Everton (250/1) are best looked at as an each-way prospect (one-third the odds for a first or second place), though Magpie supporters might want to be more adventurous if Andy goes home.
Fancy a bet of the leading scorer? Van Persie is on 8/1 to get the gong again, the same as Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero. How about Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse at a sporting 20/1?