AGAINST ALL ODDS – Are the pre-season prices right?

I always enjoy looking through season-long bets before things get underway. Not because they offer value – many of them are “special bets”, and if a bookie won’t offer a price on both or all outcomes, it’s fair to say the prices he DOES offer are terrible. But some are interesting.

You can get 4/1 on a team being relegated with 40+ points. That’d be typical City: getting more points this season, yet going down. But with lots of very similar teams likely to be scrapping all season long at the foot of the table, we could again see 37+ being enough.

City at 8/1 to have the worst disciplinary record appeals. You can always discount the big four, plus other teams whose style of play is not too confrontational, such as Fulham. I like Wigan at 25s, because they’ll have a dip in form in comparison to recent times and that’s always going to cause frustration.

Elsewhere, there’s the obvious: City’s price for relegation has fallen all summer from a high point of 9/4 (which didn’t last long) to a generally available 10/11 now. Too short – there are lots of teams who could go down, and I wouldn’t want to be backing anyone at odds-on. In fact, I like Burnley to survive at about 6/4. Everyone wrote us off last season and we made it, so why not them?

For Chelsea v City on Saturday, it’s hard to look past a home win, however at 1/5 you’d need to deep pockets and strong nerves to back at that price given last season’s game in London. City can be backed at up 25/1, a similar price to our League game at the Emirates – but is that throwing money away? Gambling at this time of year is hard, with no certainty as to which teams are going to gel quickly and who’ll need some time to adapt. For once, longer-term bets are the way forward…