The top flight’s top four face each other on Sunday in a couple of contests that could have a huge bearing on the eventual destiny of the Premier League title.
Having started their campaign as 5,000/1 outsiders to claim the crown, Leicester City were this week installed as 9/4 favourites (Stan James) to finish on top of the pile.
Such dramatic changes in price are extremely rare and while 5,000/1 is nowhere to be seen amongst the long list of bookmakers’ odds when Arsenal welcome the Foxes to the Emirates on Sunday (the Gunners are bet365’s 5/6 favourites to win; the Foxes are 15/4 according to BetVictor.com), the correct score markets offer punters an opportunity to back several outcomes at decent prices and still win, even if the majority of bets lose.
For instance, backing the draw (5/2, Skybet) as a form of insurance and supplementing this with a selection of correct scores could pay dividends.
A goalless outcome appears unlikely, but backing a 2-2 draw, priced at 14/1 by Winner.com, is not the action of a desperate gambler chasing outrageous odds.
Supporting results ‘either side’ of this effectively hedges the bet, with the most obvious being a 1-1 outcome, offered at 11/2 by Paddy Power.
Similarly, a 2-1 home win (8/1, Ladbrokes) is not out of the question, although nor is a 2-1 away victory (16/1, William Hill).
Instead of placing say, £20 on a 2-2 result, putting £5 on all four results ensures that, even if the shortest-priced outcome (11/2) comes up, the punter still enjoys a 37 per cent profit, clearing £7.50 on top of his £20 stake.
As St Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday, love will be in the air for some, although the likelihood of fans at the Etihad witnessing any form of bromance when Manchester City lock horns with Tottenham appears remote.
Spurs have improved steadily throughout the campaign and it’s a surprise to see them quoted at such a long price (14/5, Betfred) to claim three points, especially as City’s defence has proved so brittle on occasion.
Nevertheless, it’s Manuel Pellegrini’s men who kick off as Stan James’s even money favourites to become the first Premier League team this season to move into double figures in the ‘home games won’ column.
With so much at stake for both teams, there’s little doubt that it’ll be tight, a rather obvious statement which, none the less, adds appeal to Coral’s 11/4 price posted against the draw.
Indeed, the 5/1 offered by Stan James for the game to be level at 45 and at 90 minutes has attracted significant support, as has the 6/1 available at bet365 for the honours to be shared in a 1-1 draw.
In other markets, Spurs are 17/4 (BetVictor.com) to win while preventing their hosts from scoring and offered at an eye-catching 8/1 (Skybet) to win 1-0.
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Bets of the week
Leicester to win 1-0 at Arsenal (9/1, BetVictor.com)
Spurs to win 2-1 at Manchester City (17/2, bet365)
Aberdeen to win at Inverness (Evens, Coral)