Each-way value in two-horse race

Who will win the League, who will score the most goals, who will be sacked first?
Click to follow
The Independent Online

The odds on West Bromwich Albion winning this season's Premiership are 1,500-1. The price on the Baggies' Jason Roberts being top scorer are around 100-1. The odds on that double, given they are related contingencies, are 10,000-1. Hold that thought.

The odds on West Bromwich Albion winning this season's Premiership are 1,500-1. The price on the Baggies' Jason Roberts being top scorer are around 100-1. The odds on that double, given they are related contingencies, are 10,000-1. Hold that thought.

William Hill go 50-1 that intelligent life on another planet will be confirmed by Nasa by the end of the year. The odds that said life will be called Des and that his favourite TV programme will be The Premiership are more attractive than those for the West Brom-Roberts dream ticket. This year's title race is as genuinely open as North Korea.

If you agree with the bookmakers that the League is a two-horse race between Manchester United (best price 11-8) and Arsenal (best price 2-1 with Totalbet), back both of them equally. A nine-month wait allied with no successful challenge from elsewhere will return at least an 8.4 per cent profit whichever of the pair wins.

If you fancy Liverpool (4-1, Tote), or even Leeds (16-1 generally), Chelsea (22-1 with Totalbet) or Newcastle (33-1, Sportingbet or Paddy Power), the returns look more attractive. The each-way value appears to be Newcastle, at a quarter the odds for a top-three finish. Value is always a relative commodity with the bookies.

At the bottom end, a treble on the teams to be relegated can garner upwards of 5-1 even if you plump for the favourites West Brom (best price 2-5, Hills), Birmingham (Evens) and Bolton (6-5). Stick your neck out and go for the two Midlands teams plus one from Sunderland, Charlton, Southampton or Fulham and you're looking at odds of between 12-1 and 20-1.

One mildly intriguing book is being run on which former England manager will finish highest up the table. In a five-dog race – featuring Wor Bobby Magpie, El Tel, The Hod, Our Kid Kev (formerly Wor Kev) and Turnip Taylor – it is hard too see beyond Bobby Robson at Newcastle (13-8, Hills) and Terry Venables (Evens).

At least Robson is almost certain not to be sacked or resign. Glenn Hoddle, bless him, will probably be too busy trying to sign Pele ("He's really keen, honest") to win this particular tussle (at 7-1). Manchester City's Kevin Keegan (9-1) should have a decent rollercoaster year that ends in safety but not honours. Graham Taylor (14-1) may yet find the going getting tough.

Which leads to the sack race, where one double looks extremely appealing. Sell your house and put the proceeds on Peter Reid (4-6) and Jean Tigana (4-5) being out of their current posts before the end of the season.

If you want novelty, think Rio Ferdinand. You can get 5-1 against him scoring a League goal against Leeds this season, 20-1 against him being sent off against Leeds or 50-1 against him marrying a Spice Girl before next June (all Hills). Serious punters should know Geri Halliwell still counts.

You can also get 100-1 against Rio having a blond Mohican at any stage during the season.

Which only leaves the blue riband golden boot. The usual suspects are favourites from Ruud Van Nistelrooy (9-2) to Jimmy Hasselbaink (but 7-1 will seem awful value if he moves abroad), Thierry Henry (7-1 with bet365), Michael Owen (8-1 with bluesquare) or Alan Shearer (16-1). Of course, there is always Jason Roberts.

Comments