Premiership prices prove to be volatile

SPORTS BETTING
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Bookmakers throughout the country will be taking an unusual interest in the East Enders at eight o'clock this evening, but not the diet of mischief and grief in Albert Square. If Newcastle can steady the ship following their loss to Manchester United a fortnight ago, their odds for the Premiership will immediately contract to a most unappealing mark. Should West Ham inflict a second consecutive home defeat on the Magpies, however, all three contenders will suddenly be available at decent odds against.

The volatility of the market is illustrated by Liverpool's fluctuation over the last five days. After dropping two home points to Wimbledon, Ladbrokes moved them from 7-2 to 10-1. After United's slip at Loftus Road, Roy Evans' side shot back in to 7-2 and could be as short as 5-2 tomorrow morning.

Hills currently bet: 4-6 Newcastle, 2-1 Manchester United, 4-1 Liverpool. Though degrees of victory or defeat are hard to assess, Dave Brown, their football odds compiler, estimates that if Newcastle win tonight, they will move to 4-9, with United 11-4 and Liverpool 11-2. A draw at St James' Park would shift the odds to 10-11, 13-8 and 7-2. A West Ham victory would see joint-favourites at 11-8, with Liverpool 5-2.

Almost as volatile is the betting on who will be relegated. Having been quoted at 1-40 for the drop on Saturday morning, Bolton are now 1-14 after their win at Coventry and if they avoid relegation, it will be an upset to match Mike Tyson's defeat by "Buster" Douglas or Kenya's World Cup win against the West Indies.

Manchester City were the major beneficiaries of Saturday's results, and are now 13-2 to join the Endsleigh League.

PREMIERSHIP (Ladbrokes): 8-11 Newcastle, 2-1 Manchester United, 7-2 Liverpool. TO BE RELEGATED (Hills): 1-14 Bolton, 1-8 QPR, 6-4 Southampton, 7-1 Wimbledon, 15-8 Coventry, 13-2 Manchester City, 10-1 Middlesbrough, 12-1 Sheffield Wednesday.

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