Try for a win on the Premiership losers

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The Independent Online
Despite their complaints about competition from the Lottery, and the present suspension of racing due to the weather, bookmakers seem surprisingly reluctant to take any more bets on the Premiership. Newcastle are now unbackable at 1-5, but there is no encouragement for each-way punters since most bookies are betting "win only", and apparently cannot be bothered to offer prices without the leaders. Hardly the way to boost turnover.

Hills, though, offer an alternative for football punters, with their odds on who will drop into the Endsleigh League. At first sight, the prices are far from generous, since this is a race with three "winners", but with two vital matches on Wednesday it is a market which could see significant movement in the near future.

Norwich fans will not need to be reminded just how quickly a season can disintegrate, and the memory of their free-fall out of the top flight last year should curb any resentment among Middlesbrough supporters at their quote of 16-1 for the drop.

More surprising still, perhaps, is the discovery that Manchester City are odds-against to beat the drop. Much has been made of the form of Georgi Kinkladze, but one man cannot carry a team. Trips to Arsenal, Villa and Everton lie ahead, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle have yet to visit Maine Road.

Wednesday's match, and Saturday's home game against QPR may well define their season. 11-8 on City finishing in the bottom three is a very fair price.

RELEGATION FROM THE PREMIERSHIP (Hills): 1-25 Bolton. 2-5 QPR. 5-4 Coventry. 11-8 Manchester City. 7-4 Wimbledon. 2-1 Southampton. West Ham. 12-1 Sheffield Wednesday. 16-1 Middlesbrough.

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