A few postponed matches can be a problem for teams with European and FA Cup commitments, but they have neither.
Obviously, the loss of Chris Wood will not help them, but there is time (and now cash if necessary) to replace him. That would give them a squad more than capable of escaping the drop, so what will happen to their odds in the short term?
I will try to back them this morning but cancel pre-match if unsuccessful. If odds drop below 1.60, then I shall lay them further instead with a view to trading.
However, that is only part of the story, and in itself fairly easily rectified at a cost. It was difficult to believe just how bad Everton were in those early stages and of course, the market over-reacted on just about every team imaginable.
I backed Norwich at 1.14 and 1.19 (subsequently laying the second bet at the same odds) and backed Everton, who were still available to back @ 9.00 with a view to laying at around their new odds of around 6. Then Newcastle took the lead against Watford, and Everton pulled one back at Norwich. That combination meant that I only got part of my Everton lay matched at decent odds and had to hope Norwich established a 2 goal cushion again. They didn't. To cap it all, Watford scored a late equaliser. By now, I had got so much action on the table that it is a good job I now keep a separate note of bets placed and whether matched or not. Primarily, that is a safeguard against placing duplicate bets if I miss the first one getting matched.
Overall. the carnage will not be severe. I would still have backed Norwich in-play had I not done so pre-match; it is just a matter that the odds would have been much better. The market has yet to really settle, and with Leeds and Brentford facing difficult tasks this afternoon, there is scope for a lot more movement first.
One side effect of recent results is that four teams have become slightly detached but remain a tightly-knit group. That, in turn, means fewer points may be required for one team to escape. I am in the process of checking that, but it would certainly be the case if those above them pull further clear.
I have too many bets open and partially matched to update fully now, but that will be done as soon as practicable after the dust settles.
Crystal Palace 2 pts @ 23.00
Everton 15 pts @ 9.00
Leeds 4 pts @ 8.00
Norwich 29 pts @ 1.14
Newcastle 60 pts @ 2.20
Crystal Palace 3 pts @ 24.00
Everton 4.5 pts @ 8.60 8.75 pts @ 9.40
Leeds 4.5 pts @ 6.80
Watford 19 pts @ 1.61 6 pts @ 1.62
Brentford 10 pts @ 17.00 3 pts @ 14.00
Newcastle 20 pts @ 1.99 23.75 pts @ 2.06 6.25 pts @ 2.10
Norwich 29 pts @ 1.19
Open bets (back)
Norwich 30 pts @ 1.23 - part matched.
Relegation Trebles (new back bets).
Newcastle Watford Burnley 6 pts @ 19.00
Newcastle Norwich Burnley 20 pts @ 3.25
The portfolio value becomes too difficult to calculate once more than one RT is placed.
This over-reaction is common. Breaking news that Bamford will be absent longer than expected, is not sufficient to warrant such a move.
I have laid them further for 2 pts @ 11.50, 1 pt @ 11.00, and 3 pts @ 10.50. Hopefully, there will be no need to trade these, but that may have to happen if they get too close to the drop zone.
Anyway, unsurprisingly, the balance of my 5 pt back bet was matched.
For some time, I believed the relegation battle would be a case of any 2 from 4, plus any 1 from 6 (the remaining 2 + Leeds, Brentford, Everton, and Southampton) and I have not changed my mind. Norwich seem less of a banker to go down, but as they have played more games than any of their rivals apart from Brentford (both 22), and Southampton is the highest placed team they have beaten, I am sure they will still struggle as they will not find many opponents being as helpful as Everton or Watford.
However, safety is also MY aim, so as such I have backed the RT of Burnley, Newcastle, and Watford for a further 6.5 pts @ 11.00.
That appeared better value than laying Norwich but does mean keeping an eye on any team currently above them making an effort to replace them in the danger area.
A full update of the position after Sunday's games
On to today's games and the early kick-off between Everton and Aston Villa gets the action underway. Exposure prevents me doing much by way of laying Everton at their current odds but I need to see evidence of improvement in the post-Rafa era before committing too much cash by trading the position should odds drift.
I have tried to back Leeds for 3 pts @ 13.00 or 12.50 as insurance against them losing to Newcastle, but as usual, that would be cancelled pre-match if no takers. Brentford entertain Wolves at the same time so interest will be shown in that game too.
The next team in line was Everton, and to a lesser extent, Newcastle. I tried to lay Everton shorter but got 5 pts matched @ 6.40.
I could have accepted 12 for the Leeds bet but chose not to. At their current odds, I would rather lay them than back them. However, a couple of injuries and a further delay to Bamford's return temper my enthusiasm.
Brentford's next few matches see them face tough trips away and winnable games at home, and that is where they need to start harvesting points.
Two bets placed primarily to trade.
1 pt Southampton @ 34. Backing them at higher odds will have the effect of reducing liability.
15 pts Burnley @ 1.46. This is a strange one as I tried laying them at 1.47 and cancelled when not matched. Moments later, I saw 1.46 offered so took a bit.
The changes as far as Norwich and Newcastle are concerned are, therefore, not an over-reaction. To a large extent, the shortening of Leeds, Brentford, and Everton is. My tissues still have a 7 pt gap between the bottom four and the rest; the spread firms have a slightly larger gap but with Newcastle about halfway between the other sets.
Recent back bets.
Burnley 11 pts @ 1.54
Everton 2.5 pts @ 7.00
Everton 3 pts @ 8.00 - awaiting match. Cancelled for now.
Newcastle 20 pts @ 2.63
Brentford 4 pts @ 10.00
Recent lay bets.
Newcastle 20 pts @ 2.46
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