Back Tottenham to win the Premier League @50-1
Saturday’s lunchtime kick off is one of the key fixtures of the early part of this term. This match-up is often one of the highlights of the season given the style with which both sides traditionally approach the game, but this time around there is the added intrigue of Andre Villas-Boas’ face-off with his former employers. All this is common knowledge so why is there such interest from a numbers point of view?
Tottenham appear to have turned their season around from an opening day defeat at Newcastle and an abject display at home to Norwich. Friedel was a worthy man of the match in the later fixture and for good reason. Following September’s international break Spurs have won 4 on the bounce with the undoubted highlight a rare victory at Old Trafford. They line up against Chelsea seeking a fifth straight victory. Intuitively this doesn’t sound or feel like a particularly noteworthy achievement for a squad of international players at the peak of their powers. Put into perspective, such is the level of competition in the Premier League that it is typical for the 5th placed team to win less than half of their games throughout the season. Newcastle did exceptionally well last season to win 19 games seeing as 16 and 18 victories respectively were recorded by the first team to finish outside of the Champions’ League spots in the previous two seasons.
So, let us assume that this season’s 5th placed team will again win 50 % of their games. For this typical 5th placed team to win 5 times on the trot in the league they would rate as 31-1 shots to perform the feat. In other words they would be performing atypically for a 5th placed team and may in fact actually be a top 4 outfit. While the quirks of the fixture list can allow a team to have an easy run of games this is not a situation that has developed for Spurs during this period of improvement. A visit to Old Trafford and a home fixture against Chelsea would be considered to be some of the toughest fixtures in the calendar. Indeed, the cumulative bookmaker odds for Tottenham to put this run of 5 wins together would be greater than 25-1.
Chelsea themselves could also post a statistically significant effort by winning the White Hart Lane encounter. Their own record would improve to 7 wins from the opening 8 games. For a typical 5th place team to post this level of return would also be a 31-1 occurrence. With away wins at Arsenal and Tottenham it would be hard to describe the early Chelsea schedule as lightweight and victory on Saturday would all but confirm The Blues return to Top 4 status.
As things stand before kick-off the widespread expectation is that Chelsea will be challenging for the title. They are priced up at only 3-1 to lift the trophy in May. In contrast, Tottenham are as long as 50-1 to be crowned champions. It is worth remembering that Spurs put together a hugely impressive run last Autumn that incorporated 10 wins from 11 games. As a result their title odds plunged to a single figure price. A similar situation this time around would provide a decent trading out option and considering that they are without a Champions’ League commitment, at 50-1 they are probably worth a speculative punt.