As the football season moves into its final quarter, it is a good time to start putting some bets on how the league will conclude. Two interesting betting opportunities in English football are the relegation treble - the three teams that will go down from the Premier League - and the promotion treble - the three teams that will go up from the Championship. Let’s assess the credentials of some of the contenders to make the switch.
Aston Villa have had a dire season and it would take a miracle for them to claw their way out of this mess with the players they have. In anyone’s prediction of which teams will be relegated, Villa will be the first on the list.
Sunderland have also been struggling all season, but have started to show a slight turnaround under Sam Allardyce. They have faced this situation many times before and are experts in digging in and staying up. However, many think that the game could finally be up for them and they face a difficult challenge.
Norwich are relegation contenders and have been the worst performers of all the newly-promoted sides this season. They have had a terrible run in 2016. Their loss to Villa shows just how bad their situation has become. They also have a tough run-in, facing Arsenal, Manchester United, and Everton in the final three weeks of the season.
Newcastle have looked threatened for a while, but they now find themselves out of the bottom three and they have a strong squad with some expensive new acquisitions including Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend. It is hard to see them facing the drop come the end of the season and they should be safe.
Other teams to consider are Swansea, Bournemouth, and West Bromwich Albion.
Middlesbrough are strong contenders to go up from the Championship this year after just missing out last time around. At the time of writing, they are level on points at the top with Hull with a game in hand, and they are at 1/6 in the Championship betting to achieve promotion.
Of the three teams that were relegated at the end of last season, Hull and Burnley both look like they could bounce right back to the Premier League. They have strong squads but the Championship is a fierce league. Remember, only two teams can win automatic promotion to the Premier League, and the teams from third to sixth place must battle it out in the play-offs. This gives teams that haven’t had such a high league finish a good chance of going up as well.
With this in mind, it would be unwise to rule out Brighton, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday, and possibly even Ipswich. Wednesday have had a fine season and look to be a dark horse in the race for promotion after a hiatus from the top flight for more than 15 years.
The smart money looks to be on Middlesbrough and Hull to go up, but the Championship can be such a lottery at times, it is very hard to predict.