As we approach the business end of the Premier League 2022/23 season, there’s a right old dogfight in the bottom half of the table to avoid relegation. Realistically, there are about nine teams that could be pulled into trouble; any team from 11th spot (currently occupied by Aston Villa) to Southampton at the bottom could face the drop at the end of the season. And what makes it all the more interesting is that nobody can be really sure of who the three bottom teams will be.
Indeed, just a couple of weeks ago, Southampton looked doomed, with terrible results and abject performances making them prime candidates for relegation. But a big victory against Chelsea suggests there is life in the Saints, even if they are the betting favourites to go down. Everton, too, under Sean Dyche seems to have turned a corner, albeit nothing is certain. On the other hand, Crystal Palace, who many of us believed to be safe at the turn of the year, have been poor of late, and they will be looking over their shoulders.
Punters should consider Leeds’ relegation odds
However, from a perspective of football betting, the value seems to lie with Leeds United in our opinion. You can get even money with some bookmakers on Leeds to go down, and it seems like a decent price for a team that feels directionless. Leeds are bottom of the form table in the Premier League, and they have been abysmal since club football returned after the World Cup. There is hope for them, sure, particularly given how tight things are at the bottom half of the table, but even money screams value for the team with the worst record in the Premier League this calendar year.
Central to our belief that Leeds will be one of the three teams dropping to the EFL Championship next season is the horrible away record. Just six points have been secured on the road all season, although we should note that included a remarkable win at Anfield. However, with away games looming against Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea, it doesn’t look like that record will improve. Perhaps even more alarming for Leeds fans is that the club will have to play many of its relegation rivals – Wolves, Bournemouth, West Ham – away from Elland Road. Those are veritable six-pointers, games where the consequences will be about more than the three points on offer.
Leeds do have some winnable fixtures coming up
For balance, we should say that there are bright spots for Leeds. Home games against Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, and Leicester City certainly look winnable. It is our view that the often-quoted tally of 40 points required to avoid relegation will be much lower this year, so perhaps Leeds can get close to safety if they were to win those three games, which is still a tall order. Leeds should also be buoyed by some recent performances, even if the results didn’t go their way. For instance, they came out of the double-header with Manchester United with credit, even if it did yield just a solitary point.
Also, we should mention that other teams have particularly tough schedules too. Wolves, for example, have been much improved of late, but they play six of the top eight teams away from home in their remaining fixtures. Odds of 7/2 for relegation will surely be backed by some football tips. But our underlying analysis about Leeds remains sound. We used the word directionless earlier, and the Yorkshire club, more than most, seems to lack that sense of purpose required to go on a run of good results. It’s going to be a tight finish for avoiding the drop, and it’s our view that Leeds’ odds of even money do not reflect a 50/50 chance of them surviving.