Despite our chairman’s belief that anything can happen we all know that the chances of West Ham winning the Premier League are very close to non-existent. Despite being an optimist when it comes to our team, I know that it would take a miracle for us to emulate the feat of Leicester the season before last. That was a one-off 5000-1 unbelievable occurrence that is never likely to be repeated.
Bookmakers don’t get a lot wrong, and I’ve been looking through the odds quoted by a couple of dozen leading firms as to who will win the title this season. Despite some small variations there is a great deal of consistency in what is being offered. After Leicester’s unlikely success the quoted odds are not really very realistic for the teams outside the elite six, and the generosity of years gone by has been replaced by some ridiculously short figures, when we all know that there are only six teams that can possibly come out on top. I’m surprised that they don’t try to tempt punters to waste their money with figures of at least 10,000/1 or more, which would reflect the likely chances of the “bottom” 13 or 14 teams winning the league.
Manchester City are the clear favourites with every single firm that I looked at. The odds quoted are shorter than 2/1 in every case, which, for a competition of 38 matches is a very short price. Chelsea and Manchester United are vying for second favouritism with both being offered between 3/1 and 4/1 to win. Tottenham come next at much longer odds of between 8/1 and 10/1, with Arsenal and Liverpool each being quoted between 11/1 and 14/1.
Not surprisingly, these are the only six teams given any realistic chance of lifting the title by the bookmakers. Everton are seventh favourites at odds of around 80/1, and then we are in a band of four clubs (along with Leicester, Southampton and Newcastle) being offered at anything between 200/1 and 500/1. The shortest odds I saw for West Ham were 250/1, although if you want to have a fun bet on our team you can shop around and get around 500/1 from a number of firms. Even at those odds, not very realistic!
You can get odds of 1000/1 upwards for the remaining nine teams in the league, with the longest prices that I saw being Burnley and Huddersfield at 3000/1.
If you believe that we can finish in the top four (we did come fairly close the season before last, after all), the odds vary between 25/1 and 80/1, so once again, shop around if you want to place a bet. The elite six are all quoted at around evens or much shorter for a top four place. The odds on us finishing in the top six are generally around 10/1 to 12/1, although I have seen 20/1 quoted, and if you want to bet on us finishing in the top half of the table (top 10), the odds vary between even money and 6/4. Betway quote odds on finishing top of the Premier League if the “big 7” teams are excluded, of 5/1, and this is perhaps the best bet I’ve seen offered.
You can get up to 200/1 on us finishing as the top London club, and up to 500/1 on us topping the Premier League on Christmas Day. Our new signing, Chicarito, is quoted at odds up to 40/1 to finish as the Premier League’s leading goalscorer.
For any real pessimists out there (and you do see some on various social media sites) you can get odds of 10/1 on us being relegated, or even up to 50/1 on us finishing at the very bottom of the league!
Of course, as all of us long standing West Ham fans know, you never really know what to expect of our team, so betting on them can be a precarious business because of their unpredictability. But if you like a bet on a one-off match, which is my personal preference when betting on West Ham, then you can get up to 12/1 on us winning our opening day fixture at Old Trafford, or 4/1 on a draw. For me, these are value bets in comparison to those on offer for the season as a whole.