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Andrea Calo 7th Aug 2008 - 11:27

Promoted clubs are 2008/09 relegation favourites

William Hill think Stoke City, Hull City and West Bromwich Albion will be relegated from the Barclays FA Premier League this season, and make them favourites in their “to finish in the bottom three” betting market.

The three clubs were all promoted from the Coca-Cola Championship this season, but are expected to struggle in the top flight in 2008/09.

Stoke City finished second in the Championship thanks to some gritty defensive performances. But the likes of Ronaldo, Torres and Drogba will be unlike anything the Potters’ faced last season – and, at 4/11 in the betting, Stoke are well-fancied to go straight back down despite the arrival of striker Dave Kitson from Reading.

Hull City are the same odds to be relegated. They produced a great run of form late in the season to get to the play-off final, where a net-busting Dean Windass goal won them their first ever place among UK football’s elite.

Sadly for Tigers fans, Windass’s best days are behind him, and the club’s failure to keep Fraizer Campbell for a further season – Alex Ferguson offering the young attacker the chance to win a first-team place at Manchester United instead – may cost them their Premier League status. Phil Brown has brought in some new faces, but the betting suggests it may not be enough.

West Brom manager Tony Mowbray has also strengthened his squad in the close season, bringing in England goalkeeper Scott Carson, former Aston Villa striker Luke Moore and Ronan Bednar, who impressed for the Baggies on loan last season, among others.

Hills offer odds against West Brom being relegated, making them 6/5 chances to go down. This may offer hope to their fans, who will look at games against Bolton (5/2 shots to go down), Fulham (offered at odds of 11/4 to be relegated) and Wigan Athletic (a 7/2 chance) as matches that could decide their fate.

Roy Keane’s Sunderland will be eyeing the betting odds nervously – the Black Cats are 4/1 to be relegated with William Hill.

If one of the promoted trio is to survive, the odds suggest it is unlikely to be instead of West Ham – whose manager, Alan Pardew, is favourite to be the first manager sacked in 2008/09 – or Middlesbrough. Odds of 8/1 are being offered about either club being relegated.

Relegation betting is 11/1 bar those nine, with Paul Ince’s Blackburn Rovers offered at those odds. The price could shorten if Ince fails to reproduce the results achieved by his predecessor and former Man United team-mate Mark Hughes.


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