West Ham remain favourites to win the Championship after triumphing 3-2 in the clash of the pre-season frontrunners against Leicester, but Southampton are still top following a statement-making 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough.
The Saints achieved their seventh straight win at St Mary’s since promotion from League One to stay three points clear of West Ham and did so with surprising ease despite facing a side who had lost just once previously, with Guly Do Prado scoring twice.
As a result, they were pushed in from 5/2 to 9/4 to finish in first place, however it is recently relegated West Ham who continue to lead the betting at 15/8 – from 2/1 pre-match – after an absorbing win over managerless Leicester.
The Irons looked set to stroll it after going 2-0 up within 22 minutes, yet the replacement of John Carew in the first half due to perceived harsh treatment from the referee and an improved second-half showing by the Foxes prompted a nervy finale.
The east Londoners’ habit of leaking 90th minute goals at home appears to be behind them though and they held on for a valuable three points. They are 1/3 to beat bottom club Bristol City on Tuesday, with Southampton 1/2 to see off Peterborough.
Leicester meanwhile are still third favourites for top spot, but at a distant 10/1 after falling 11 points behind. Whoever succeeds Sven-Goran Eriksson has much to figure out, with Jermaine Beckford booed off by almost the entirety of the away support.
Huddersfield boss Lee Clark is the current leader in a wide-open market, though it looks likely that nobody will be installed in time for Tuesday’s trip to Burnley.
They are 8/5 outsiders in a game that they can ill-afford to lose, given the extent to which West Ham and Southampton are fancied to do the business in their midweek fixtures.