As things stand, Brighton & Hove Albion are sitting pretty comfortably at the top of the Championship table, two points ahead of Newcastle with a game in hand. But that’s actually great news for punters that are thinking of backing the Magpies.
Why? Because their outright odds are continuing to drift. And having once been as short as 1/5 to lift the title in May, Rafa Benitez’s men are now 8/11 to do exactly that. That’s their biggest price since September.
Granted, this would normally suggest that a team is going backwards. And while that has been the case of late for the Magpies, there’s still 21 games to play.
The Seagulls have it all to do in their next three fixtures, too. First up is a trip to Preston, who are looking to maintain their status as a top 12 side. Then it’s the visit of play-off hopefuls Sheffield Wednesday, before Newcastle head to The AMEX themselves.
And let’s not forget, Brighton have been in this position before, as recent as last season in fact.
Chris Hughton’s men were top of the table for much of the 2015-16 campaign, after going on a similar run to the one they’re on right now. But they fell at the final hurdle, under the pressure of Burnley and Middlesbrough.
This time it’s an even bigger side that’ll be aiming to beat them to top-spot, and it’s one that won this division with a staggering 102 points to their name the last time they were here.
You’d argue that this Newcastle side is even stronger now than it was back then, too. And you’d expect them to stamp their authority back on the league as we enter the latter stages of the season.
Two defeats in 24 games tells you all you need to know about Brighton – they’re a tough nut to crack. But they’ve also drawn more games than any other side in the top four, and that may just be their downfall in this title race.
We’re not saying they won’t go up – they’re still well on course to do exactly that.
But this fine run of form can’t go on forever. And you’d expect them to drop points over the next few months, while the Magpies will be confident of catching them up.
January 28 looks set to be a crucial date in this season’s title race, as the pair will meet at The Amex.
But by that time, it’s likely Newcastle’s odds will have been cut again.
Our opinion? Now is the best time to get on the Tyneside outfit.
All Odds are correct as of the date of publishing