Barring huge slump Southampton have divisional handicap sewn up

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Hands up who is impressed by Southampton this season? That’s everyone then. Well, now is the time to turn this mutual appreciation into some easy money, by backing the high-flying Saints in the Premier League divisional handicap market at 13/10.

Mauricio Pochettino may not feel comfortable speaking English in front of the media yet, but he’s certainly getting his message across to his Saints players and roughly translated it sounds something like ‘keep winning without conceding, thanks’.

Luckily for punters, the team which finished 14th in the Premier League standings last season have been afforded a whopping 36-point headstart to lead the divisional handicap table when the season finishes.

This currently places the Saints on 58 points – to add to the 22 they have already accrued in reality from their opening 11 games – meaning Arsenal (+10) will have to close a 23-point gap as it stands by the end of the season.

Pochettino has moulded Saints into a high-pressing, dynamic and most of all defensively rock-solid side and although there were some clues towards the end of last season, it would have taken a bold man to predict this rapid evolution.

Cases could be made for Liverpool (+14) at 8/1 and even neighbours Everton (+25) at 9/1, though it is still going to take a 2010/11 Blackpool-esque, second-half of the season nosedive, for anyone else to create the necessary gap.

With the way that Southampton are defending in the Premier League this season, that sort of eventuality looks nigh-on impossible from this point.

In contrast, Southampton are widely being tipped as serious candidates for the top six at 4/1 and to put it into context the team to have finished seventh in the Premier League for the last four seasons would have finished with more points than the title winner, given a 36-point handicap.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.