Wigan’s 3-0 humbling at the hands of fellow strugglers Newcastle left them a mere two points off the relegation zone, but the prices on the current bottom three to be there after 38 games offer far better value than the Latics’ 15/8.
The best price of the trio is winless QPR’s 4/7.
This incredibly poor effort deserves nothing but the drop and, were anyone other than Harry Redknapp at the Loftus Road helm, they would be far shorter.
The R’s have a kind run of games on the horizon that will take them up to the season’s halfway stage and it’s paramount that they get off the mark in this period.
The play host to Fulham and West Brom in between trips to Wigan and Newcastle and, when in a relegation scrap, these games must be earmarked for points.
Should a big, fat zero still stand in their win column following these fixtures then their price will shrink accordingly, as keeping them up will be beyond even ‘Arry’s capabilities.
Southampton’s 8/13 is also a respectable price given their well-documented defensive woes.
Their recent purple patch is responsible for these improved odds, but their four-match unbeaten streak was halted at Anfield last time out and they now simply must beat Reading at St Mary’s next up lest they find themselves back at square one.
Of the current bottom three, the Saints are the best equipped to save themselves due to their goalscoring prowess and, if Nigel Adkins can acquire a decent centre half in January they stand every chance of avoiding the drop, but defeat to the Royals would be disastrous with a run of testing away games to come.
Reading themselves appear relegation certainties at 4/11, but their current situation would look a whole lost rosier if they could hold on to leads.
Their 4-3 reverse to Manchester United came about after leading twice. It also represented the sixth league game in which they have thrown away winning positions.
As well as major defensive issues, these traits also demonstrate the fact that they lack the nous required to see games out and, subsequently, survive in the top flight.
Their spirit and will-to-win lives up to that of any other in the division, which is more than you can say for QPR. A shortage of quality is what is going to cost them come the end of the season, however, and, should they leave St Mary’s pointless at the weekend, expect to see their price plummet further.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date