Top-half finish may be enough for Saints in divisional handicap odds

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Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne are just two of the Southampton playing squad to have indicated that a top-half finish is the aim for this season and the captures of defender Dejan Lovren and midfielder Victor Wanyama certainly suggest the club means business.

This doesn’t appear to be the end of the big-name recruits either, with the strong possibility of a new striker joining the club, with Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo and prolific Watford loanee Matej Vydra also reportedly on the radar.

Southampton certainly appear to be one of the more enticing prices to finish in the top 10 of the Premier League at 7/4, but greater value can be found in the divisional handicap market.

Here, every club is given a points handicap that is added to their final total at the end of the season, which makes a new table.

Looking back at the last 14 Premier League seasons, 52 points is the highest total that has been required to finish in 10th spot. If reaching this sum, a handicap of 36 points would give Southampton a combined total of 88 points.

A combined total in this region is likely to be what is required to waltz off with the divisional handicap accolade and Southampton are 15/1 in this market.

It should not be forgotten either that Southampton were only one place outside of the relegation places last season entering 2013, but 26 points in their final 21 games saw them relatively comfortably avoid the drop.

This was despite losing eight of their opening 10 games and a better start in the upcoming campaign should pretty much guarantee more than 41 points they achieved in the last campaign.

What was especially noted about Southampton’s late-season form under Mauricio Pochettino was that they conceded only nine goals in their last 10 Premier League fixtures and three of these came in one game against West Brom.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.