In what many believed would be his final match in charge of Bournemouth, highly-rated boss Eddie Howe inspired his side to a hugely impressive 3-0 victory over in-form Plymouth that lifted them up to second in League One, four points shy of leaders Brighton.
There’s an all-South Coast top three in the third tier right now with Brighton leading the way and Southampton behind Bournemouth but were Howe to leave, the Cherries’ chances of continuing to overachieve would more than likely diminish, hence lengthy title odds of 25/1.
The 33-year-old, who led the club to promotion from League Two in his first full season in charge despite severe financial restraints, has been linked with the vacancies at Burnley, Crystal Palace and Charlton yet turned Southampton down so is far from certain to depart.
Howe admitted that both the reception that he received from fans and the performance of his players against Plymouth has made deciding his future significantly harder. If you expect him to stay though, 25/1 is a great price given Bournemouth’s form and home record.
He said: “I’ve had a terrific time here, I’ve loved every minute of doing the job, and when you’re somewhere where you’re liked and respected, it counts for a lot in my book.
“I’m very torn, and when you see the players perform like that, it makes it even harder. To see their commitment and attitude to everything we’ve asked them to do, I can’t fault them.
“They’ve never let me down, not once. They’re a great group to work for, and I’m proud to be their manager. They feel more than just a group of players to me, they feel like family.”
Brighton and Southampton are 7/4 joint-favourites to finish first. A £10 wager on either would provide a profit of £17.50. New customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.