There is apparently some truth in the statement that the bookies are never wrong, and that the house always wins. I have no doubt that this is true when looking at large data sets, but there are occasions when the bookies get their odds wrong. In some cases, they get hammered. Leicester City winning the Premier League at 5000/1 is a prime example. Even in January of that season, Leicester were still available at over 30/1.
I was reading one of the Sheffield Wednesday message boards and there was a thread about “Odd Odds”, or simply odds that seem too long or short. The focus was, obviously, on the odds for The Owls to be promoted or relegated. So, it got me thinking about how we are priced as I don’t generally pay too much attention to season-long markets.
My first thought was to check Bet365 as they normally have a pretty good range of odds available. I checked out the odds on winning the Championship this season. What the hell are Brentford doing there? I know they're a good team but I would be amazed if they win the Championship.
To win the 2018/2019 Championship - odds taken from Bet365 (17/09/2018).
I very much doubt that we will win the Championship, but I'm surprised we are priced at the same level as Birmingham, Millwall and Preston. I'm also amazed that Derby are priced at 25/1 when Sheffield United are 16/1.
I realise that odds are not an exact science, and that fairly small sums of money can move odds. So, when we look at these odds it is a combination of how much money has been wagered and what the bookies think will happen. I've got to admit to being a little surprised at this range of odds though.
Odds to finish in the top-six in the 2018/2019 Championship - odds taken from Bet365 (17/09/2018).
The odds to finish in the top-six seem a little more realistic, at least for The Owls. 9/1 is decent, but perhaps not attractive enough to make me want to put money on it. The relegation odds are utterly bizarre, in my opinion. We are 6/1 to be relegated.
Odds to be relegated in the 2018/2019 Championship - odds taken from Bet365 (17/09/2018).
The only conclusion I can draw is that a lot of money was wagered for The Owls to be relegated following the news that we were in a transfer embargo. Now that we are out of that embargo, and have retained the services of Fernando Forestieri and Barry Bannan, with Gary Hooper on the road to recovery as well, I think it is extremely unlikely that we will be relegated. I'd be asking for odds closer to those of Aston Villa for it to be a bet I would consider (Note: I would never bet on The Owls to be relegated!). On a related subject, according to Oddschecker, Skybet are offering 1/10 that we will avoid relegation.
Please remember that gambling can be addictive and this post is not intended to encourage you to gamble. This is simply a comment on the peculiarity of odds and how different companies Sheffield Wednesday's prospects for the season. If you are concerned about your gambling, please contact:
The start to this season has been a pleasant surprise. Following the capitulation at Brentford we won our next three league games and drew the fourth. This has set us up with a solid foundation to build on. In the next sixteen days we travel to Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa, before hosting Leeds and West Brom.
Nottingham Forest are difficult to beat, having drawn five of their opening games, and I never know what to expect with Aston Villa. Truth be told, I would probably take two points, if offered, from those two away games. Leeds on Friday 28th September will be an interesting game and you can never really tell how derbies will go. Leeds have started the season well and this will be a very tough game. The West Brom game on Wednesday 3rd October is a must-win, assuming we do draw in our matches against Forest, Villa and Leeds. A return of six points from those four games would see us on 17 points from our opening 11 games, which over the course of a full season would see us finish on 71 points. In the last three seasons the team finishing sixth has finished with 75, 80 and 74 points.
Assuming that we do not have another injury crisis like last season, there is every reason to be optimistic of a push for the top-six. If we are in the running when January comes around, we may see some wheeling and dealing to help us over the line. I doubt we would be able to spend without selling, and I'm thinking (and this may be controversial) that perhaps the player we can most afford to lose is Adam Reach, at least from those likely to generate some meaningful cash.
There are many things I like about Adam Reach, but I can't quite work out what his real strengths are. He isn't fast enough to really beat a man. His crossing is good, but not fantastic. He has a decent shot on him, but doesn't get enough shots away in my opinion. His tackling is ok, but not his main strength by any means. Forestieri is a much better option from the left, and in a three man midfield with the options we have available he is probably the easiest to replace.
If Kieran Lee was fully fit, then a three-man midfield of Lee, Reach and Bannan would be an option. It might not be the most solid midfield but it would have energy in abundance. The whole tempo of the team would lift. If, and it's a big if, we were in the running come January and a good offer came in for Reach I would consider taking the money and using it to purchase the one type of player we have needed for years; a midfield enforcer.
Unless we absolutely have to, I would not look at selling Forestieri. His attitude seems much improved as do his performances. I'm taking a fairly relaxed attitude towards his current ban as that whole incident was highly unusual. With Forestieri and Hooper soon to be available, our options in attack are looking very promising. If Thorniley and Penney can continue to develop and improve it will go some way to solving our lack of options in defence.
Generally, it's looking pretty positive at the moment. I think there is a very good chance our season will defy the bookies expectations. Perhaps this season could be our chance to "do a Leicester".
For anyone wondering, I did have a brief search for odds for Liga 2 in Romania. I was curious what the odds looked like for Sportul Snagov to clinch promotion to Liga 1. Unsurprisingly, there does not seem to be much interest in betting on the Romanian second division from England.
Thank you for reading. If you have enjoyed exploring Now We Live, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you would like to contribute to Now We Live, please refer to our submissions page.
Critic. Writer. Thinker. Observer. Creator of nowwelive.com.