Manchester United in great form ahead of final Premier League match under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 21st edition of the English Premier League concludes on Sunday when the legendary Alex Ferguson manages Manchester United for the 1,500th and, in all likelihood, final time, presenting punters with an interesting betting opportunity. Many sites have covered the Moyes/Man Utd betting markets for next season which undoubtedly will be the talk in the upcoming off-season. For now, let’s look at the last day of this season.
West Bromwich, a team that seems to have put its cue in the rack having not only secured its top-flight status but also nailed down a top-10 finish, is the side that stands between Manchester United sending out Ferguson on a winning note.
Guaranteed to end up occupying either eighth or ninth place on the final English Premier League ladder, West Bromwich’s form has nosedived over the last two months. The Baggies lost their third consecutive match when they slumped to a 0-4 loss to Norwich at Carrow Road, an awful result that means that they have collected five out of a possible 24 points. West Bromwich’s players are on holiday already, despite Albion captain Chris Brunt claiming otherwise.
The ongoing Peter Odemwingie saga is doing damage to morale within the West Bromwich squad, with the striker conducting an unauthorised interview in which he reopened the wounds that he created back in January 2013 when he drove to Loftus Road and sat in the car park hoping that Queens Park Rangers would sign him before the winter transfer window closed.
West Bromwich lost 0-2 to Manchester United in the reverse English Premier League fixture at Old Trafford five months ago and the Baggies have an appalling head-to-head record versus the Red Devils, losing the last four encounters between the teams and 16 out of the last 18 meetings.
Manchester United’s 20th English championship is in the bag but, with Ferguson’s brilliant Old Trafford reign coinciding with a milestone game, one can bet that the Red Devils will be giving their all to ensure that their revered manager’s 1,500th match in charge produces victory number 896.
Early markets on The Hawthorns game for which tickets are changing hands for astronomical sums of money see Manchester United trading at odds as big as 5-6 to beat West Bromwich. With both form and sentiment pointing to a Red Devils win, surely the away side’s odds will contract between now and the kick off in the Black Country. Manchester United is as short as 8-11 with some bookmakers, including super sharp Ladbrokes, and even those odds may be history by the time that the action gets under way on Ferguson’s final day.
It is not just the match market that catches the eye from a value-betting perspective. Since Manchester United is very unlikely to stand on ceremony as it attempts to send out Ferguson on a high, the half-time/full-time double result market is interesting, particularly as the Red Devils are trading not far off the 2-1 mark. Manchester United has the best half-time record of any English Premier League side this season – 22 wins, 12 draws and three losses – and it has yet to feature in a goalless draw. West Bromwich is a lowly 15th on the half-time ladder with a 9-14-14 ledger.
A flippant comment by Newcastle boss Alan Pardew – he joked that the Magpies would not care if they lost 0-4 to Arsenal on the final day after securing their English Premier League position – sparked betting havoc before the leader of the Toon Army said that no-one should take him seriously.
The St James’ Park game means the world to Arsenal as it tries to snare one of England’s four berths in next term’s UEFA Champions League. Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have grabbed three of the spots and now it is a straight head-to-head battle between the Gunners and their greatest rivals, Spurs. Hence why Pardew’s remarks, made with his tongue firmly in cheek, made such big waves.
Arsenal has gone 10 matches without defeat since losing 1-2 to Tottenham at White Hart Lane two months ago but, while the Gunners may get the three points that they want so desperately, they are not a good betting proposition.
Compare Manchester United at odds of around 5-6 to beat West Bromwich with Arsenal at odds of around 8-11 to beat Newcastle and there is only one winner: the Red Devils.