As West Ham were relegated to the Championship, they bore all the hallmarks of a team that would struggle to bounce back up to the Premiership straight away. There was an exodus of their better players and seemingly a downbeat mentality at the club but the appointment of Sam Allardyce as manage was about the most sensible move from the overspending Hammers for some time and when ‘Big Sam’ persuaded Newcastle’s Kevin Nolan to swap the top flight for Upton Park, the club showed that they mean business.
Betfred have taken that on board, installing West Ham as 9/2 favourites to guarantee an instant top-flight return by finishing first while Stan James chalk them up at a tasty 6/4 to gain promotion and although it’s always dangerous to back the jollies in the Championship – see Middlesbrough last term as a case in a point – the Hammers appear to be going about things in the right way.
Ambitious Leicester are alongside the Hammers in the betting, at 9/2 courtesy of Ladbrokes while they are now 8/5 in the promotion betting, this time with Partybets. It’s easy to see why the Foxes have attracted cash; they have a big budget, have spent wisely and performances after Sven Goran Eriksson took charge last term, were of sufficient quality to suggest that they should be in the mix.
Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest, who have been the subject of steady enough support to keep them at the 14/1 mark (), can go well under ex-England manager Steve McLaren and they’re a decent each-way shout, especially as relegated duo Birmingham and Blackpool have to cope with financial issues and the loss of their talismanic captain respectively.
At the bottom Doncaster tailed off badly last term to end up just one place above the drop zone and they look like they could be in for a long hard season so Coral’s 2/1 for them to go down is hard to ignore.
The top scorer betting meanwhile, is something of a minefield with several of the market leaders linked with moves, so it could be worth considering a modest interest on Middlesbrough’s Scott McDonald at 33/1 (Paddy Power).
The Aussie striker ended the last campaign strongly as Boro hauled themselves away from danger into the safety of mid-table and with Tony Mowbray’s men set to improve, McDonald can pick up where he left off and enjoy a prolific season.