Three teams will be relegated from the Premier League and Tom Carnduff is looking for value across the markets.
3pts Bournemouth to finish bottom at 9/4 (Sky Bet, BoyleSports)
2pts Southampton to be relegated at 16/5 (General)
1.5pts Bournemouth to be bottom at Christmas Day at 4/1 (General)
1.5pts Everton to be relegated at 5/1 (QuinnBet)
It's the one outright preview that no team wants to be involved in. Relegation from the Premier League has a significant financial impact on clubs and the importance of remaining in the division is clear.
Unsurprisingly, it's a market led by those who have been promoted from the Sky Bet Championship the previous season. Many teams have struggled with the step up in quality but that's not always the case.
Leeds and Wolves are recent examples of those who have thrived on their return to the Premier League but you always see at least one of those promoted teams return to England's second-tier 12 months after their success.
Bournemouth lead the market this time around as comfortable odds-on across the board. Scott Parker's side are heavily fancied for another relegation having suffered the drop in 2019/20.
They were unsuccessful in their attempt to return at the first time of asking having been beaten in the play-off semi-finals in 2020/21, but Parker and co. got the job done as they finished runners-up to Fulham last season.
Even though Nottingham Forest were the play-off winners, they are given a higher chance of survival according to the odds and with good reason. The Cherries could have easily found themselves back in that play-off situation.
With 4/6 the best price on relegation, the value comes in taking the 9/4 with Sky Bet on BOURNEMOUTH TO FINISH BOTTOM.
Had Forest made the Steve Cooper appointment a few weeks earlier than they did, there's a strong chance they would have claimed the automatic promotion spot.
They were also in with a chance of doing that when the two sides met on the penultimate game of the season. However, Bournemouth secured their promotion with a 1-0 victory - although Forest won the xG battle on that occasion (xG: BOU 0.47 - 1.34 FOR).
To their credit, they did recover well from a blip in form through November and December but that started to creep back in as they closed in on the end of the campaign.
Parker's side won their last three but it was one victory in the six games prior as they entered April onwards. It was slightly surprising to see them finish just two points behind a Fulham side so dominant in attack.
Only five teams have a tougher start to the season (the first six games) according to the Infogol model's strength of schedule calculations. That also makes BOURNEMOUTH TO BE BOTTOM ON CHRISTMAS DAY a solid selection at 4/1.
The winter World Cup means that this market will be settled in mid-November. It's a tough enough start - and while they don't have another cluster of difficult fixtures before Christmas - there is appeal in backing this selection at 4s.
Odds correct at 0945 BST (22/07/22)
With all focus on the Burnley, Everton and Leeds battle to avoid that last relegation spot in the 21/22 campaign, Southampton's poor season somewhat went under the radar.
For clarity, I like Ralph Hasenhüttl and rate him highly as a coach. However, his time at the club has been a battle with not having the squad strength or recruitment ability to really push the Saints up the table.
This season could well be the one that finally catches up with them. At 7/2, the value is there in backing SOUTHAMPTON TO BE RELEGATED.
I wouldn't place them on par with Burnley if it makes it seem like comparisons can be drawn but they are in danger of constantly hanging around the cluster of teams sitting just outside that bottom-three.
The eyes were on Everton and Leeds but Southampton finished just two points above the latter who survived on the final day. Only the teams who were relegated secured fewer wins across the 38-game season.
It's not a surprise either based on performance. The below rolling xG chart highlights how they have had long periods of not performing at the required level over the past two seasons. For clarity on how to read the chart, more blue is good and more orange is bad.
The signings they've made are intriguing as they've continued their recent pattern of targeting younger, talented players.
Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu is in from Manchester City, as is midfielder Roméo Lavia, while Joe Aribo has joined after helping Rangers reach the Europa League final.
Things can change between now and the start of the season but it just doesn't feel like enough for a team who were in their position last season. Armando Broja has gone back to Chelsea following his loan spell, leaving them one short in the forwards department.
More bad results could also lead to the possibility of Hasenhüttl getting sacked and they may struggle to find anyone who could get more out of this current group of players. At 16/5, the appeal is there in backing the Saints for the drop.
Everton did manage to survive last season but there are still a lot of questions surrounding the Toffees as they aim to avoid another relegation scrap.
They did have to battle injuries with the most absences and the most total days missed (as outlined in the below tweet) but it's a squad that just doesn't have enough quality throughout to be truly competitive.
Years of poor spending have led to this position and there are limits to what they will be able to do in this transfer market. James Tarkowski has come in on a free transfer but that's about it for a quiet window so far.
It's been all about the outgoings. Most notably, Richarlison has left to join Tottenham in a £60m deal and we're not sure how much of that can or will be reinvested in the squad.
It leaves them without a key forward heading into the new campaign - placing further emphasis on Dominic Calvert-Lewin to deliver - while interest remains in winger Anthony Gordon, who has enjoyed far more involvement since Frank Lampard was appointed.
The midfield is the standout area for Everton, although for the wrong reasons. It lacks quality and depth and needs serious boosting if they are to clear themselves of the bottom-three again in 22/23.
Lampard did a decent enough job in the almost half-season he was there - particularly with a Burnley resurgence that suddenly made the race to avoid relegation interesting again.
However, questions remain about his coaching ability and he doesn't have the squad or finances available to build this team to where it needs to be.
Infogol has the Toffees at 19.2% (4.2/1) for relegation this season, meaning that the 5/1 (16.7%) available is a value bet based on the underlying numbers and predictions.
With much required in the midfield and attacking areas, it should be another season of struggle for a side who are Premier League regulars.
Odds correct at 0945 (22/07/22)
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