Premier League 2020/21 relegation: Best bets and preview, with West Brom, Fulham and Burnley tipped for the drop

We look at the Premier League relegation betting this season

The 2020/21 Premier League season starts on September 12 and Joe Townsend has two relegation treble selections at 28/1 and 100/1.

Recommended bets

2pts Burnley to be relegated at 3/1

1pt West Brom, Fulham and Burnley relegation treble at 28/1

0.5pt West Brom 20th, Fulham 19th, Burnley 18th straight treble at 100/1

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record

A quick glance at the Premier League relegation odds and you can see the bookies have near enough bisected the division before a ball has been kicked: those who could go down, and those who can't.

Half the league are 5/1 or shorter to be playing in the Sky Bet Championship in 2021/22.

There is then a smidgen of room for those sides that are expected to be the bridge to the the 'Big Six' - with a gradual progression from 10 to 40/1 - before Arsenal kick us off at 250/1 and Manchester City bring us to a close at 10 times that.

Unlike in both the Championship and Sky Bet League One, no Premier League club is odds-on for the drop.

That also means, as you'd expect, no club is odds-against to stay up either. That is pretty staggering, incredibly rare, and a reflection of how competitive the battle for survival is expected to be.

But is it a fair reflection of what 2020/21 will be for the teams whose first goal will always be reaching 40 points?

The 'new' boys

Relegation odds

West Brom: Tipped to be relegated from the Premier League

All three new arrivals have helped throw a spanner in the works when it comes to finding any kind of value in this market.

Most promoted clubs are favourites for an immediate return to the second tier. Only once in Premier League history, though, have all three done so - the 1997/98 trio of Bolton, Barnsley and Crystal Palace own that piece of pub quiz trivia.

Sheffield United's phenomenal performance last season was something of an anomaly, while Norwich didn't make a fist of things and Aston Villa completed an unlikely escape on the final day. And that is pretty much par in recent years.

Since 2014/15, half of the newly-promoted teams have gone straight back down. Only once, in 2017/18, have all three survived - something that has happened just three times in the Premier League's 28 seasons.

Basically, history suggests at least one of Leeds, West Brom or Fulham will be relegated, and there's a fair chance two will.

My first pick would be WEST BROM.

They are extremely lucky to be in the top flight having scraped their way to automatic promotion despite a dramatic decline in form over a sustained period that straddled the enforced break.

Albion won just three of their final 12 matches, all of which came between July 1 and July 8, and ultimately it was just about enough. But that is thanks to Brentford's capitulation, not the Baggies' own performances.

Do West Brom deserve credit for winning promotion? Of course. Did their second half of the season justify their position as one of the Sky Bet Championship's best teams? Absolutely not.

The league table from December 10, which takes in 26 matches, had Slaven Bilic's side ninth. Brentford, Leeds and Fulham were the top three during that period.

Arresting such a long-term slump will be exceptionally difficult, especially against higher calibre opponents.

What makes things even harder for them is that at time of writing, their squad is worse than it was last season. No new players have arrived - Matheus Pereira's loan from Sporting has been made permanent - while influential loanee Grady Diangana has returned to West Ham and Nathan Ferguson has joined Crystal Palace.

Diangana could yet return on a full-time basis, but his arrival alone isn't nearly enough to win me over.

I don't see them being cut adrift - they'll be competitive enough - but I cannot make a case for West Brom to stay up. Which is why I am tipping them to finish bottom of the pile.

Scott Parker (centre) took over as Fulham boss late in their last Premier League season, 2018/19

I also think FULHAM will be in the relegation zone come the end of the season, and while it could be a close run thing between them and the Baggies, I think they have that bit extra to avoid that dreaded 20th-placed finish.

The Cottagers look very keen to avoid going down the same path they did in the summer of 2018, when a splurge of late transfer activity disrupted the harmony in a promotion-winning squad while also giving new arrivals insufficient time to bed in.

The net result was a chaotic, disastrous campaign.

It ended with Scott Parker in charge, and he has done superbly to turn around the club's fortunes.

They have recruited sensibly so far this summer, with Antonee Robinson and Mario Lemina both looking like smart signings alongside making Harrison Reed's loan from Southampton permanent.

But while in 2018 they did far too much in the transfer market, I am yet to be convinced that the current Fulham squad will be able to survive in the Premier League.

I place them in a similar bracket to West Brom, but with the advantage of a younger squad that has more room to develop, and without the poor form that stretches back almost nine months.

Two or three more bits of quality and they might be OK. Right now, it's relegation.

Leeds: Sky Bet Championship winners are much-fancied this term

What makes this season so tricky for the bookies to price is that all the teams that have come up look in fairly strong positions to make a good fist of survival, especially Leeds. Seven teams are shorter-priced to be relegated than the Championship winners, including last season's surprise package Sheffield United.

The Whites are the most-fancied team to come up from the second tier since Rafa Benitez's Newcastle in 2017/18. It's a strikingly similar situation, a combination of sleeping giant club and world famous manager taking them out of the relegation reckoning in lots of people's eyes.

I am one of those people.

I do put them on a similar footing to the Newcastle of three years ago, and wouldn't be surprised to see them match what Benitez's team did by finishing in the top 10.

They've made what appear to be excellent signings already, and Leeds fans should be rightly optimistic for the campaign ahead.

The survivors

Relegation odds:

Jack Grealish's goal for Aston Villa at West Ham secured survival on the final day

Aston Villa are favourites to go down along with Fulham and West Brom, but personally I think they'll do okay.

While Villa's post-lockdown haul of nine points was nothing spectacular, placing them 16th in the Project Restart league table, they were definitely a much-improved unit.

Dean Smith spoke openly about spending the hiatus drilling his side in set-piece work, both attacking and defensive, before using the short preparation they had to mainly focus on being more solid.

They conceded just 11 goals in 10 matches after the restart, with seven of those coming in defeats by Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. Before lockdown they conceded 56 in 28 games.

Lots has been said and written about the money Smith's side spent last summer to prepare for their return to the top flight, and the club defended itself by claiming it was a necessary, long-term rebuild.

Those players should be much stronger for the experience of a top-flight season, and if they can maintain just an element of their defensive improvement, they have a great chance.

But safety will also hinge on their ability to solve their problems at the other end - while their defence got better, their already modest 1.2 goals per game dropped to 0.7.

Ollie Watkins has been heavily linked and a striker like him would have to arrive to both solve the issue of goalscoring, and add a pacy threat in behind which has been missing since Tammy Abraham's loan ended in May 2019.

The recruitment of Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest looks like an excellent piece of business, solving a problem that saw Smith use various different centre-halves in the right-back role during the closing weeks of last term.

Villa look to be better equipped now than they were last August, and that bodes well for their prospects of climbing away from the relegation battle.

West Ham boss David Moyes secured survival after being appointed mid-season

West Ham must have thought someone at the Premier League had a vendetta against them when the fixtures came out. Putting it mildly, they have an astonishingly difficult start.

After beginning at home to Newcastle, they play six matches against sides that finished in the top eight last season - they avoid Chelsea and Manchester United, if you're wondering.

While that's clearly harsh, and could lead to undue pressure being placed on David Moyes early in the campaign, their excellent end to 2019/20 showed me enough to think they won't be mired in the relegation dogfight this time around.

When discussing their chances of survival post-lockdown I wrote that they had too much quality, allied with a hard-nosed experienced coach, to be relegated. I am sticking by that.

Brighton won plenty of admirers during their maiden season under Graham Potter, but didn't earn the points their performances deserved. Much of that was down to them drawing a league-high 14 matches.

Their defensive record ended up being pretty poor too, something that will be helped immensely by Ben White's decision to sign a new four-year contract after a superb season on loan at Leeds.

Many of the goals Albion conceded came directly from individual errors that were a result of their commitment to playing out from defence, something White excels at.

Adam Lallana: Brighton's major summer signing thus far

Like Villa though, goals are a major problem.

Adam Lallana looks a good fit, but he won't fix that for them, and it's also tricky to know just how much the former Liverpool man has tailed off after several years in the wilderness at Anfield.

There will be three teams worse than Brighton in the Premier League this season, of that I'm pretty confident.

Unless Neal Maupay or Aaron Connolly - the most likely candidates - can discover their shooting boots though, it could be a close run thing.

The other contenders

Relegation odds:

Crystal Palace's manager Roy Hodgson signed a new one-year deal late last season

Newcastle and Crystal Palace are a marginally bigger price to be relegated than Aston Villa, both for similar, and fair, reasons.

There has been a lack of transfer activity for near enough the entire three years Roy Hodgson has been at Selhurst Park, something that was irking him enough that he almost left at the end of the season.

The former England boss was persuaded to sign a new one-year contract, and since then Palace have signed Ebere Eze from QPR for £20m. Only Norwich scored fewer than Palace's 31 goals last term, so the attacking midfielder should help with that.

Palace finished 14th in the end, but they were never in the relegation battle - not even close.

Hodgson's side were a big fancy for the drop when they lost their opening game at Sheffield United in tame fashion last August, for the exact same reasons that are being outlined this time around.

But they responded with a run that quickly put distance between themselves and the bottom three, and never looked back.

They did, however, lose seven of their nine Project Restart games, collecting only four points, so there should be genuine concern. Nathan Ferguson will solve a problem they've had at right-back since Aaron Wan-Bissaka left a year ago, but there hasn't been the major influx of players that Hodgson would have liked.

I really think they'll struggle this season.

Newcastle did make a raft of signings following Steve Bruce's appointment last summer, some of which have been roaring successes, i.e. Allan Saint-Maximin, and others complete flops, like Joelinton.

There has been real angst on Tyneside this summer because of the collapsed Saudi takeover and consequent uncertainty, while on the pitch just two post-lockdown wins did nothing to encourage supporters ahead of 2020/21.

But similar to Palace, they had very little to play for when the season got back under way. Come September 12 they'll have plenty.

Steve Bruce did a terrific job under trying circumstances last term, as it was never going to be easy succeeding Benitez. Jeff Hendrick was the only early arrival, but crucially they didn't lose anyone despite plenty of rumours surrounding Saint-Maximin and Matty Longstaff - and they're close to adding three great signings.

Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis could all sign before the season starts, and that changes the make-up of this squad completely.

The campaign might be a lot smoother for the Magpies if those new additions are made than it will be for Palace, but both clubs will have just about enough to survive in my book.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has been in charge since 2012

BURNLEY though, who finished 10th last season, might well not.

If Bruce and Hodgson think they are working under difficult circumstances then spare a moment for Sean Dyche.

The Clarets are in the same boat as Palace in terms of being consistently written off, but seeming to thrive off it, and that was typified by their performances after lockdown. It defied all logic.

Players were forced to play out of position because of contract disputes and injuries, with only 13 senior pros available. And yet they lost only twice.

Dyche was at loggerheads with his board over their refusal to agree short-term extensions to tide his squad over for the elongated season, with club bosses keen to be prudent.

It exposed the first signs of Burnley's long-serving boss becoming frustrated with the stubborn frugality enforced by the Turf Moor accountants. While performances on the pitch saw that disquiet fade away, what should worry Clarets fans is that the problems Dyche was dealing with still exists.

Creating a siege mentality is far easier over a shortened period of time, and so is coping with so few players for a small number of games when you are already safe in the Premier League. Doing that for 38 matches is another story.

I really fear for the Clarets this season. They have overachieved for so long with Dyche at the helm and the very nature of over-achievement is that it's unsustainable. To expect it to continue with depleted resources is unrealistic.

Of course, there is still a month to put things right, so I could end up with egg face on my face, but as things stand I think Burnley are heading for the Sky Bet Championship.

I really wouldn't be surprised to see Dyche walk before it gets to that stage too.

Now the smaller, 28/1 bet of Burnley, Fulham and West Brom to be relegated in any order is one I like because of the circumstances at each club that I've outlined.

But a smaller bet on the correct order of Burnley 18th, Fulham 19th and West Brom 20th feels like it naturally presents itself by how I've come to rank each side's prospects. And at 100/1 then I can't bring myself to leave it out of the staking plan.

Pitting the trio head to head, the Clarets have to edge things given their consistent performances over recent seasons, even with the potential for meltdown should Dyche call time on his tenure.

So then it comes down to splitting Fulham and West Brom.

Although they seem to be approaching the campaign in a similar, sensible manner, I cannot look past Albion's horrendous long-term form which makes splitting them fairly straightforward.

The unlikely quartet

Relegation odds:

To round off I'll keep this very brief. I would keep your money firmly in your pocket if you're considering backing Everton, Wolves or Leicester to be relegated.

I do have a slight concern for Wolves this season as they are facing restrictions on spending following a warning over a Financial Fair Play breach (although that's not stopped them making a club-record £35.6m signing), and Nuno is yet to commit to a new deal, but that could merely mean they slide into mid-table - not the bottom three.

Danny Ings' superb season earned him an England call-up

Southampton though, could be worth switching into your treble instead of Burnley to boost the price to 80/1, or even as a separate 10/1 flutter on their own.

Yes, they performed superbly last season under Ralph Hasenhuttl by finishing 11th and collecting 52 points, but a lot of that can be put down to Danny Ings having the season of his life. Can they count on him to score 25 goals in all competitions again?

And it cannot be forgotten that while it did prove to be a turning point for the team, Southampton still have the same group of players that were beaten 9-0 at home by Leicester in October last year.

Any team that can lose a match 9-0 at home must surely be considered as a relegation candidate.

Odds correct at 0700 BST (07/09/20)

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