Bookies counting cost of 109-1 title treble
Those ante-post punters who trusted in the Football League favourites were toasting Jack Grealish after his late equaliser for Aston Villa against Brighton handed the title to heavily-backed market leaders Newcastle in the Sky Bet Championship.
Newcastle’s success at 15-8 followed on from 6-1 Sheffield United and 9-2 Portsmouth in the two lower divisions as all three favourites claimed the titles for the first time in recent betting history.
“Very costly” was how John Hill, spokesman for Coral described the result for his firm who had been at least joint-best price about all three in a treble that paid just over 109-1.
Steve Freeth of bet365 added: “We’ve done a fortune on the ante-post front. I’ve never seen a Football League side as well backed as this Newcastle team and we were counting the minutes down at Villa Park – now we are counting the cost after the ante-post banker of the season copped in the final stages.”
Brighton had been 1-40 to win the league at one stage but the 1-1 draw at Villa Park meant they failed to land a victory in their final three games, while Newcastle ended in style with a 3-0 battering of Barnsley to send the Toon Army wild with delight.
Rafael Benitez’s side had been as big as 5-1 when prices opened up on the second tier but were smashed up all summer long.
Blackburn were relegated despite beating Brentford 3-1 and the playoff semi-finals are known with Fulham clashing with Reading and Sheffield Wednesday meeting Huddersfield. Fulham are the 15-8 promotion favourites.
Second-half goals from Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck earned Arsenal a 2-0 victory over Manchester United and quotes of 4-1 to finish in the top four following Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Southampton where James Milner’s missed penalty proved costly for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Arsenal have four matches remaining – Southampton (away), Stoke (away), Sunderland (home) and Everton (home) and if they can take maximum points it will need Liverpool to win their last two fixtures to make next season’s Champions League.
Liverpool, who travel to West Ham and host Middlesbrough, are 1-4 for a top-four finish, while United are out to 14-1. Betfred cut United from 8-13 to 8-15 to win the Europa League with that their only realistic route into the Champions League.