It’s all looking interesting at the wrong end of the Premiership table, as Birmingham City, Reading, Fulham and Bolton fight it out to avoid being the two clubs joining Derby in the Championship next season. Fulham and Bolton have strung some wins together recently to claw their way out of the drop zone. Indeed, it would take a severe fluke (or the hammering that Chelsea need to win the Premiership title) for Bolton to go down now, and that is reflected in their 200/1 odds to be relegated (Blue Square, Bet365 and 888sport).
So leaving Bolton out of the equation, it’s any two from three – and only Fulham know that a win away at Portsmouth should be enough to keep them up – The match odds favour them too, with the best odds for Fulham to beat Portsmouth currently 6/5 (VC bet and Paddy Power), whilst you can get 12/5 on the home team (Sky Bet). Fulham’s odds for relegation are just 4/5.
Reading however appear to be in freefall at the moment, and can’t buy a win for love nor money. They arguably have the easiest tie of the endangered teams – away to already relegated whipping-boys Derby. Steve Coppell’s side are 8/13 to leave Pride Park with all three points (VC Bet), whilst you can get 5/1 on a Derby win (also VC Bet). Even if they win, Reading will still need to rely on Fulham slipping up against Portsmouth, unless they can win by seven more goals than Roy Hodgson’s side. Reading are currently 8/13 (Ladbrokes and totesport) to be playing Swansea, Plymouth and Barnsley next season.
Birmingham are the only side whose fate is not in their own hands – To stay up, they must beat Blackburn Rovers at home, whilst hoping that both Reading and Fulham fail to win in their matches at Derby and Portsmouth. Their odds to beat Blackburn are a fairly respectful 11/10 (Totesport, William Hill and others), but their odds to be relegated reflect their dire position, with William Hill pricing a Blues relegation as short as 1/9. The best odds currently available are just 1/6 (totesport)