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April 16 2021 10.09am

Why bookmakers are clipping the odds on Palace relegation dogfight

February 22 2021

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A run bereft of points at the tail end of last season, combined with a tricky few fixtures in the closing weeks of this campaign have got a number of bookmakers putting Palace as one of the favourites to go down this season.

A wretched run of form

The extraneous circumstances of last season's unexpected Premier League hiatus did not bode well for Roy Hodgson's side. Flashback to this time last season, Palace were about to break ground on a run of form that was hastily halted by a mid-March pause to Premier League football.

Following a June return to football around Europe, it saw Hodgson's side fail to win all but one of their remaining nine matches in the worst run of form since the Croydon-born manager took over from Frank de Boer in September 2017.

This is just one of the factors that has led many bookmakers around the world to drop the odds on Palace as a relegation contender this season. Out of all international bookmakers Australian betting sites are currently offering the highest odds.

The bookmakers currently have Palace as third favourites of those teams outside the drop zone to get relegated this season. At around 11/1 only Burnley and Newcastle are rated as more likely to be playing Championship football next season.

Fast flurry of matches could make the difference

Hodgson's Palace certainly had trouble with the reboot last season and one of the key problems they encountered was the quick turnaround of matches. For example, Palace had to play back to back games against Leicester, Chelsea and Villa in a period of just eight days.

A truncated Premier League this season has been a direct result of a late finish to the last campaign and the upcoming European Championship this summer. It means Palace, like others, still have to play games with a faster turnaround but not at the same level as the closing stages to last season.

Hodgson has proven previously that he can see out the final stages of a season with a strong finish given the appropriate preparations can be made. The 2018-19 season as well as Hodgson's inaugural campaign prior to that saw his Palace side register four and three victories out of their final five matches respectively.

Top 6 clashes coming thick and fast

So what is it that has the bookies spooked then? Since the New Year, the Eagles form has been patchy but then that comes as no surprise to any team sitting just shy of mid-table. The answer most certainly lies in a difficult run of matches that sees us march into the final third of the season.

In a matter of just a few short weeks the Eagles still have to navigate difficult fixtures against Manchester United, Manchester City, Leicester City, Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool, the latter two the final fixtures of this season's campaign.

That's before you even mention the likes of West Ham, Everton and Aston Villa who have all been punching above their weight, fighting for European places this season.

No wonder the odds on Hodgson's side have been sliced. The big question is whether the boss can whip his side into shape like he has done in season's past or whether the Eagles will be relying on the dire form of those below them to avoid the drop.

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