Newcastle on track for topping Premier League table in May
At the start of the season only six teams were really given any chance of winning the Premier League title and this list did not include Newcastle.
However, the divisional handicap betting market attempts to make it fairer and effectively hand all 20 Premier League teams an equal chance of winning the title.
All teams are given a handicap based on where they finished last season, meaning Manchester United start on scratch and Swansea begin with a 46-point head start.
With only 14 fixtures remaining, it is Newcastle that currently lead the way when their current points tally is added to their initial handicap.
Newcastle have 79 points in the updated table (42 legitimately and 37 as their handicap after finishing 12th last season), which leaves them two clear of nearest pursuers Norwich.
It is 4/5 in the Premier League odds that Newcastle top this particular table and it is hard to see many of the chasing pack accruing more points than Alan Pardew’s men over the duration of the campaign.
Things should only effectively get easier with some of Cheick Tiote returning from a lengthy spell out of the team, Yohan Cabaye coming back from a ban and Papiss Demba Cisse eager to impress in attack.
But Newcastle do still have away games with Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal to come this season and so there are ample opportunities for them to drop points.
Tottenham have 13 points to make up on Newcastle and Manchester City 16 points and these look the only clubs capable of bridging their respective deficits if Newcastle did collapse.
Aston Villa are perhaps the most recent under Martin O’Neill to be fully involved in the Champions League mix into the second half of a season, before fading tamely late on.
Tottenham are 5/1 to top the divisional handicap Premier League table, with Manchester City available at 11/4.
Current table (current points + handicap = new total)
Newcastle (42+37) 79
Norwich (32+45) 77
Swansea (30+46) 76
Tottenham (50+16) 66
Sunderland (33+32) 65
Stoke (30+34) 64
West Brom (26+38) 64
QPR (21+43) 63
Fulham (27+36) 63
Man City (57+6) 63
Wolves (21+38) 59
Bolton (20+37) 57
Aston Villa (28+28) 56
Blackburn (18+38) 56
Wigan (16+40) 56
Man Utd (55+0) 55
Everton (30+24) 54
Liverpool (39+12) 51
Arsenal (40+8) 48
Chelsea (43+2) 45