Premier League Relegation Betting: Tigers roar into action as Brown bids for more than survival
Punters will take Hull more seriously after an opening day victory which bodes well for the chances of avoiding the drop, says Andrew Atherley.
Phil Brown gave us a laugh at breakfast time on Saturday when the morning papers quoted the Hull City manager outlining his ambitions for the season: "We want to set our sights high. Survival is not a word in our dictionary, we want to shoot higher than that."
Hang on a minute, Phil, what planet are you on? Don't you realise that Hull are starting the Premier League season as relegation favourites? Surely survival is the best you can hope for, and it is a slim hope at that.
With Brown also revealing that he had subjected his players to blood tests to see how stressed they were prior to Hull's first season in the top flight, it was easy to put him in the crackpot category.
But by Saturday teatime it was Brown who was smiling after Hull's 2-1 home victory over Fulham, and he may have the last laugh too, as that early win is a major positive for Hull's survival prospects.
There wasn't much adjustment to the relegation market on the basis of the opening-day results, yet it may pay punters to take Hull more seriously from now on. Certainly they are not the cast-iron certainties for the drop that the market suggested before a ball had been kicked in the 2008/09 season and they look too short for relegation at [1.44].
In the past 10 seasons, seven promoted teams have opened their Premier League campaign with a win and all seven have gone on to survive. Five of those seven wins came against teams that finished in the bottom half of the table and two were against relegated teams, which allays some of the doubt over the strength of opposition Fulham provided against Hull on Saturday.
You have to go back to the 1997/98 season to find the only promoted teams (Bolton and Crystal Palace) in Premier League history to start with a win and then go on to be relegated.
Hull certainly got a head start on this season's other two promoted teams, West Brom and Stoke City, who both started with a defeat. West Brom's was expected at Arsenal, though they acquitted well themselves pretty well after conceding an early goal, but for Stoke it was more worrying to start with a 3-1 loss at Bolton.
Past results for promoted teams indicate that West Brom and Stoke will need to join Hull in getting a quick win if they are to avoid becoming mired in the relegation zone.
The 30 clubs promoted to the Premier League in the past 10 seasons divide pretty neatly into two categories - the 17 teams that won at least one of their first three games, and the 13 that didn't. And those early results have been an accurate guide to the survival prospects of those teams.
Of the 17 teams that won in their first three games, 13 survived and only four were relegated. Meanwhile, of the 13 teams that didn't get an early win, 10 were relegated and just three survived. In other words, there is a 76% chance of survival for a promoted team that wins inside the first three games and a 77% chance of relegation for those that don't.
Having got a win on the board already, Hull can look towards the next milestone in their bid to avoid the drop - the 10-match mark at the end of October. Ten points is the magic figure here - 12 of the 15 promoted teams to reach double figures after 10 games have survived in the past 10 seasons, while 11 of the 15 teams to fall short have been relegated.
Hull need seven points from their next nine games to get into double figures, and Saturday's win must have given them confidence. Although their first 10 games include Arsenal away and Chelsea at home, they also have home games against Wigan and West Ham as well as a trip to West Brom. Their other early games are at home to Everton and away to Blackburn, Newcastle and Tottenham.
Hull have a platform to build on, having maintained the momentum from their promotion campaign, and their good start should entitle them to more respect in the market. While one result is far from conclusive proof that they will be competitive in the Premier League, laying them for relegation at [1.45] looks a reasonable play.'.$sign_up['title'].''; } } ?>