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Sunderland a big price for the Premier League drop
4:15pm Friday 15th March 2013 in Sport
If Sunderland aren't careful they could be sucked into a relegation scrap and the encouragingly high odds of 9/1 with Skybet for the Black Cats to go down, will fall considerably if Martin O'Neill's side loses Sunday's home game with Norwich.
However, a defeat is considered unlikely by bookies, BetVictor rating the Canaries as 14/5 outsiders and Stan James installing Sunderland as 21/20 favourites.
Betfred post 12/5 against the stalemate and that might prove popular given that O'Neill's men have drawn two of their last three at home while Stan James price the contest at 16/1 to finish 2-2. For home supporters seeking some insurance, Paddy Power rate Sunderland at 4/9 in the Draw No Bet market.
Aided by home advantage and up against a fairly unconvincing Canaries, however, the Black Cats should really end their six-match winless streak and bet365 offer 11/4 about them winning by a one-goal margin. Ladbrokes post 8/1 against a 2-1 Sunderland success and Steven Fletcher, who grabbed the opener at QPR a week ago is 11/2 (Coral) to repeat the feat.
Five teams, including Newcastle, are on 33 points and that means there's plenty of scope for the Magpies to finish in the top half of the table. They'll have to improve on the road though and Stan James make them 21/10 to start as they mean to go on in that department by registering only their second away victory of the campaign, at Wigan.
The Latics are BetVictor's 7/5 favourites and it's 12/5 with Coral for a draw, a wager that won't be without support given United's recent improvement allied with their shaky-looking travelling record.
Similarly, bet365's 3/1 marked against a score draw is set to be popular while Stan James 14/1 for it to be 2-2 and as underdogs, Newcastle are given a handicap leg up, bet365 providing them with a goal start at 3/5.
Nevertheless, a combination of a potential hangover from the Latics' FA Cup success a week ago and the fact that they were mauled 4-0 by Liverpool in their last home match, could hand the initiative to United, who are 10/1 (bet365) to edge it 2-1 and 13/2 (Skybet) to take a 1-0 lead via Papiss Cisse.
Middlesbrough's play-off hopes took another knock last weekend at Bristol City but Tony Mowbray's men are back on home soil today and are fancied at 11/10 with Ladbrokes to get back on track by beating Birmingham, BetVictor's 3/1 underdogs.
It's 13/5 at bet365 to finish all square but Boro beat leaders Cardiff in their last Riverside contest and that will give fans confidence.
Coral quote a repeat of the 2-1 scoreline from that home success at 10/1, it's 9/4 with Stan James for them to possess a lead at the end of each half and Skybet go 11/4 about a Boro one-goal triumph.
Stan James make it 4/5 for both teams to find the net, bet365 quote 19/20 for the sides to conjure up three or more goals between them and the first of those is a 13/2 chance courtesy of BetVictor to be struck by Marvin Emnes.
In League One, Hartlepool head to Coventry as William Hill's 19/5 outsiders and priced at 14/5 by bet365 to draw.
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com
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