We're just under half way through the league season now and with 26 games left on the slate our fortunes can still go either way. Last month the bookies rated us as 14/1 shot to get promoted and 25/1 to go down, so how has the last month affected things?
Stay tuned to find out how the odds are trending and if there's any value to be had in the markets.
Our last bookie watch was on November 5 and can be found here, so how's the outlook changed? All odds are the best price available via oddschecker on December 7, 2011.
To Be Promoted
DEC 7 NOV 5 SEPT 27
West Ham 2/5 8/11 8/13
Southampton 1/2 8/13 6/4
Cardiff 11/4 11/2 6/1
Leicester 7/2 3/1 2/1
Middlesbrough 7/2 10/3 13/5
Birmingham 6/1 9/2 11/1
Leeds 9/2 7/1 8/1
Hull 10/1 6/1 8/1
Reading 14/1 14/1 12/1
Odds Shortening Odds Lengthening
Source: Oddschecker 7/12/11
So in the eyes of the bookies theres been no real change to our promotion prospects in the last month, with 14/1 still the best price you can get on the Royals to be playing Premier League football next season. Our shortest odds are 12/1 while on Betfair, which is punter to punter - the exchange has us about 9/1 , though that difference in price is typical on such exchanges.
In terms of winning the league you can now get a price of 150/1 with Stan James, with most of the other bookies having us about 80/1 as we were last month. If you fancy betting on the Royals to finish in the top six our odds have shortened very slightly with Coral who have us at 3/1 as opposed to last months 10/3
Elsewhere it's the bookmakers still make West Ham and Southampton strong favourites to go up, with both clubs odds on and West Ham now 2/5 to make it back at the first attempt, with Sam Allardyce's side now favourites ahead of the Saints. Cardiff are the big movers this month with their odds halving to 11/4, while Birmingham have drifted out to 6/1, having been 9/2 last month.
To be Relegated DEC 7 NOV 5 27 Sept
Coventry 2/7 11/13 11/8
Doncaster 1/2 8/15 4/7
Portsmouth 6/4 7/1 7/1
Bristol City 11/4 EVS 5/2
Watford 11/4 5/2 3/1
Reading 25/1 25/1 20/1
Source: Oddschecker 7/12/11
So our chances of relegation remain a longshot at 25/1 with the bookmakers rating 14 more teams as more likely to go down.
Coventry are the favourites to go down at 7/2 ON while Doncaster are also odds on to join them in League One next season. Portsmouth have also joined them amongst the favourites to get relegated, with Michael Appleton's side now 6/4 from 7/1 last month, reflective of the growing financial uncertainty around the football club. Bristol City and Watford have seen their survival odds increase, with no other club shorter than 6/1.
In the top goalscorer stakes Southampton's Rickie Lambert is a 2/1 favourite to win the golden boot with his nearest challenger Ross McCormack at 9/1 followed by Nicky Maynard and Billy Sharp at 16's. Reading wise Adam Le Fondre remains at 40/1 to finish top of the pile, with Simon Church at 100/1 and Noel Hunt out at 150/1.
So what do you make of it all? is there value to be had in a promotion bet on the Royals or have the bookies judged it right? let us know your thoughts below!