Punters are scanning the Premier League outright betting markets with much colder eyes following Leicester’s truly shocking title victory last term, but can anyone replicate the Foxes’ feat?
When looking for parallels, the club that bounces to mind is Sunderland considering the Black Cats look doomed to Championship football in spring before breaking free of the relegation zone, as the current champions did 12 moths previously.
That being said, you’d have to be truly off your hinges to punt on the Black Cats winning the league for the first time since 1936 at 750/1, with new boss David Moyes’ transfer business so far consisting of three out-of-favour Manchester United youngsters and a Chelsea reject.
You may say the bookies have been wrong before, most notably when pricing up Leicester at 5000/1 to bag the title last year, but Sunderland’s 12/1 odds to beat Manchester City on opening day at the Etihad give an indication as to where Moyes’ boys are in the pecking order.
Stoke might attract optimistic punters’ interest at 500/1, after finishing ninth in each season of Mark Hughes’ impressive three-year spell so far.
The Potters are yet to lose a significant player to the transfer gulls, adding Wales dynamo Joe Allen and Egyptian enigma Ramadan Sobhi to a settled squad.
However, the side best placed to ‘do a Leicester’ this term are surely 80/1 West Ham, following arguably their best top-flight campaign since the mid-1980s.
Boss Slaven Bilic has added nine new players to the squad that bagged the most Irons goals and points in the Premier League era, including new £20.5m record signing Andre Ayew from Swansea.
Bilic proved himself more than a match for the best coaches around, beating Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City on the road while avoiding defeat away to Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester.
Having finished just three wins off runners-up the Gunners in 2015/16, the fourth-best travellers in the division last term ought to receive a home lift after moving to their new London Stadium (formerly the Olympic Stadium) headquarters.
At 80/1, West Ham look the likeliest outsiders to lift what would be, like Leicester, their first top-flight title.