Bookies yet to be convinced of Leeds United’s reawakening TSS July 11, 2013 Leeds United 34 Comments Despite our first seven-figure signing in eight years, along with the additions of Noel Hunt and Matt Smith, the bookies still aren’t convinced of Leeds United’s title chances for 2013/14. What’s interesting is that when I checked the Championship odds for an article last month, before Leeds United broke the bank for Luke Murphy, The Whites were considered ninth favourites to win the Championship – the exact same position the bookies have us in today. Perhaps the lack of movement in the odds is a reflection of how difficult the Championship is to call. Take William Hill for example where you often get the best football odds, they have Leeds United at 14/1 to win the league and 14/1 to be relegated from it. They consider there to be an equal chance of both possible outcomes. Is there any other league in the world where a team could be considered to have an equal chance of winning the league as they do getting relegated from it? Can you imagine if the Premiership was so difficult to predict that the bookies gave teams equal odds on winning the title as they do going down? It doesn’t happen because the Premier League always has clear and unmistakable favourites. Only a handful of teams are considered capable of winning the title and you’d get hundreds, probably thousands to one on them going down. The chasing pack meanwhile are only ever one bad season away from relegation. You only have to look at Newcastle United’s relegation a couple of seasons back. Outside the top 4-5 of teams in the Premier League, those lucky few who’ve grown so powerful they’ll never be relegated, there’s a much better chance of going down than there is of winning the title. It makes the Premier League very easy to call. But that’s not true of the Championship. So common is its usage, calling the Championship “the toughest league in the world to predict” is bordering on cliché, but how else do you explain the lack of effect a positive transfer window (thus far at least) has had on our odds? The only alternative explanation is that the bookies don’t believe our transfer dealings have improved the squad or they’re expecting something to offset the positives – like the sale of a key player for example? Maybe they’ve seen one too many false dawns at Leeds United and are now struggling to predict what we’ll do next? I know I do. But these last eleven days, Leeds United fans have been more optimistic than I’ve seen them in years. Most seem to be expecting further signings when the team gets back from Slovenia, everyone seems to have total faith in Brian McDermott and very few are expecting the sale of key players. Have we been getting a little carried away? Are the bookies right to be cautious or is this really a new dawn for Leeds United?