Is 2020 the year the Leeds United finally puts 15 years of hurt behind it with a return to the Premier League? Here, Peter Watton from matched betting experts OddsMonkey analyses the odds for promotion and other possibilities.
If you’re a Leeds United fan, you’re probably sick and tired of hearing the phrase “doing a Leeds” bandied about whenever a big team is threatened with relegation or financial turmoil. Wouldn’t it be nice if the club could complete a comeback and bring this troubled chapter in its history to a close?
Well, with a top manager and a talented squad, could this be the season everything changes? Let’s take a look at what the bookies are saying about promotion, the manager, and the top goal scorer.
Will Leeds United get automatic promotion or the playoffs this season?
There’s good news for United fans here: Leeds are odds on favourites to gain automatic promotion, priced at 8/11. Their main rivals are Fulham (2/1), West Brom (2/1), and Swansea (7/1), who are all currently sitting at much longer odds. And, the bookmakers are almost certain that Leeds will at least finish within the top six playoff places, with odds of 1/9 offered, as well as 13/2 on the club winning promotion via Wembley.
Looking at these odds, it seems like the bookmakers think that United will be able to go further than last season by securing a top two position. This means that, despite losing key players like Pontus Jansson and Kemar Roofe in the summer, the bookies still think that this Leeds squad are good enough. Personally, I think we’ll get a true picture after the busy Christmas period, as this is where United lost their way in 2018-19. If Marcelo Bielsa can keep a small squad motivated and firing on all cylinders, then automatic promotion will be within their reach.
Will a Leeds player be the Championship top goal scorer?
Ever since Chris Wood left in 2017, Leeds’ players have struggled to break the 20-goal barrier usually needed to have a chance of being the Championship’s top scorer. Instead, they’re able to spread the goals across the team, with players like Pablo Hernández, Mateusz Klich, and Kalvin Phillips pitching in with vital goals. While this is a great strength in the push for promotion, it makes it more unlikely that the league top scorer will be a Leeds player.
According to the bookies, the team’s best bet is Patrick Bamford, who is priced at 12/1 to be the top scorer in the division. While he’s capable of bagging a few goals, his best at this level is 17, which he managed for Middlesbrough in 2014-15. A speculative bet would be to back Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah at 33/1 — while he is untested at senior level, he had a prolific record during his youth years that could well transfer over to the Championship.
Will Marcelo Bielsa still be Leeds manager at the end of the season?
Marco Bielsa is something of a hero in West Yorkshire. Leeds United fans have taken to his great personality, forthright honesty, and his all-action brand of football. If he were to leave, there would be many supporters left with a sick feeling in their stomach — but with the team doing well, why would he?
It is, however, important to remember that Bielsa is notoriously fiery, temperamental, and not afraid of leaving town if things aren’t going his way — just look at his two-day stint at Lazio and his 13-game reign as Lille boss. Thankfully, as long as the team continue to perform to his liking and he feels like he has the board’s backing, this shouldn’t happen. That’s why there’s not currently a betting market for Bielsa to leave the club, nor is he mentioned in the various “sack race” stakes.
The real question is whether he sticks around beyond the end of the current season, and this likely hinges on whether the team can achieve promotion. I think, if the club is promoted, he won’t be able to resist a go in the Premier League, but, if they fail, he won’t fancy a third attempt at promotion from the Championship.
If you want to place a bet on Championship promotion this season, you won’t find more certain odds than those currently offered on Leeds United. As long as the squad stays fit and Marcelo Bielsa stays on, they’ve got a fantastic chance.