Marouane Fellaini to be Everton’s top scorer – 5/2 (BetVictor)
The Belgian is currently two ahead of 8/13 favourite Nikica Jelavic, who hasn’t quite hit his straps yet this season, so looks decent value. He’s flourished in a more advanced role and, with his suspension behind him, has a point to prove.
Everton to reach 63 Premier League points – 9/10 (Stan James)
Even though the Champions League spots may drift out of Everton’s reach as injuries start to bite (they are currently an ill–advised 6/1 to finish in the top four), David Moyes’ men should be able to add another 30 points to their halfway total.
Phil Neville to be next permanent Everton manager – 14/1 (Stan James)
Moyes’s departure is not a scenario many Everton fans want to contemplate. But every time a top level job comes up, his name is first on the bookies’ lists. He’s 8/1 to start 2013-14 in the Old Trafford dugout, and 14/1 to be the first man sacked by Roman Abramovic next season. But if anything, Moyes seems revitalised by the Toffees’ fine 2012, insisting ‘my best is yet to come’. By the time he bids farewell to the Grand Old Lady, his skipper, who has spoken many times of a desire to move into coaching, may well be ready to step up. While not what you’d call ‘likely’, a progressive step like appointing Neville looks a better shout than the shorter–priced Harry Redknapp and Mark Hughes. Brendan Rodgers, by the way, is 33/1 – the same price as the second coming of Walter Smith.
Liverpool to win a major trophy – 13/2 (SkyBet)
OK, maybe it’s time to wave goodbye to the league title for another season. Maybe even the double of the FA Cup and Europa League (150/1) is asking a lot of Brendan Rodgers’s squad. But with reinforcements promised in January and Luis Suarez in the form of his life, an either/or bet looks a more tempting prospect.
Liverpool to finish in the top four – 9/1 (Stan James)
Last time Rodgers mentioned the top four as a realistic ambition, Liverpool were stuffed at home by Aston Villa, who celebrated by going on an unprecedented goal–conceding spree just to rub it in. But is it really that out of the question? Realistically, we can be fairly sure the top three will be the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea. West Brom will not keep up their early season form, leaving one Champions League slot up for grabs between Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal and Tottenham. In this context, 9/1 is quite generous – especially if Rodgers spends wisely in January.
Luis Suarez to be Premier League top scorer – 3/1 (BetVictor)
Robin Van Persie is favourite for a reason. But he’s been injury prone in the past, and after his brace at QPR, Suarez is one of three players trailing the Dutchman by just one goal. Of the other two, Demba Ba is likely to find himself as a smaller fish in a bigger pond by the end of January, while defences will get wise to Swansea’s Michu sooner or later. So as long as he can steer clear of injuries (and, of course, suspensions) Suarez is a decent outside bet.
Tranmere Rovers to win promotion from League One – 4/1 (widely available)
Oh, yes they can. Ronnie Moore has been talking down his side’s chances all season but they enter 2013 top of the table, having seemingly shrugged off the run of injuries and suspensions which saw them sink to, erm, second. Title odds of 14/1 on the team starting the year in pole position are very generous and while Rovers might struggle to hold off the powerhouses of Sheffield United in the long run, promotion – either automatic or through the play–offs – is not as far–fetched as Moore would have us believe.