Brighton missed a huge opportunity to put pressure on Championship leaders Newcastle United last weekend; ultimately coming up short after being held to a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at the Amex on Friday.
The result was more of a compliment to Steve Bruce’s Villa side than a detractor to the Seagulls.
Since the former Hull City and Birmingham boss took charge, Villa are unbeaten in six and have seen their odds slashed from 8’s to 4-1 to seal an immediate Premier League return.
Brighton are a much shorter price at 4/7 and remain in pole position to chase Newcastle home in second place.
The Magpies cruised into a five-point lead at the top with a comprehensive 2-0 defeat of Leeds last weekend and are now as short as 1/50 (having started the season as 8/11 favourites) with BetVictor to bounce straight back to the Premier League.
Villa are odds-on to bounce back to winning ways at the weekend, 17/20 favourites when welcoming Cardiff to Villa Park, and are now part of a quartet of sides well-backed to achieve promotion.
Newcastle, Villa and Norwich all have the benefit of parachute payments to help them settle into life in the Championship and it is a credit to Brighton that they are competing with three clubs of enormous wealth in their pursuit of the promise land.
The Seagulls boast the most settled squad of the four and, currently 6/1 for the title, are likely to shorten further with success when hosting Fulham at the Amex on Saturday; Brighton 9/10 favourites with BetVictor, the visitors 3/1 and the draw 5/2.
Chris Hughton’s side have won eight of their last eleven league games and should extend that terrific run of form at the Cottagers’ expense, and appear over-priced at both 85/40 to beat the visitors to nil and an even bigger 5/2 to be leading at both half-time and full-time.
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