Betting: Newcastle backed for a draw; Sunderland now evens to go down

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Sunderland’s disappointing 1-0 defeat at Tottenham last weekend has resulted in Paddy Power shortening the odds against them being relegated to even money.

It’s a market in which Saturday’s opponents, the once perennial strugglers Crystal Palace, are offered at 9/1 by BetVictor.com.

Indeed, despite being the away side, Palace arrive on Wearside priced as Marathonbet’s 17/10 favourites to secure maximum points, whereas winless Sunderland must assume the mantle of bet365’s 2/1 outsiders on their own patch; the stalemate can be backed at 23/10 (188bet).

Optimistic punters have taken advantage of Betfred’s generous-looking 5/1 chalked about both halves finishing on level terms, while 888sport rate Sunderland at 6/1 to win following a drawn opening period. In the correct score markets, Unibet’s 8/1 for the home side to register a 1-0 victory has proved tempting for those who suspect Sunderland can kick-start their campaign on Saturday.

Elsewhere, online firm Matchbook.com rate the likelihood of both sides scoring at 5/6 and in what promises to be a cagey affair, the correct score market’s most popular result is 1-1, priced at 6/1 by Winner.com.

Newcastle face a huge test of character when they travel to Villa Park on Saturday teatime for a match they kick off as Bwin’s 8/5 favourites to return to winning ways following last weekend’s unexpected 2-0 home defeat by Wolves.

However, it’s worth noting that there has been sustained support for the draw (12/5, 188bet) after bettingexpert.com reported that five of the pair’s last 11 meetings finished all square.

Betfred chalk an eye-catching 15/2 against the first half ending one apiece and punters who suspect that a drawn opening period will establish a trend for the second half can get 15/4 (bet365) against it finishing as a score draw.

Bullish sorts, meanwhile, can get 9/1 (Matchbook.com) against Newcastle bouncing back and recording a 2-1 victory.