Wolves are emerging as the Premier League ‘s form team as they eye a shock top-four finish.
Wolves at 75/1 with Paddy Power to finish in the top four
Eyebrows were raised when Wolves turned to Bruno Lage as Nuno Espirito Santo’s successor last summer.
Nuno had jumped ship, taking over at Tottenham Hotspur (which did not prove the most inspired of moves) but Lage’s arrival at Molineux hardly set pulses racing in the Black Country.
He had been out of work for a year following his time at Benfica and Wolves fans must have worried about his lack of experience in top-flight management.
The amiable Portuguese has been coaching teams for 25 years but often at youth level or as an assistant manager – as he was for Carlos Carvalhal at Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City.
“Coady is a leader, he is our captain and I am very proud to work with him."
- Conor Coady is 3 years away from a testimonial.
We'd love him to have one!#wwfc #wolves pic.twitter.com/s2rXg13BpW
Yet results at the famous old Midlands outfit have been highly impressive during Lage’s tenure.
Slowly but surely, Wolves are emerging as a force to be reckoned with under the 45-year-old.
They lost their first three Premier League games of the season 1-0 and were unlucky to do so.
Since then, though, Lage’s team have not looked back.
Heading into Saturday’s trip to Brentford, Wolves have embarked on an eye-catching run.
They won at Brighton, drew at Chelsea, beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, dumped Sheffield United out of the FA Cup and overcame Southampton last weekend.
Lage has seen his team concede just one goal during that sequence and they are overflowing with self-belief ahead of the trip to West London.
Only Manchester City (13) have conceded fewer goals in the league than Wolves (15).
Wolves will have added motivation this weekend against Thomas Frank’s side after the Bees stung them at Molineux in September, winning 2-0.
Brentford have lost their past three Premier League games during the past 10 days, conceding 10 goals in the process.
Thomas Frank’s men have a knack of eking out important wins – beating Everton, Watford and Aston Villa at home in the past three months to keep their distance from the relegation zone.
But they are in danger of being dragged into trouble and Wolves should do a job on them this weekend.
Back a Wolves win at 13-8 with Betfair and, looking further ahead, could the men in black and gold create a major stir by sneaking into the top four?
It is worth noting that they are six points fourth-placed West Ham with two games in hand.
Paddy Power are offering odds of 75/1 for Wolves to finish in the top four, which is tempting to say the least given their current form.
Although they finished a disappointing 13th in Nuno’s final season last term, Wolves ended the previous two campaigns in seventh spot.
Thus a leap to the Champions League, while seismic, is certainly not inconceivable.
As for Brentford, they should be good enough to stay up but their recent form is a cause for concern.
Bookies such as Paddy Power and Betfair have them at 9/1 to be relegated, which might be worth a flutter given that all the teams around them have games in hand.
There is a huge relegation six-pointer at Vicarage Road on Friday night as Watford host fellow strugglers Norwich City.
This is a tough one to call, but both sides struggle to keep clean sheets so odds of 8/11 for both teams to score – available with 888 Sport, Paddy Power, William Hill and Betfred – is decent value.
Elsewhere at the bottom of the table this weekend and there is a huge clash between Leeds United and Newcastle United.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side are on a roll and should have enough quality to claim a third straight Premier League win.
In-form Whites winger Jack Harrison, who has four goals in his last two league outings, is 10/1 as first goal scorer.
Newcastle are currently 10/11 with numerous bookies to be relegated, but another defeat this weekend and those odds would surely shorten.