Leicester odds timeline: The story of the biggest shock in sporting history
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | May 3, 2016
Leicester City’s 2015/16 Premier League title triumph will go down in the history books as one of, if not, the greatest sporting success story in history, and as a result bookies have suffered huge losses.
Coral’s Head of PR David Stevens said: “There has never been a sporting upset as huge as Leicester winning the Premier League title, with their pre-season odds as big as 5000/1, and they were still priced at 1500/1 going into November, as at that stage we simply did not believe the miracle would happen.
“However, plenty of punters did believe Leicester could go all the way, with 114 Coral customers placing bets at odds between 3000/1 and 1000/1, and they are now celebrating being part of a £20 million industry-wide payout.”
Below is a timeline of the Foxes’ season, showing how results and events affected their odds with Coral from 3000/1 all the way down to 1/20 and then finally the moment their fairytale story became reality.
You can currently take a 28/1 price for Leicester to defend their Premier League crown next season.
All the way back last summer and during the pre-season, lucky punters could take odds of 3000/1 with Coral on Leicester doing the impossible.
A thrilling 4-2 win over Sunderland on the opening day of the season (August 8th) saw their odds shorten to 2000/1, where it stayed for the rest of the month, despite a victory and draw respectively over fellow soon-to-be high-fliers West Ham United and Tottenham.
August odds changes
3000 – Summer
3000 – Pre-season
2000 – Leicester 4-2 Sunderland (8th)
2000 – West Ham 1-2 Leicester (15th)
2000 – Leicester 1-1 Spurs (22nd)
2000 – Bournemouth 1-1 Leicester (29th)
The start and end to September saw Leicester’s odds stay at 2000/1, but there was a brief moment when it shortened to 1500/1 after an away draw with Stoke City.
Claudio Ranieri’s men took crucial points off the Potters and Aston Villa (in a 3-2 comeback win), after going 2-0 down to both. A 5-2 thrashing at the hands of Arsenal at the King Power, though, meant their odds went back to 2000/1.
September odds changes
2000 – Leicester 3-2 Aston Villa (13th)
1500 – Stoke 2-2 Leicester (19th)
2000 – Leicester 2-5 Arsenal (26th)
Leicester went unbeaten in the league in October, which meant they had just one loss in 11 at this stage, after defeating their so-called relegation rivals Norwich City, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion by one goal apiece in close encounters.
On the 31st (Halloween), the Foxes had taken 22 points but were still a huge price at 1500/1 to win the Premier League.
October odds changes
2000 – Norwich 1-2 Leicester (3rd)
3000 – Southampton 2-2 Leicester (17th)
1500 – Leicester 1-0 Crystal Palace (24th)
1500 – West Brom 2-3 Leicester (31st)
November became the month when the bookies finally started to take notice of the East Midlanders, as they went a further three top-flight matches without defeat.
After beating Watford and then Newcastle United, their outright odds tumbled to 500/1 and then 100/1 respectively in the space of just two fixtures. While, a draw with Manchester United, in which Jamie Vardy scored in a record 11th successive match, meant they shortened further to 66/1.
November odds changes
500 – Leicester 2-1 Watford (7th)
100 – Newcastle 0-3 Leicester (21st)
66 – Leicester 1-1 Man Utd (28th)
The festive period is when Leicester started to be talked up as title contenders for the first time, as three consecutive wins saw them go down to 10/1, halving from 40/1 each time.
A mini blip after Christmas, however, meant they went up to 16/1 after losing to Liverpool on Boxing Day and managing a goalless draw with Manchester City three days later.
December odds changes
40 – Swansea 0-3 Leicester (5th)
20 – Leicester 2-1 Chelsea (14th)
10 – Everton 2-3 Leicester (19th)
14 – Liverpool 1-0 Leicester (26th)
16 – Leicester 0-0 Man City (29th)
The blip continued into January, after newly-promoted club Bournemouth held them to a 0-0 draw at the King Power, to put their odds out to 25/1. Bookies then believed that their bubble had finally burst.
However, that was followed by arguably the most important win of the campaign for the Foxes. Spurs and Leicester warmed up with a 2-2 result in the FA Cup at White Hart Lane, three days before Robert Huth provided the visitors with a late winner at the same ground. A comfortable defeat of Stoke at the end of the month saw their outright odds into single figures (8/1) for the first time.
January odds changes
25 – Leicester 0-0 Bournemouth (2nd)
11 – Spurs 0-1 Leicester (13th)
12 – Aston Villa 1-1 Leicester (16th)
8 – Leicester 3-0 Stoke (23rd)
Leicester momentum continued, and they made light of what was supposed to be a horrible fixture list against Liverpool, Man City and then Arsenal.
After beating the former duo with relative ease, they then became the favourites for the first time at 2/1, and even the last gasp loss to the Gunners didn’t hinder their price too much (9/4).
February odds changes
5 – Leicester 2-0 Liverpool (2nd)
2 – Man City 1-3 Leicester (6th)
9/4 – Arsenal 2-1 Leicester (14th)
11/4 – Leicester 1-0 Norwich (27th)
Many still believed that surely a team made of lower-league players and supposed rejects from other clubs would eventually falter, but the end of February until early April saw the Foxes show their maturity with five 1-0 wins from six games.
This month was a relatively easy run on paper, as Leicester went up against West Brom, Watford, Newcastle and Palace, who were all in the bottom half of the table. The Foxes dropped just two points from those close clashes, and were an odds-on price (10/11) for the first time after the Magpies match.
March odds changes
7/4 – Leicester 2-2 West Brom (1st)
13/8 – Watford 0-1 Leicester (5th)
10/11 – Leicester 1-0 Newcastle (14th)
5/6 – Crystal Palace 0-1 Leicester (19th)
With the end of season now in clear sight, Leicester kept their nerve, seeing off Southampton and Sunderland, before claiming a creditable draw with West Ham despite Jamie Vardy being sent off early into the second-half.
The Foxes finished the month in style by thrashing Swansea City 4-0 to all-but secure the title, to send their odds further tumbling (1/6 after the Hammers match).
April odds changes
1/2 – Leicester 1-0 Southampton (3rd)
2/9 – Sunderland 0-2 Leicester (10th)
1/6 – Leicester 2-2 West Ham (17th)
4/9 – Leicester 4-0 Swansea (24th)
After the victory over the Swans, Leicester needed just three points from their final three games to win their first top-flight title in their 132-year history, and they got one against Man Utd meaning Spurs had to win their remaining fixtures. They were as short as 1/20 at one stage.
Celebrations looked to be on hold after Tottenham went 2-0 up against London rivals Chelsea in a heated battle, but the latter eventually gained a draw, which meant party time at Jamie Vardy’s house judging by the celebrations!
— Christian Fuchs (@FuchsOfficial) May 2, 2016
May odds changes
1/20 – Man Utd 1-1 Leicester (1st)
Bookies pay out – Chelsea 2-2 Spurs (2nd)
For more Premier League content, and further reaction on Leicester City’s success, check out our dedicated archive.