|By PAUL GOUGH
Struggling English Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Newcastle United meet in a high-stakes relegation battle on Tuesday [Wednesday morning Australian time] in a match which has punters baffled.
The clash between 16th-placed Newcastle and 17th-placed Villa is the clear stand-out of the four Premier League matches being played on Tuesday.
And the stakes could hardly be higher, with the loser to take a step closer to the dreaded prospect of relegation to England's Championship competition.
It seems unthinkable that either Villa or Newcastle - two of the best-supported clubs in England - could be relegated.
But Villa find themselves just a point above the relegation zone, having gone winless in their past six league matches.
Newcastle are only one point better off after an even worse run of just two wins from their past 18 matches in all competitions.
|Stoke City and Man City to win on Tuesday at Betfair
||Sunderland to win v Swansea at $2.52 at Betfair|
Reading at $1.48 and Queens Park Rangers at $1.56 remain the clear favourites to go down in Betfair's relegation markets, but Villa are now favourites to fill the other relegation position at $1.98, ahead of Wigan at $2.38, Southampton at $3.50 and Newcastle at $4.70.
As for the huge clash at Villa Park, betting is virtually even, with the home side priced at $2.82 at Betfair.
At sportsbet.com.au, it is Villa who are the $2.50 favourites, ahead of Newcastle at $2.80 with the draw paying $3.30.
At Betfair, there has been good support for all three main betting options, with Newcastle attracting 48 percent of money, Villa 36 percent and the draw 16 percent.
Put simply, both sides appear to have forgotten how to win, and - with two of their past three matches also having ended in draws - backing the draw looks the way to go again in this one.
The other three games look more straight forward, with reigning champions Manchester City short but virtual certainties at $1.51 to win away against bottom-placed QPR at $8 at Betfair, with the draw priced at $4.60.
QPR are some four points adrift at the bottom of the table, while City are in second spot and five points from of leaders Manchester United.
QPR are also coming off a humiliating home loss to League Two club MK Dons in the FA Cup.
In the other two games, we fancy the home sides, with Stoke priced at $2.06 with Betfair at home to Wigan at $4.10.
Elsewhere, improving Sunderland look good value at home paying $2.52 against Swansea, who may well have a downer after the thrill of reaching their first major cup final in the League Cup last week, at odds of $3.15.
* Note prices subject to change