What is realistically within Stoke City’s grasp this season?
But the data analysts are different, objective beasts who can’t be swayed by someone in the Far East taking a big bet.
And infogol’s complicated and trusted algorithm currently has Stoke most likely to finish in the play-offs when the Championship music finally stops in May.
Bournemouth and Norwich are the most likely to finish in the top two, with Watford, Brentford and Swansea City tipped to make up the rest of the top six.
It’s seventh for Rowett’s Millwall – and bye bye Derby County, Coventry and Wycombe Wanderers at the other end.
He said: “Faith in the current league table runs from the often heard “the table never lies” to the opposite extreme where it is “too early to call”, but the truth, with a little bit of statistical manipulation, lies somewhere between these two standpoints.
“It’s hugely important to know where your team comes in the league pecking order. Primarily, to manage expectations.
“An overly optimistic projection, based wholly on current league position, may be due to a soft early schedule and a liberal dose of good fortune. A complacent January status quo then may leave a side exposed to a post-New Year relegation fight when more accomplished opponents are faced and good luck recedes to more usual levels.
“Similarly, a team languishing at the foot of the table may have readily identifiable reasons for the slump in results and have an otherwise a solid foundation to climb the table. They can hold off from hitting the panic button.
“Actual match outcomes define the present league table, but a team’s underlying defensive and attacking process is more influential in deciding the direction a side is going and this can greatly inform any major policy decisions in the upcoming months.
“Evaluating a team’s overall worth requires a large body of performance related evidence. Data is drawn not just from the present season, but also earlier matches. But to ensure evolving trends are captured, more recent key performance indicators are given greater weight than those from months ago.”
Latest Championship relegation odds
Wycombe 1/5; Derby, Rotherham 13/8; Coventry 2/1; Sheffield Wednesday 3/1; Birmingham 4/1; Huddersfield, Luton 5/1; QPR 11/2; Nottingham Forest 7/1
Latest Championship promotion odds
Bournemouth 8/11; Norwich 4/5; Brentford, Watford 13/8; Swansea 7/2; Blackburn 4/1; Middlesbrough 9/2; Stoke 5/1; Bristol City, Reading 9/1