More than half a dozen teams will be aiming to reach the top of the pyramid – only three can make it
The Championship is the second tier in England’s football pyramid, but is arguably the toughest domestic challenge in the country. With prize money for reaching the Premier League now reaching the tens of millions in pounds, never have there been so many willing to risk so much to achieve promotion.
The upcoming campaign in the Championship promises to be one of the most intriguing rat races yet. One thing is for certain, the competition will be fierce over the next nine months.
First things first
Before you go any further, head on over to the Oddsshark website, find your favourite betting site and get your account up and running with your credit card. As a new customer and with the new league season only a few days away, there should be several promotions on offer for you to enjoy.
Where should I be investing my money?
Of course, the majority of the focus on the Championship falls on those challenging for promotion. This season that number is likely to reach double figures, with two promoted automatically and places three to six entering a knock-out format play-off.
A logical place to start is with the teams that have come down from the Premier League. Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion were both relegated last season and it will therefore come as little surprise that they are the two front runners to make an immediate return to the promised land.
Stoke are the favourites to win the title outright at a price of 6.00, with West Brom right behind them priced at 9.00. When it comes to a more straightforward bet on promotion, regardless of the method, that price drops to just 2.50 for Stoke and 3.50 for Albion, according to Oddsshark.
Stoke will start their season at Leeds, another club who may well be worth keeping an eye on over the course of the season. The Yorkshire outfit only managed to finish 13th last season, but are at 13.00 to cause an upset and take the league crown.
Again, that price drops when the subject is just promotion, and in Leeds’ case it goes down to 5.50. At a competitive price of 4.50, you may also back them to finish as the top Yorkshire club in the division, although Middlesbrough are the favourites for that particular crown at 2.10, meaning you could still more than double your money by backing the Teesiders.
One club who came painstakingly close to a Premier League return last season was Aston Villa.; Steve Bruce’s side made it all the way to the play-off final before losing out to Fulham at Wembley.
Now under new ownership, it remains to be seen what their plans for the club will be or even whether Bruce will remain as manager. Like Leeds, however, Villa are at 13.00 to win the title and their best bet may be trying to make it up via the play-offs once again.
Villa are at just 2.87 to finish the league campaign in the top six, meaning you could almost triple your investment should they manage to do so. The odds on a Villa promotion back to the Premier League are slightly longer at 5.50, but should Bruce remain at the helm of the ship then they have every chance of doing so.
This season, Aston Villa start their league campaign with a tricky away day to Hull City, a club who only finished 18th last season but will be looking to make a marked improvement this term. And it is Hull, at 2.50, who come in as slight favourites to pick up an opening day win, with Villa just a little further out at 2.80.
Meanwhile, it should also be worth keeping an eye on the clubs who could fall through the trapdoor into England’s third tier – League One. The out and out favourites for the drop are Bolton Wanderers, who only managed to survive last season by the skin of their teeth.
In May, Bolton finished just two points above the drop zone, but they may not get so lucky this season. You could potentially double your money by backing Wanderers to suffer relegation at a price of 2.00.
Also in danger are newly promoted Rotherham United, who have only just been promoted from League One. They are only just ahead of Bolton at a price of 2.10, while stalwarts Ipswich Town are at 4.00 to face the drop.
Odds to win the Championship league title:
West Brom (9.00)
Nottingham Forest (11.00)
Aston Villa (13.00)