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The Championship season begins on Friday 3 August and you can back every team at 6/1 or bigger to land the title, which illustrates that this division is far more open than the Premier League.
Stoke City are the outright favourites and William Hill are currently the only firm chalking up 6/1 about the Potters storming back to the top flight by winning the league, with Gary Rowett poached from Derby County shortly after the last season had finished.
Oghenekaro Etebo looks an impressive prospect, with Joe Allen, Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch among those players remaining in the squad and we’ve seen Benik Afobe arriving to presumably plunder plenty of goals at this level.
West Brom come next in the betting at 8/1 (bet365) although the Baggies have been noticeably quieter during the summer thus far, with Darren Moore hired permanently to continue his excellent work of last term.
Swansea City are a bit bigger at 12/1 (bet365) and Graham Potter is the man charged with steering the Swans back to the promised land, although there have been a number of notable players leaving the Liberty Stadium and it could be a season of rebuilding.
Middlesbrough are the only other team trading at single figure odds (9/1 Ladbrokes), with Tony Pulis having steered his team to the play-offs last season before a feeble showing against Aston Villa.
Adama Traore remains one of the best players in the Championship and Britt Assombalonga will score goals, with Pulis’ side likely to boast one of the best defensive records in the division this term.
Nottingham Forest have been the biggest market movers since the initial prices came out, with the Tricky Trees under new ownership and there have been signings galore including Lewis Grabban who has made the switch from Aston Villa.
Forest are 10/1 with Paddy Power and could be along similar lines to Wolves last season, with Aitor Karanka having the sort of expertise to land promotion with the Midlands club.
Leeds United are a 12/1 poke with bet365 and they’re also a lively contender who have Marcelo Bielsa at the helm, although this will almost certainly end in tears at Elland Road.
There are rumours that Thierry Henry is about to become the new manager at Aston Villa and odds of 14/1 (Ladbrokes) are available that the Villans go one better than their play-off defeat last season. However, the Birmingham club seem to have a few issues with financial constraints.
Derby County could go well under Frank Lampard and BetVictor have 14/1 that the Rams win the league under their new manager, while Brentford might fare well under Dean Smith and they are a 16/1 poke with William Hill.
At a bigger price, we’re expecting Preston to go strongly and Alex Neil recently admitted that this North End squad was stronger than last term, with bet365 offering 33/1 about a Championship title success.
Skybet League One
Two of the three relegated teams from the Championship sit top of the betting market for League One for next season, with Sunderland the slightly uncertain favourite at odds of 3/1 (Ladbrokes).
While Blackburn and Wigan looked like strong outfits twelve months ago before a ball was kicked, the same can’t be said about a Black Cats team who were largely a shambles last term although Jack Ross has arrived as the new manager.
Sunderland are also under fresh ownership, with Stewart Donald aiming to clear out dead wood and make some hasty recruits before the end of August, although the Wearside team are filed under “best watched” for now.
Barnsley are also a questionable price at 17/2 (Paddy Power) considering that they failed to stay afloat in the Championship last term, with Paul Heckingbottom’s departure largely accounting for a dip which now sees them adjusting to life in the third tier.
Burton Albion are more cash-strapped and Ladbrokes have 25/1 about the Brewers repeating their League One title heroics of three seasons ago, while Charlton Athletic are trading at 12/1 (William Hill) although the club’s ownership looks fragile and there are financial issues at The Valley which could be costly.
Therefore, if we’re prepared to draw a line through the front three in the betting, then Portsmouth, Peterborough and Luton Town could be picking up the pieces and we especially like a Hatters team fresh from enjoying promotion from League Two.
Nathan Jones’ side are on an upwards trajectory and they are worth a punt at 16/1 (bet365) to claim the League One title, with Danny Hylton and James Collins likely to prove to be one of the most potent strike pairings in the division.
Pompey are under the expert tutelage of Kenny Jackett and they look set to make an assault on the top six also, with Brett Pitman likely to be among the league’s leading scorers and they’re hard to write off at odds of 14/1 (Ladbrokes).
Peterborough United are a bigger question mark simply because they’re selling off some of the crown jewels, with Jack Marriott and Marcus Maddison expected to roll out of London Road although BetVictor go 14/1 that Steve Evans manages to work his magic.
Coventry City are another intriguing team after coming up through the play-offs and Paddy Power go 20/1 about the Sky Blues landing the spoils, with Plymouth trading at 25/1 and it should be noted that they fared pretty well under Derek Adams last time out.
Bradford are trading at a lumpy 25/1 (BetVictor) after a largely dismal showing last time out, while Fleetwood are going to attract interest due to Joey Barton
being at the helm. William Hill have 33/1 that the Cod Army are celebrating a League One title success when all is said and done.
Skybet League Two
Accrington Stanley won the League Two title at odds of 40/1 last season, so it would be unwise to rule out too many teams winning this division.
Indeed, several of the teams seem fairly evenly-matched, with only a handful having decent spending power and Notts County have to fall into that bracket after a number of new recruits this summer.
Kevin Nolan has been backed in the transfer market to go one better than last season’s play-off disappointment, with Kristian Dennis and Kane Hemmings arriving at Meadow Lane and that explains why William Hill go 6/1 about the Magpies.
MK Dons are trading at a similar price, with Paddy Power chalking up 13/2 about Paul Tisdale’s team, with the former Exeter manager deciding to take on a new challenge and it’s clear that he wants to deliver this club into the Championship over the next few seasons.
Lincoln City are the other team at single figure odds at 9/1 with bet365 and there have been some eye-catching signings in the form of John Akinde and Bruno Andrade, with Danny Cowley looking to further cement his reputation as a first-rate coach.
Mansfield were heavily backed twelve months ago, with Steve Evans spending decent cash to fund the Stags’ promotion charge although Town finished outside of the top seven and David Flitcroft seems like a pale imitation of his predecessor.
Swindon and Northampton are both trading at 12/1 with Ladbrokes although neither side catch the eye and we’re not too bothered about the 20/1 (bet365) about Oldham either, with Frankie Bunn an untested manager at this level.
Colchester look a more interesting proposition at 20/1 (BetVictor), given that John McGreal has built a physical squad at the Weston Homes Community Stadium. The former Tranmere defender will be eyeing a spot in the play-offs this season although they could end up even higher.
Exeter and Carlisle are both trading at 25/1 with bet365 but both are waking up to a new dawn after the exits of Tisdale and Curle, while Cambridge United are 25/1 with BetVictor and appear destined for mid-table mediocrity.
Tranmere gained promotion to League Two at the third time of asking and Micky Mellon will now look to consolidate the Wirral team in the fourth tier, with Rovers 33/1 with BetVictor and you can get Port Vale at the same odds with the same bookie.
Neil Aspin was an impressive rescue act last season and the former Halifax boss can be a shrewd operator at this level, while Gary Johnson could also improve with Cheltenham Town and the Robins could outrun their odds at 33/1 (Paddy Power).
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