Betting round-up: Open season in England's Championship
While the top contenders for the English Premier League crown seem clear, betting editor Paul Gough finds out it is hardly as cut and dried in the Championship
It may only be the second tier of English football, but as far as betting goes the English Championship consistently offers far better value to punters than the higher profile but far more predictable English Premier League.
And that is never better reflected than in title betting ahead of the 2012-13 season.
While only four clubs are being given a realistic chance of winning the EPL ahead of the nwe campaign, which begins in August, by online bookmakers Luxbet.
Meanwhile, half the 24 teams in next season's Championship are considered legitimate title contenders.
With under a month remaining now until the start of the season, Luxbet have opened Leicester City as the $8 favourites to win the 2012/13 Championship title, ahead of Bolton at $8.50 and Nottingham Forest and Wolves at $9.
But unlike the EPL this is far from a four horse race, with Leeds United [$9.50], Blackburn Rovers [$12], Cardiff City [$12] Blackpool [$15], Brighton [$16], Birmingham City [$17], Middlesbrough [$19] and evenl newly promoted Sheffield Wednesday at $19 all in realistic title contention.
|Nottingham Forest to win the Championship title at $9 at Luxbet
||Bolton to win the Championship title at $8.50 at Luxbet|
The evenness of the Championship is perhaps best summed up by the fact that Leicester have opened favourites to win the title in the new season despite only finishing ninth last season.
But the team to watch may be their fierce local rivals Nottingham Forest, who are equal third favourites for the title despite only finishing a distant 19th last season and narrowly avoiding relegation to League One.
But Forest have just been taken over by new owners in the Al Hasawi family from Kuwait and - just like Manchester City in the EPL - suddenly have new-found financial power at their disposal.
But two of the three teams relegated from the EPL last season in Bolton and Blackburn also pose a major threat.
The last time these two clubs were relegated, they were back in the EPL within two seasons in Blackburn's case and three for Bolton.
Expect both to make a serious bid to become the first relegated team to win the Championship the following season since Newcastle in 2009-10.
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