Traditionally a tough and tight competition, there are already matches of great interest at both ends of the Championship table
|By PAUL GOUGH
Two title contenders in Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday go head-to-head in the English Championship on Friday, while at the same time London clubs Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace face off in what is already shaping as an early season relegation battle.
And the bookies are tipping the two home sides to prevail, with Brighton $1.96 favourites against Wednesday at $3.60 - with the draw at $3.35 - at Luxbet , while Charlton are $1.91 favourites at Luxbet against Palace at $3.80, with the draw at $3.35.
It is already shaping as another typically tight but unpredictable Championship season, with Brighton - under charismatic former Chelsea and Spurs star Gus Poyet - up with the early pacesetters to be in fourth place with seven points from four games, two behind leaders Blackpool.
But Wednesday, which have been transformed since Milan Mandaric took over the club and Dave Jones became manager, are performing well in their first season back in the Championship from League One.
They are just goal difference behind Brighton, in sixth spot.
But Charlton, which came up from League One with Wednesday last season, are already struggling in 17th place with just five points, while Palace find themselves in the relegation zone, sitting in 23rd and second last place with just three points.
Charlton at least can take solace from the fact they find themselves above some of the big guns of the division, however, in recently relegated EPL sides Bolton and Wolves as well as the highly-fancied Birmingham.
They have perhaps Charlton performed better than their position suggests, having already drawn at Birmingham and beaten pre-season title favourites Leicester.
Their only loss so far was away to the team tipped to be the big improvers in the Championship this season in Nottingham Forest.
As a result, Charlton look good value at the $1.91 at Luxbet to get the three points on Friday, while if you are looking for more value then consider backing the Addicks in Luxbet's correct-score market at $6.50 to win 1-0 or $8.50 to win 2-0.
|Charlton to win v Crystal Palace at $1.91 at Luxbet
||Charlton to win 2-0 v Crystal Palace at $8.50 at Luxbet|
Meanwhile, the other clash is tougher to predict but is shaping as a high-scoring encounter, when one considers Brighton put five past Barnsley in their last home game.
And Wednesday have already been won two 3-2 thrillers this season against Birmingham and Millwall.