The Championship preview: race to reach Premier League promised land is on

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The likes of Stoke and West Brom will be looking to bounce back at the first attempt, but the Championship is notoriously tough

Oddshark

There are just 10 short days to go until it all gets underway again. On Friday, 3 August, the Championship – the second tier in England’s footballing pyramid – kicks off, when Reading and Derby play in the domestic curtain raiser.

Thanks to the new billion-pound television deal, the rewards for reaching the Premier League have never been so great or so lucrative. This season is likely to see at least eight teams who will consider themselves in with a chance of automatic promotion.

First things first

Before you go any further, head on over to the Oddsshark website, find your favourite betting website and get your account up and running using your credit card. As a brand new customer and with several of Europe’s ,major leagues just weeks away from the big kick off, there should be a whole host of promotion s and offers available to you.

Where should I be investing my money?

Of course, one of the logical places to start when looking at teams who will be in the mix come the end of the season is those who have come down from the Premier League. And in that respect, Stoke and West Brom are the two favourites to bounce right back.

Stoke City are at 6.00 to win the Championship title outright and just 2.50 to be promoted – meaning that you would more than double your money should they make it back to the top flight at the first time of asking. For them to finish in the top two – which would mean automatic promotion – the price rises slightly to 3.50, and after the acquisition of Ireland international James McClean on a four-year deal the club would appear to be making the right moves in the transfer market.

Stoke have a tricky start to the season, however, when they face Leeds United, the biggest club in Yorkshire. Leeds finished a disappointing 13th last season and will be looking to make significant improvements this time around.

And it is Leeds who come into this opening day clash as the favourites to make a winning start to the campaign in front of their own fans. Leeds are at just 2.45 to win the match, with Stoke slightly further out at 2.70 – a draw is priced at 3.50, according to Oddsshark.

Coming in right behind Stoke in the betting odds is West Bromwich Albion. The Baggies endured a torrid time last season under three different managers, and they will need to hit the ground running in front of some restless fans.

The club are at 9.00 to win the Championship title, and just 3.50 to win promotion back to the Premier League despite losing key experienced goalkeeper Ben Foster. Meanwhile, the price for West Brom to gain automatic promotion is priced competitively at 5.00, meaning a US$5 dollar bet could potentially lead to a US$25 pay out.

You can also bet on a club finishing in the top six. Those sides finishing from third to sixth then enter the play-offs, a knock-out system to determine the third promoted side.

You can back West Brom to finish in the top six at just 1.80, while Stoke’s price, at 1.61, is even shorter. The Baggies’ first game of the season should be relatively straightforward, at home to Bolton Wanderers and they are the strong favourites to pick up three points.

Bolton struggled last season, finishing just two points above the relegation zone, and they are the favourites to be relegated this season at a price of just 2.00. Unsurprisingly, West Brom are the favourites to beat Bolton, and you can back them to do so at just 1.45.

Another side in strong contention for automatic promotion is Middlesbrough. The Teeside club finished in fifth last term and were beaten in the play-off semi-final by Aston Villa.

This season, the side offer a ten-fold return on any investment to win the league outright, having been priced at 10.00 to do just that. Their price for simple promotion is much shorter, at just 4.00, but they will need to make some moves in the transfer market soon to strengthen their squad.

Their price to finish in the top two is a shade higher than that of West Brom, at 5.50. And, having finished in the top six last term, you could potentially doubly your money by backing them to do so again at a price of just 2.00.

Odds to win the Championship league title:

Stoke (6.00)
West Brom (9.00)
Middlesbrough (10.00)
Nottingham Forest (11.00)
Leeds (13.00)
Swansea (13.00)
Aston Villa (13.00)

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