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Championship round 4 preview: Stoke need a kick start to season

12:39 BST 21/08/2018
Benik Afobe, Stoke City vs. Brentford, English Championship, August 11
The favourites for promotion back to the Premier League have made a stuttering start to life in the second tier

The games are coming thick and fast in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English club football. With the stakes high there are close to a dozen clubs competing for promotion to the top flight and the hugely lucrative FA Premier League.

Getting the ball rolling

First things first, swing by the Oddsshark website, procure your favourite betting agency and sort out your account with a username and password. As a new customer and with the Championship campaign already up and running, there should be a wide range of promotions and offers available to you.

Where should I be investing my money?

One side who has struggled at the start of this season is Stoke City. Having been relegated last May, they were one of the favourites to bounce back at the first attempt, but are yet to win a league game in three attempts.

Their problem has not been scoring goals but rather keeping them out. They have conceded six goals so far at an alarming rate of two goals per game.

Wigan, meanwhile, sit slap bang in the middle of the table, with one win, one draw and one defeat from their three outings to date. Their win came on the opening day however and their last two matches have rendered just one point.

And with a need to give their season a kick start, it is Stoke who come into this game as the favourites to pick up their first league win of the new season. You can more than double your money by backing them at a price of 2.15, with Wigan much further out at 3.75 to win a first game on the road, according to Oddsshark.

With Stoke leaking goals we may well see both sides getting on the score sheet, an outcome which you can back at just 1.66. A 2-1 win for Stoke is priced at 9.00, offering close to a ten-fold return on any investment.

Norwich also looking for first three points

Another side which has made an underwhelming start to the season is Norwich City. The Canaries have managed to bag a solitary point from their three games so far and now host Preston North End this Wednesday evening (22 August) as they look to climb the table.

But it will be another tough assignment for Norwich. They have won just one of their last six meetings with Preston, and morale must be at a low in the camp.

But with that in mind, it is still Norwich who come into the game as favourites to record a first league win of the season. You can more than double your money by backing Norwich at 2.40, with Preston at 3.20 to record a win on the road.

A draw looks the most unlikely result at 3.40, but with Norwich faltering it may well be worth backing. A 1-1 draw is priced competitively at 6.00, meaning that a US$ bet would lead to a US$30 pay out.

Bolton look to continue bright start against all odds

Without a doubt, the surprise package of the Championship season so far has been Bolton Wanderers. Before a ball was kicked they were the favourites to face relegation back down to League One.

But an unbeaten start to the campaign, which has seen them pick up seven points from their opening three, has seen their price to be relegated jump to 5.00, putting them at longer odds than the likes of Ipswich, Reading and QPR. They will look to keep that run going away to Birmingham City.

Both these sides survived by the skin of their teeth last season and are now looking to punch above their weight. Birmingham, however, are yet to win this season and have just two points from three games.

But Birmingham can take heart from the fact that they have won four and drawn one of their last five meetings with Bolton. And despite being away from home, they are the slight favourites to take the points in this one as well.

You can almost triple your money by backing Birmingham to win at a price of 2.70. Bolton, meanwhile, with home advantage and in good form, look good value at 3.00 to win a third league game in four at the start of the season.

There may not be too many goals in this one and under 2.5 goals is priced at just 1.57. A narrow 1-0 win for Bolton comes in at 8.00.

Championship round 4 fixtures:

(2.62) Aston Villa x Brentford (2.80); draw (3.50)

(1.72) Blackburn Rovers x Reading (5.50); draw (3.75)

(2.40) Norwich x Preston North End (3.20); draw (3.40)

(3.10) Sheffield Wednesday x Millwall (2.50); draw (3.30)

(3.00) Bolton Wanderers x Birmingham City (2.70); draw (3.10)

(2.15) Stoke City x Wigan Athletic (3.75); draw (3.40)