The Championship preview: who will win the race to the Premier League?

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Gareth Copley
Newly relegated Stoke and West Brom remain the favourites, but there are plenty of contenders in England’s second division

Oddshark

The Premier League may well be the richest football league in the world, but as a direct consequence of that wealth the Championship is one of the most competitive. England’s second tier has a whole plethora of clubs knocking at the gilded ceiling to reach the promised land, with the amount of clubs with promotion as a genuine target close to double figures.

It is only logical that the relegated clubs come in among the favourites to go straight back up, but they are far from alone in chasing promotion, automatic or otherwise. This Championship campaign is shaping up to be a tough ride.

Getting the ball rolling

First things first, visit the Oddsshark website, procure your favourite betting agency and sort out your very own account with a username and password. As a new customer and with England’s professional leagues close to ready to get underway, there should be several special offers for you to take advantage of.

Where should I be investing my money?

As mentioned above, relegated teams are usually among the favourites for promotion and this season is proving to be no exception. Stoke City are the absolute favourites to win promotion, at a price of just 2.50, and West Bromwich Albion are not too far behind at 3.50, according to Oddsshark.

However, one club who has spent big over the summer transfer window and could reasonably be described as a sleeping giant is Nottingham Forest. The club endured a torrid time in the previous campaign, finishing in 17th place, but have invested heavily over the summer in a bid to launch an assault on the play-off and automatic promotion spots.

With Aitor Karanka at the helm of the ship and having brought in the hugely experienced Jack Colback to monitor the midfield, the club’s chances are looking decidedly positive. As a result, Forest have been priced competitively at 11.00 to win the Championship title outright.

Alternatively, you could potentially more than quadruple your money by backing them to win promotion at a price of 4.33.That price rises to 6.00 if they finish in the top two – thus earning an automatic promotion spot – meaning a bet of US$5 would offer a US$30 pay out.

You could also more than double your money should they finish in the top six and qualify for the play-offs. Forest have been priced at 2.25 to finish in a play-off position come May.

Forest start their season with a potentially tricky trip to Bristol City. The Bristol club, who finished 11th last season, are at 2.60 to make a winning start to the season, with Forest slightly higher at 2.70.

Meanwhile, the third club to be relegated from the Premier League last season was Welsh outfit Swansea City. The Swans looked relatively safe with 10 games to go, but plummeted through the standings as the season ended its final stretch and fell through the trapdoor on the final day after succumbing to defeat to an already relegated Stoke City side.

New manager Graham Potter would look to have a real struggle on his hands if he is to take Swansea up at the first time of asking, especially considering the fact that Andre Ayew has chosen to join Turkish club Fenerbahce, and defender Federico Fernandez is being linked with a loan move to Premier League outfit Newcastle United. As a result, Swansea are priced high at 13.00 to go on and win the league title this season, and may well have to settle on trying for a play-off position come May.

The Swans are at 5.00 to win promotion, and the price rises slightly to 7.00 if they manage to get promoted automatically in the top two. However, the Welsh side are at just 2.50 to finish in the top six and, given the quad at Potter’s disposal, that does not look an unreasonable objective for the upcoming season.

Swansea get their season underway on the road with a daunting trip to Sheffield United. The Sheffield club finished just six points off a play-off position themselves last season, and are at 3.75 to finish in the top six come the end of this campaign.

And it is United who come into the game as the favourites to make a winning start to the season. The Blades are at just 2.37 to pick up three points at the expense of Swansea, with the visitors at 2.90 to record an opening day win.

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)Champions

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