Ante Post Betting – Championship Preview Part 2

Championship Betting – Relegation Candidates


After Sunderland, Burton Albion and Barnsley were unable to avoid the slide last campaign, those sides who escaped by the narrowest margin will be looking in their rear view mirror as they look to stay in England’s second tier.

Along with those who stayed up, are the three that came up. Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Rotherham United will all be looking for a solid start to life in a league that they all know too well in recent seasons.

Let’s start with the 11/10 shots to be relegated straight after promotion: Rotherham United. The Millers have endured a promotion or a relegation in four of their last six seasons, having returned to the second tier after just one year away. Sneaking through the back door of League One with a playoff final win, Paul Warne’s team will be aware of the task that awaits them; their lack of major activity in the transfer market will be of concern at the New York Stadium.

A couple of loan moves from fellow Championship clubs have seen Zak Vyner and Sean Raggett join in an attempt to bolster a defence that is going to be under the microscope from the opening fixture. Rotherham shipped 53 goals last year, the most by any of the top six in League One; with an increase in quality coming at them from all angles, Warne needs to find a solution to their defence woes, fast. A price of 2/3 to stay up doesn’t offer enough value for a side who will constantly have their backs against the wall.

Wigan and Blackburn are both better set for a season of consolidation in the second tier. Paul Cook and Tony Mowbray are the respective managers leading the charge this campaign, with Wigan, especially, having a fruitful 2017-18 to build on. Winning League One with 98 points, coupled with an FA Cup quarter-final outing having taken the scalps of Bournemouth, West Ham and, most notably, Man City, Wigan are still buoyant as we approach the opening weekend. At Evens, a punt on Wigan finishing in the top half of the Championship looks a shrewd bet for a side who play attractive football.

Bolton and Ipswich, on the other hand, are two sides with survival on their mind as soon as the opening day whistle blows. Despite narrowly avoiding relegation last time around, Bolton have recruited the likes of Clayton Donaldson, Josh Magennis and Erhun Oztumer in an attempt to cure the goalscoring troubles that plagued them last campaign; just 39 goals scored in 46 matches underlined their problems.

Ipswich have already looked to improve their attacks by signing Welsh duo Ellis Harrison and Gwion Edwards, however, with a lack of real cash injection, Paul Hurst may struggle if his side don’t get up and running fast.

At 6/5 and 7/2 to face the drop, value can be found in backing either Bolton or Ipswich to finish in the bottom three.

Reading also have their concerns. Avoiding the drop by three points last season, Paul Clement has been severely restricted in the transfer market with Marc McNutly looking to ease their troubles up front. Gaining the signatures of John O’Shea and David Meyler may prove crucial in a hunt for experience and leadership on the pitch. 2/5 to finish in the bottom half should be gobbled up, with 3/1 to be relegated also worth a look.

QPR and Hull City will also be looking over their shoulders. 16th and 18th placed finishes last year, respectively, were at the expense of 140 goals conceded between them; 70 each, in fact. Toni Leistner for QPR and Reece Burke for Hull have been drafted in to cure their defensive frailties, however, with a lack of investment upfront, both sides are expected to loiter in the lower-echelons of the Championship table once again. QPR’s side is littered with youth, so may need time to gel over Steve McClaren’s tutelage; whether he is given that time is another matter. A double containing both QPR and Hull City to finish in the bottom half yields a price of 2.2.

Finally, Birmingham City. With the side battling Financial Fair Play rules, a transfer embargo and an injury to star midfielder David Davis, Garry Monk has his work cut out keeping sprits high as we approach kick off. Left back Kristian Pedersen was signed before the embargo was enforced, and is the only bright spark in a fairly dull summer. They should have enough depth to avoid the drop, however, finishing in the bottom half looks certain; 8/13 shows limited value.

Missed Part 1 of our Championship Review? You can read it here 

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