The 2017/18 season of the English Championship gets underway on Friday night with two games, before a full set of games over the weekend. It’s all setup to be an exciting season in one of the most unpredictable leagues in the world. Last season it was Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Huddersfield Town who secured the three lucrative promotion spots and this time around there are a whole host of sides who will have the same ambitions.
As the season begins, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham, Norwich, Reading and Hull City will all be confident that they have what it takes to secure promotion to the Premier League. I’ve analysed the week one fixtures and come up with a big odds accumulator for you to get behind.
Burton Albion vs Cardiff
Burton Albion are the smallest profile club in the Championship and their main aim will be to survive for another season. Last time around they defied the odds to achieve safety by just a solitary point and you would expect them to be right in the mix for relegation again. Neil Warnock guided Cardiff to a 12th placed finish last season and this season the experienced manager will be hoping to push the Welsh club even further up the league. Cardiff have much more quality than Burton Albion in their squad and you would expect them to start the season with an away victory on Saturday.
Cardiff to beat Burton Albion – 6/4 (Ladbrokes)
Fulham vs Norwich
There are a number of heavyweight clashes on the opening weekend of the Championship season and this one could well be the most exciting of all. Last season Fulham finished in 6th place, but failed to gain promotion through the playoffs, whilst Norwich finished in 8th place. These two sides were the joint highest scorers in the division last time around and you would expect there to be goals in this one. Norwich struggled at the back last season, conceding an average of 1.5 goals per game and they were particularly leaky away from home, so I’m going for a Fulham win in this one.
Fulham to beat Norwich – 21/20 (Ladbrokes)
Preston North End vs Sheffield Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday came close to achieving promotion last season, losing on penalties in the playoffs and they will be aiming for another strong season this time around. The club have done well to keep their squad together and have added Jordan Rhodes to the front line, a man who can be deadly at this level. Preston on the other hand have changed their manager with Alex Neil replacing Simon Grayson at the helm after a poor finish to the season saw the club pick up just one win from their last six games to miss out on the playoffs. This has all the hallmarks of an extremely tight game, but with Sheffield Wednesday’s forward line, I’m just expecting them to edge this one.
Sheffield Wednesday to beat Preston – 13/8 (Ladbrokes)
QPR vs Reading
QPR finished last season very poorly, losing seven of their last eight games to finish just two points above the relegation places and you would expect them to struggle again this season after a fairly quiet summer transfer window. Reading on the other hand only missed out on promotion at the final hurdle after losing on penalties to Huddersfield Town in the playoff final. Reading finished in 3rd place in the league and they will have high hopes this time around as well. All things considered, I think an away win for Reading looks like a solid bet here.
Reading to beat QPR – 2/1 (Ladbrokes)
Total Accumulator – 39.35/1 (Ladbrokes)