The start of the English Championship season is now less than two weeks away and that means it is time to start thinking about who could win promotion this season. The Championship is one of the toughest leagues in the world and after Wolves, Cardiff and Fulham got promoted last season, there will be plenty of teams dreaming of doing the same this time around.
Stoke City, Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion dropped down from the Premier League and all of those teams will be looking to bounce straight back up. Stoke City start the season as favourites to win the title at odds of 11/2 (Coral), and despite losing some of their star players, they still have an extremely strong squad of players. The likes of Jack Butland and Ryan Shawcross have so far stuck around and if they can keep this talented squad together and motivated, then they have to be a very good bet to win promotion.
Another side that I fancy to do well is Middlesbrough. The North East side came extremely close to promotion last season, losing out to Aston Villa in the Playoff Semi-Final. They have not spent the same sums of money that they did last summer, but the additions of Aden Flint and Paddy McNair should improve them and in Tony Pulis, they have an excellent manager capable of taking them up. Middlesbrough are 8/1 (Coral) to win the league and if they can avoid the slow start that they had last season, then there’s no reason to doubt that they can do it this time around.
A little further down the betting are Nottingham Forest. Nottingham Forest are a side with Premier League pedigree who haven’t been seen at the top level for almost 20 years. Former Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has come in and he has been backed heavily in the transfer market. The likes of Joao Carvalho, Diogo Goncalves, Lewis Grabban and Costel Pantillimon have been brought in and they should really improve this squad. Nottingham Forest are currently priced up at 10/1 (Coral) and a bet on them to finish in the top three looks like money well spent to me.
Aston Villa came extremely close to achieving promotion last season, losing out in the Playoff Final to Fulham, but at 14/1 (Coral), they are one to steer clear of this year. Missing out on promotion has left the club in dire financial straits, with owner Tony Xia announcing that the club will have to cash in on their best players. Jack Grealish is expected to move to Tottenham Hotspur for £30m and with John Terry also having left, it is tough to see Aston Villa getting anywhere near promotion this season.
My picks for the side to win the title is Middlesbrough at 8/1 and my other tip would be an each way bet on Nottingham Forest at 10/1 to finish in the top three.
Middlesbrough – 8/1 (Coral)
Nottingham Forest – EW 10/1 (Coral)