EFL Championship Preview – The Title Race

Who will win this year's crown?

Football Betting

EFL Championship Preview – Title Race

The race for the EFL Championship title will be fascinating this season, with several big clubs gunning for promotion. Leeds United are the pre-season title favourites, while Fulham and Cardiff City, who were both relegated from the Premier League last term, are not too far behind. Last season, Norwich City won the league ahead of Sheffield United, with Aston Villa winning the play-off final. Which three teams will be promoted this time around?

Who will win the Championship Title 2019/20?

Team
Leeds 9/2 9/2 9/2
Fulham 7/1 7/1 15/2
Cardiff 10/1 10/1 10/1
West Brom 12/1 10/1 10/1
Middlesbrough 16/1 14/1 12/1
Stoke 12/1 12/1 12/1
Derby 16/1 14/1 14/1
Huddersfield 20/1 14/1 16/1
Brentford 12/1 14/1 14/1
Bristol City 16/1 16/1 20/1

* (Betting Odds were taken from Bet365, Betvictor & Ladbrokes on July 23rd, 2019 at 15:30 p.m.)
Leeds United to win the Championship Title 2019/20 at Ladbrokes

Leeds United – Will the Whites come out on top?

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds missed out on automatic promotion in dramatic style last season. With just a few weeks of the campaign left, United looked nailed on for a top two finish. Unfortunately for them, one point from their last four regular matches saw them finish in third spot behind Norwich and Sheffield Utd.

In the play-offs, Bielsa’s boys were beaten by Frank Lampard’s Derby County over two legs. Despite winning 1-0 at Pride Park in the first game, a 4-2 defeat at Elland Road took Derby through with a 4-3 aggregate scoreline.

Some big players have left Elland Road this summer, with Samuel Saiz moving to Girona and Pontus Jansson making the switch to Championship rivals Brentford. Liam McCarron and Ben White have arrived, meanwhile.

Leeds are many people’s favourites to win the Championship title this year. The club will have learned a lot from last season’s heartbreak, and Bielsa is an extremely accomplished manager. Ladbrokes are offering 9/2 for the Yorkshire club to finish top of the pile in the second tier this term.

Fulham – Can the Cottagers bounce straight back?

Fulham had a poor season in the Premier League last term, eventually finishing second from bottom on just 26 points. The Cottagers picked up a mere seven wins, drawing five and losing 26 of their other 31 league fixtures.

However, after dropping out of the top flight, the London club will be one of the big boys in this year’s division. Fulham reached the play-offs in each of their last two Championship campaigns, gaining promotion to the Premier League in 2018. Reaching the top six will be the minimum requirement this season, too.

The Whites have been very shrewd in the transfer market. Ivan Cavaleiro has arrived from Wolverhampton Wanderers, while Fulham have also brought in the talented Anthony Knockaert on an initial loan deal from Brighton & Hove Albion. Meanwhile, the likes of Ryan Babel and Jean Seri have left Craven Cottage.

Scott Parker’s boys will no doubt be there or thereabouts in the race for promotion this season, and the Cottagers are available at 15/2 with Ladbrokes to win the Championship.

Cardiff City – A ninth promotion for Warnock?

Like Fulham, Cardiff City also dropped out of the Premier League after just one season. Also like the Cottagers, the Bluebirds are being tipped to have a good year in the Championship. At the time of writing, Neil Warnock’s men are available at 10/1 (bet365) to win the league, something they managed under Malky Mackay back in the 2012-13 season.

The Welsh club have lost the likes of Kenneth Zohore, Bruno Manga and Kadeem Harris, while Harry Arter and Victor Camarasa have headed back to their parent clubs. However, Joe Day, Aden Flint, Curtis Nelson and Will Vaulks have arrived in the Welsh capital. On paper, Cardiff have one of the strongest squads in the division.

Warnock will be gunning for a ninth professional promotion this season, and this Cardiff side are a very capable outfit. The Bluebirds have been big-hitters in this league over the past decade or so, so 10/1 for them to win the Championship is not a bad price.

Cardiff will be hoping to get off to a flyer when they kick off their campaign against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium before welcoming EFL League One champions Luton Town to the Cardiff City Stadium a week later.

 

Key-Facts – Championship

  • The Championship is the wealthiest non-top flight football division in the world
  • Derby and Notts Forest currently hold the longest tenure in the division
  • The first Championship season was back in 2004-05

 

West Bromwich Albion – Bilic to make his mark?

A lot has changed at The Hawthorns since their relegation from the Premier League. Slaven Bilic, the former Croatia and West Ham United boss, is the new man at the helm at West Bromwich Albion. Having missed out on promotion in the play-off semi-finals last season, can the Baggies fare better this time around?

Bilic has wasted no time in the transfer market, with Semi Ajayi and Filip Krovinovic making the move to The Hawthorns. Albion have also brought in Kenneth Zohore from Cardiff in a reported £8m deal. In the other direction, the familiar faces of Gareth Barry, Craig Dawson, Wes Hoolahan and James Morrison – plus a number of others – have moved on. Meanwhile Jay Rodriguez has gone back to Burnley in a £10m move.

West Brom remained very competitive under Darren Moore and James Shan last term, although ultimately, they come up short. The bookies have them priced at 12/1 to win the title and 7/2 for promotion.

This is a very competitive league this year, but Bilic is certainly an experienced manager. Will the Baggies be in the promotion mix this season?

Middlesbrough – Will Woodgate hit the ground running?

Former Middlesbrough captain Jonathan Woodgate is the new man in charge at the Riverside Stadium. After missing out on the top six by a whisker last term, Boro acted quickly by sacking Tony Pulis to bring in Woodgate. This is the ex-Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur man’s first managerial job.

Boro had a decent campaign last season, but their home form was their Achilles heel. The club secured just 36 points on home turf, winning ten of their 23 league fixtures at the Riverside. Away from home, meanwhile, only Norwich (45), Sheffield Utd (40) and Bristol City (38) picked up more points than Boro (37).

In terms of favourites for the title, Middlesbrough are certainly one of the outsiders, with bet365 offering the tempting price of 16/1. Meanwhile, the same bookie have them available at 9/2 to be promoted.

Middlesbrough get the new EFL season underway on Friday 2nd August, as Woodgate takes his boys to Kenilworth Road to play Luton.

Dark Horses – Who will be this season’s surprise package?

In terms of dark horses, the likes of Brentford, Huddersfield Town, Bristol City, Derby County and Stoke City – and possibly one or two others – could put the cat amongst the pigeons in the race for this season’s Championship title. With this being a notoriously tough league to predict, several clubs will fancy their chances.

Starting with Brentford; the Bees have made some eye-catching signings this summer, with the capture of Pontus Jansson from Leeds topping the bill. Mathias Jensen, Ethan Pinnock and David Reya have also moved to Griffin Park. However, Neil Maupay’s future is becoming more and more uncertain by the day. Thomas Frank’s men are priced at 14/1 with BetVictor.

Huddersfield had a woeful season in the Premier League last term, winning just three times to finish rock bottom on 16 points. Meanwhile, since taking over, Jan Siewert has picked up only one victory as Terriers boss. It’s been a busy summer at the John Smith’s Stadium, with a number of players coming in and out. If you fancy Town to make an instant return to the top tier as Championship champions, bet365 are offering 20/1.

Bristol City had a decent season last time, finishing four points outside of the top six in eighth place. The Robins have not reached the play-offs in the second tier since 2008, but they will be pushing for a top six spot under Lee Johnson this season. Ladbrokes have City priced at 20/1 to win the league.

After losing Frank Lampard to Chelsea in the summer, it’s hard to predict what kind of season Derby are going to have. However, they replaced Lampard quickly with former PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona hero Phillip Cocu, who was sacked by Fenerbahce last year. Having missed out on promotion in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium in May, can County bounce back? 16/1 (bet365) is their price to win the league.

Last but not least, Stoke City, who are available at just 12/1 with Ladbrokes to win the title, could also be set to have a good season. The Potters had a disappointing time back in the second tier last term, picking up just 55 points from 46 games. Nathan Jones has chopped and changed the team over the last couple of months, and City will be hoping to be competitive in a very tough league this year.

Championship Tips & Odds

Our pick – Leeds United at 9/2
Dark horse – Brentford at 14/1
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 and Ladbrokes on July 23rd, 2019 at 15:30 p.m.)

Who will win the Championship title?

The race for the title in this season’s Championship is wide open. Cardiff and Fulham, who were relegated from the Premier league, look strong, while several clubs seem capable of causing an upset. Having said that, after finishing in third spot last season, I fancy Leeds to go one better and claim automatic promotion this year. Back United to win the league at 9/2 with bet365. As for an outsider, Brentford look a tempting choice at 14/1 (Ladbrokes).


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