Championship: Wigan and Derby lead the way in seasonal preview

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It’s an unenviable task to try and pick the final standings of one of Europe’s most famously unpredictable leagues, but in the interest of betting on this year’s Championship, we gave it a darned good go.

Below we try to give the seasonal, second-tier shakedown on who may be worthy of your hard-earned pennies to fill the most noteworthy slots the Championship has to offer:

Top Six

Champions: Wigan 10/1

Wigan: Without the distractions of a sapping Europa League campaign, the Latics are in great shape for a tilt at the title under talented manager Uwe Rosler.
There have been a few comings-and-goings of playing personnel, but the nucleus of the squad which strung together six consecutive wins at one stage last season is still there.

Automatic Promotion: Derby 5/2 to be promoted

Derby: With Steve McClaren at the helm Derby should be able to build on the heart-wrenching experience of missing out via the play-off final last season.
Barely anyone notable has seen fit to ditch the Pride Park outfit for pastures new and all the ingredients appear to be in place for another fine season in the east Midlands.

Play-offs: Fulham 3/1, Watford 5/1, Norwich 5/1, Nottingham Forest 5/1

Fulham: A squad rammed full of Premier League quality such as Scott Parker managed by three-time Bundesliga winner Felix Magath ought to flourish at this level, especially with last season’s Championship top scorer, Ross McCormack, signed up.

Watford: Keeping hold of Troy Deeney and managing to get Matej Vydra back on loan are massive plus points for the Hornets and their manager Beppe Sannino. Quality additions such as Ecuador full-back Juan Carlos Paredes only add more attraction to the bet.

Norwich: The Canaries were always going to be relieved of their best Premier League performer Robert Snodgrass in the off-season but so far that’s the only major departure. Neil Adams is untested, though the squad at his disposal should be play-off material if kept together.

Nottingham Forest: Stuart Pearce inherits a talented squad and has been busy bringing exciting signings to the City Ground such as Matty Fryatt and Michael Mancienne.

Relegation: Blackpool 8/15 to be relegated, Leeds 3/1, Birmingham 11/4

Blackpool: You only have to look at the sorry Tangerines’ price for the drop to know things have gone spectacularly pear-shaped up at Bloomfield Road, who are caught up in off-field financial turmoil, struggling to field a team.

Leeds: A huge club which deserves better than the bizarre goings on in terms of ownership and managerial/player-loan shenanigans of the last 12 months. Bringing in former Forest Green manager Dave Hockaday seems a horribly misjudged decision and they’ll miss McCormack’s goals sorely.

Birmingham: Only goal difference separated Lee Clark’s side from the trapdoor last season and aside from the addition of Brentford forward Clayton Donaldson, there’s not a whole lot to suggest the Blues’ fortunes will improve greatly.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.