The Championship is a notoriously difficult league to predict, with favourites coming up short and outsiders making late runs a regular occurrence, and this season is proving to be no different.
With 21 games gone just 10 points separate the top seven clubs and while in Premier League terms 10 points is a veritable mountain in a league where ‘anyone can beat anyone’ a 10-point gap could be obliterated before the New Year.
At present it is unbeaten Brighton and Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough who occupy the automatic promotion places, with just goal difference separating the Seagulls and Boro and the pair meeting on Saturday.
The busy Christmas period lies ahead, however, and the top six could be much-changed by the time the clock strikes 12 to bring in the New Year.
As we near the half-way stage though we’re asking where you think the Championship title is heading this season.
Read on to see who is heading the betting and have your say in the poll below.
Middlesbrough @ 11/8
Boro appear to be the complete package this season, scoring at will and extremely hard to break down at the back. With 30 goals in the ‘for’ column only Brighton, Derby and Ipswich have scored more, but having conceded just 12 goals all season Karanka’s men boast the tightest defence in the division.
Derby @ 5/2
The Rams endured a slow start to the season, drawing four and losing one of their first five games. Paul Clement has turned things around hugely though, with his side losing just once in the last 16 games in a run that saw them avoid defeat to a host of promotion rivals.
Brighton @ 9/2
As the only undefeated team remaining in England, Brighton are obviously doing something right but with 10 draws to their name there are concerns about their ability to hold on to a lead and close games out. Scoring goals hasn’t been the issue, with 31 netted so far this season, but with 20 goals conceded the back line may need shoring up if the title is to head to the Amex.
Hull @ 5/1
Steve Bruce’s side looked every inch a potential title candidate when going on a five-game winning streak that started in mid-October, however, the Tigers look to be feeling the pace at just the wrong time. A draw and two defeats heading into last Saturday’s visit of Bolton was a cause for concern but the 1-0 victory over the Trotters should boost the confidence ahead of the packed festive schedule.
Burnley @ 20/1
Burnley’s odds have been on the drift of late and if the Clarets don’t arrest a run of form that has seen them go six games without a win soon the title chase could turn into a play-off race.
Sean Dyche will point to the recent level of competition, with his side facing Boro, Brighton and QPR in recent weeks, so a run of kinder fixtures could see his men right back into the mix.
Ipswich are the final team in the top six at present and if the free-scoring Tractor Boys can plug the holes at the back they’ll be a force in the New Year, while QPR have a striker who could fire them all the way to the top once more in Charlie Austin. Cardiff, Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday are also lurking around in the chasing pack and anyone of these could represent good value should the sides above drop away.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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