Direct match betting is an interesting proposition for the new Championship season, with each of the 24 clubs broken down into pairs with the challenge being to identify which will finish above the other.
By far the most intriguing is the competition between last season’s beaten play-off finalists Watford and Nottingham Forest and the difficulty separating the two is showcased by the fact that both are 5/6 to finish above the other.
This is the only example in the season match betting prices where the two clubs are inseperable.
Looking at which clubs represent the best prices in these markets, it is Bolton, Millwall and Yeovil that appear to stand out and a treble on this trio pays out at a useful 8/1.
If last season’s Championship only included results from February onwards, Bolton would have finished top and their surge in the final third of the campaign almost resulted in an improbable assault on the play-offs.
The signing of Jermaine Beckford promises to ensure they find goals easier to come by this time, while their chances are boosted by maintaining the services of midfield trio Chris Eagles, Stuart Holden and Chung-yong Lee.
Leicester have had a quiet summer to date and only won three of their last 17 games last season to see their automatic promotion hopes go up in smoke.
Doncaster did remarkably well to gain promotion back to the Championship after just a single season in League One and they have kept the majority of their squad together thus far, including signing Harry Forrester from Brentford.
But Millwall’s transfer business has been better, with Steve Morison’s return an early contender for the best loan capture of the whole campaign. A striker to replace Chris Wood was vital.
Nicky Bailey is another who could prove a shrewd bit of business and much will come down to how productive Steve Lomas is as manager after previously guiding St Johnstone to successive top-half Scottish Premier League finishes.
Yeovil are the obvious favourites for relegation as they prepare for their first crack at such a high level up the football pyramid, but the arrivals of Kieffer Moore, alongside Michael Ngoo and Billy Clifford from Liverpool and Chelsea could surprise.
Ngoo is especially one to keep an eye on after being a regular scorer of goals previously for Liverpool reserves.
A last-minute equaliser on the final day kept Barnsley up last season and another campaign of struggle is expected, particularly if attendances at Oakwell continue to diminish and even the rallying team talks of David Flitcroft may not prove enough to spur them to survival.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.