Championship: Bournemouth the ripest title contenders

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Middlesborough’s midweek draw at St Andrews saw Aitor Karanka’s charges hop above Bournemouth and Derby into the Championship driving seat by a point.

However, it may be a little premature to get the bunting out on Teesside, especially as the top of the table is an ever more concertinaed affair.

With 15 games still to come before the winners’ medals are handed out, just seven points separate Boro in first from Norwich in the final play-off position.

Below is the Championship title betting as is stands, where the runners and riders are assessed:

Derby 2/1

Given the vast experience of Steve McClaren at the helm presiding over a squad blessed with quality in most areas it’s no surprise to see the Rams top the betting, but there is little to excite about the price at this stage.

Middlesborough 12/5

The leaders look the real deal under their Spanish coach, however, in both 2011/12 and 2012/13 promising tilts at promotion ended with results sliding in the latter stages of those campaigns. History may not repeat, but it could be a cautionary tale to heed.

Bournemouth 5/2*

The Cherries have never looked riper out of the leading trio, having occupied more time at the summit than any other team in the division. Some have questioned the minerals of a so-called small club, but given Eddie Howe’s men are the best away team in the second tier and have the best goal difference, Bournemouth get the nod.

Watford 11/1

Boasting two of the league’s leading marksman in Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, the Hornets have plenty of sting in their tails. Currently second in the form table there’s plenty to get excited about at the odds, though their Achilles heel is the losses column. Only Reading in the last five seasons have won the title with more defeats to their name (11), than the nine Watford have already accrued.

Ipswich 14/1

Certainly the most promising of the outsiders in the race considering Mick McCarthy’s men are only three points off the pace and Portland Road is a fortress. The Tractor Boys home form beats all-comers and could be their trump card, although this is offset by poor goal difference.

Norwich 16/1

Unusually calamitous at board room level this season, the Canaries have been on a rollercoaster throughout 2014/15, but with plenty of Premier League experience they cannot be written off now Alex Neil is settled in.

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

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