The Championship Season 2012/2013 Betting Preview
Football betting and following Charlton for my sins
Which clubs will secure promotion to the Premier League this season? Which clubs will find themselves relegated to League One? And who is the value to claim the English Championship for season 2012-2013? In the lead up to the season kickoff, today on the blog Kevin Crout (AKA @profitbet) shares his thoughts.
One of the greatest prizes in football awaits the three teams that can climb out of one of the hardest divisions to predict, not just from an on field playing perspective but also from a betting perspective. In the last 10 seasons only three teams (all 8/1) have won the Championship in single figure odds and last season Reading claimed the title at odds of 18/1.
Leicester enter the season as bookies 15/2 favourites to win the league and 9/4 to gain promotion. They were also favourites last season after a spending spree by former manager Sven Goran Eriksson, but ultimately failure saw him sacked in October and Leicester finish in 9th place 9 points outside the play-offs. Can they improve on last season? Possibly. But at the odds on offer surely other teams show more appeal.
The three relegated sides all look to be in a strong position on the field. Blackburn will certainly need to hit the ground running with plenty of off field problems, fans aiming their anger at the manager and owners. Some excellent summer signings make this look possible. Odds of 12/1 for them to win the league could look big come May. Danny Murphy was excellent at Fulham and has the skills to create chances for new strikers Leon Best and Nuno Gomes.
Bolton again look good things having added to their squad with the additions of Keith Andrews who did a good job for the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2012 and defender Matthew Mills from Leicester. They are best priced 8/1 with Wolves and their new manager Stale Solbakken a 9/1 shot.
Beaten play-off finalists Blackpool are 18/1 for the title. More realistically a play-off spot is achievable and they are 11/2 to be promoted. Blackpool have reached the play-offs the last two times they have played in the Championship, winning promotion to the Premier League in 2010 and were losing finalists last season.
Cardiff have been labelled 'bottlers' by many having gotten themselves in some excellent positions to make the step up to the Premier League but have found the last hurdle a step too far. This season they will be battling off field problems and can be backed at 12/1 to win and 9/2 to be promoted. Only time will tell if they can handle the pressure of an end of season challenge.
Nottingham Forest have just been taken over and will have funds to improve their squad. They have appointed Sean O' Driscoll as their new manager and have seen their odds slashed from an opening quote of 25/1 to just 12/1 to win the league. It will be interesting to see which players are signed but a big improvement will be needed on last season's 19th placed finish. Forest can be backed at 9/2 to be promoted, a team probably best keeping an eye on before making any investment.
There will be plenty of teams that may find winning the division out of reach but will be striving to make the play-offs. Brighton have added to their squad with the loan signing of ex-England international Wayne Bridge and Manchester United's Tomasz Kuszcak. Will they have a squad capable of a season long challenge at the top? Maybe not. But they have a good manager in Gus Poyet and play decent football that could see a genuine run at the play-offs. They are 11/2 to get promoted.
Middlesbrough had a very good start to last season but ran out of steam finishing in 7th place. The addition of Jonathan Woodgate who, if he stays injury free is an excellent defender and leader. Midfielder Grant Leadbitter will also add quality to the squad and could help sustain a top 6 push 7/1 for promotion and 22/1 for the title if you fancy Boro' to challenge all season.
Neil Warnock, the Leeds manager, didn't have the best of starts last season but will have had a full pre-season with the squad and with his experience and ability to get the best out of his teams, odds of 5/1 to be promoted could see some good times returning to Elland Road.
Hull have appointed Steve Bruce as manager after a disappointing end to last season finishing just outside the play-offs with some off field issues. Can Bruce push them the extra step? Hull are 10/1 to be promoted.
Birmingham City were unlucky last season. A Europa campaign saw their squad stretched to capacity and were unable to find enough in the play-offs against Blackpool. They have replaced Chris Hughton with Lee Clark who has question marks hanging over his managerial ability after failing to get Huddersfield out of League One, but has so far made some excellent signings in Peter Loverkrands, Hayden Mullins and Darren Ambrose. Quotes of 22/1 to win the league look on the large side if Lee Clark can step up a level. A safer option might be the 7/1 for promotion.
Another interesting managerial appointment is Gianfranco Zola at Watford, with new owners in place, money for squad enhancements should be forthcoming. Can they push on from an 11th place finish last term and bag a play off spot? 10/1 for Zola to weave his magic wand and get the Hornets promoted.
The bottom of the table looks to be a very tough call. Towards the end of the season there could be a large number of clubs looking over their shoulders. This could see some decent value in the relegation market. Barnsley are the 13/8 favourites to fall through the trap door, but some good additions along the spine of the team could see them once again prove people wrong. Former Spurs and Egypt international Mido has signed along with goalkeeper Ben Alnwick, centre back Lee Collins and central midfielder Kelvin Etuhu. On paper Barnsley look weakest but with the additions and right attitude they could surprise.
Peterborough will need to plug a leaky defence which saw them concede a huge 77 goals. Scoring wasn't too much of a problem as they netted 67 goals, only 2 less than winners Reading. Again 2/1 to be relegated doesn't look too tempting.
Bristol City struggled last season. Scoring goals was a problem, averaging less than a goal a game and as yet haven't done anything to rectify the problem. 10/3 to get relegated could be a bet that keeps punters interested to the last game of the season.
Up From League One
The three promoted teams from League One will be satisfied with consolidating their place in the division. Huddersfield have made some excellent additions to the squad and should be looking ahead rather than down the table. Sean Scannell from Crystal Palace and Adam Clayton from Leeds will bolster the midfield. It remains to be seen where Jordan Rhodes starts the season. His contribution scoring goals could be a major factor in which half of the table the terriers finish. 5/1 for relegation is fair but they have enough quality to consolidate in mid-table.
Another of the promoted teams Sheffield Wednesday have also made some shrewd signings in goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and Centre back Anthony Gardener. As with Huddersfield, a lot of pressure will be on striker Gary Madine who scored 18 in 38 games in League One.
Finally, it will be interesting to see how Charlton adapt to life in the Championship after running away with League One, with a squad that has hardly any experience at this level and are rated 7/1 shots to be relegated. A fair price, but a team with an excellent manager should have plenty to finish mid-table.
With the start of the season just a couple of weeks away teams will still be looking to make additions to the squads and looking to start the season with confidence boosting results. The excitement is certainly building and there is always value to be found.
Follow Kevin on Twitter: @Profitbet
And check out his blog at Football-Talk
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