Who Will Win The English Football Championship? - December Update
Will Cardiff win the Championship this season? Will Hull and Leicester earn promotion to the Premier League? As we make our way through the busy Christmas period Kevin Crout gives us his update on Championship betting.
Cardiff at 2.38 remain in pole position after 24 games having opened up a 5 point lead at the top of the table. Cardiff have lost just once in the last 9 games and remain on course for at least promotion and possibly the title. Hull City are the closest challengers having moved quietly into second position and are 7.50 to overhaul Cardiff to the title. Hull have won 5 of their last 7 games and will surely make the play-offs, they can be backed at 2.75 to be promoted.
Leicester have slipped down to 5th having not won in 5 and are now 9.00 for the title, odds too small to be backed with a 12 point gap to the top, and at 3.00 to get promoted they are best left alone as only 7 points separate them and 15th place.
Middlesbrough currently sit in 3rd 6 points off top spot and whilst the title may be one step too far for them, second place is well within their capabilities. But again quotes of 4.00 in such a competitive division are to short to back.
Crystal Palace will be looking to hang on to their star men in Wilfred Zaha and Glenn Murray in the transfer window and if they succed they will have a big chance of one of the automatic positions in May. I think 9.00 to win the division is a risky bet but at the odds may be worth a further look.
The championship is a very competitive league and at this stage 7 points separate 11 teams. Watford 7.00 for promotion currently sit in 6th while Millwall at 13.00 are 7th have both been excellent in getting themselves into the play-off frame but possibly will struggle to compete with teams adding to their squads once the transfer window opens. Rumours have already started that Millwall loan player and current top scorer with 10 Chris Woods is set to join Leicester City.
Nottingham Forest won their last game 4-2 against Leeds United and then go and sack their manager Sean O'Driscoll which would suggest they have a replacement in mind. Currently they are 8th just 1 point outside the play-offs. You would imagine whoever the new manager is, the owners will provide some money to spend in January and a current quote of 8.00 is hard to asses without a manager in charge.
Brighton with a game in hand at 8.00 are only 3 points off 6th place and Leeds 7.00 are only 3 points off although their away form is particularly poor having only won 3 of 12 away games are 4 points outside the top 6.
Blackpool 17.00, Derby 21.00 and Burnley 34.00 are only 4 points outside the playoffs and chasing hard. If they can find some consistency in their results then the play offs offer a small possibility of a chance at promotion at a decent price.
The Relegation Scrap
This is an interesting market with 4 teams offered at odds on but in my mind a few others are well in the mix, although the bottom 2 have a small gap to close.
Bristol City currently sit in bottom position, have only won twice in 17 games and are 8 points off safety. It could be a long second half of the season for the Robins and they can be backed at a best price of 1.57.
Barnsley find themselves 6 points off safety and are in a dreadful run of form having also won just 2 of the last 17, they are 1.44 favourites for the drop.
It would be a surprise if either of the above can close the gap, but this league always throws up surprises. With still 66 points to play for they will both be fighting for their championship futures.
Peterborough have won their last 3 games and are only 2 points from safety, so a price of 1.57 is not one I'd be looking to back at. At the moment its difficult to predict a Boro' result but you can be assured goals will be scored in their games with 77 so far in their 24 games.
Sheffield Wednesday have also found some form and have won 3 in a row and are 2 points clear of the bottom 3. At 3.00 for them to immediately return to League One could prove to be a good price in May but not one I would look to be placing.
Ipswich at 5.00 have won 4 out of 6 and Mick McCarthy looks to be turning their season around although they are still only 5 points from safety. They are not out of the woods yet. McCarthy has the experience to see that they finish in a mid table position.
Charlton Athletic have been fairly ordinary so far this season and sit just 7 points off the relegation zone having just lost to both Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town. They are currently 8.00 to suffer relegation. With funds for January transfers looking to be very limited, this looks a good price for the South East London outfit to suffer an immediate relegation.
A few other teams will be looking over their shoulders but should be too good to fall through the trapdoor are Birmingham 15.00, Blackburn 26.00 and Bolton 36.00 are all 7 points clear of the drop zone.
Heres looking forward to what will be an exciting few months in the most competitive division in England.
Happy New Year to All, may your teams all perform to your expectations.
Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinCrout
And check out his blog at Football-Talk