Who Will Win The English Football Championship? - October Update
Who are the contenders for promotion to the Premier League next season? Today on the blog Kevin Crout gives us his latest update from the English Championship and where there might be some value as we head into November.
After 11 games of the season the table starts to take on a little bit of shape. 15/2 pre-season favourites Leicester are top and are now priced 7/2 to win the league. They had a shaky start losing 3 of their first 5 games but have now found some consistency winning 6 of the last 8.
Cardiff City sit level at the top with 22 points from 11 games and can be backed at 5/1 to be crowned champions. Cardiff have also won 6 from their last 8 games. Question marks will always hang over Cardiff until they finally achieve promotion but this season they are looking good.
Newly promoted Huddersfield are the early surprise package, sitting in 3rd place just 2 points behind the leaders and having played some decent teams so far recording victories over Blackpool, Birmingham and Wolves. It remains to be seen if they have a squad that has the depth to maintain a challenge throughout the season. Huddersfield are best price 28/1 to win the division from an opening week price of 57/1.
Crystal Palace who lost their first 3 games and were quoted at just 9/4 to be relegated sit level in 4th place having transformed their results and have won 6 and drawn 2 of their last 8. Palace can be backed at 33/1. After suffering 3 defeats from 3 they were offered at 250/1! Rumours mount that manager Dougie Freedman could be off to Bolton which may hinder their chances of maintaining their good form.
Wolves have had the best start of the 3 promoted clubs and sit in 5th just 3 points from the summit. Wolves are 12/1 to finish on top.
Middlesbrough are now unbeaten in 3 and are have won 3 of their last 5 games, the last 3 victories have all come on the road and with their home form reading P5 W3 D1 L1. They have an excellent chance of being in the mix at the end of the season and 7/1 looks a decent price on a team who have added to the side that finished just outside the play-offs last season.
Hull city will be looking to add consistency to their results. They went through a phase of winning 3 games then losing their next 3 and have now won their last 2. They can be backed at 8/1 for promotion but an improvement in away form will be needed having won 2 from 5 and only scored 5 goals in 5 games away from the Kingston Communications Stadium.
Leeds United are another team who will be fairly pleased with their start and are unbeaten in 5, scoring goals is not a problem for Neil Warnocks side but keeping them out certainly is. They have only kept 2 clean sheets in 11 and conceded 17 goals. Difficult to find any value in the 4/1 Leeds to get promoted price.
Managerless Blackburn got off to an excellent start, unbeaten in their first 6 winning 4 but since Steve Keans' resignation they are yet to win drawing 3 and losing 1 and are still managerless. 3/1 for a rudderless ship is of no value.
Plenty of teams find themselves sat in mid-table but only a few points off play-off positions. Blackpool who have lost 4 of last 5 needing to re-discover their early form. They can be backed at 6/1. They have traded at a low of 11/4 for promotion after winning their opening 3 games. Nottingham Forest are also 6/1 but have drawn 5 out of 11 games.
The Relegation Battle
Peterborough staged a mini revival winning 2 games on the bounce but have since lost their last 2 and have now lost 9 from 11 and are 4/11 favourites to finish in the bottom 3. On current form, who would argue?
Ipswich currently find themselves sitting second bottom having won only once in the the first 11 and could be looking for a new manager shortly. Ipswich are currently 5/2 to be relegated after opening day quotes of 10/1. A new manager if Jewell does leave may be able to give some much needed freshness to the squad after only 2 draws and 7 defeats in the last 9.
Sheffield Wednesday will be disappointed with their recent form after an encouraging first 3 games, they have now lost 6 of the last 8 and are at 3/1 to be relegated, after 3 games they were 18/1. Bristol City also had an encouraging start to the season winning 2 of the first 3 but find themselves just outside the relegation places after losing 3 of the last 5 and are now 7/2 from a high of 6/1 for the drop.
Biggest surprise at the bottom of the table is Birmingham who sit in 20th place having won just 3 from 11. Lee Clark made some decent signings before the season started and I thought they would have a decent campaign, they can be backed at 10/1 for relegation which is unlikely with the squad they have but pressure will start to mount on manager Lee Clark if results don't improve soon.
South East London rivals Charlton Athletic 7/2 and Millwall 11/4 will both be looking over their shoulders. Charlton look to be lightweight in midfield and their best results are coming away from home where they can hit teams on the counter attack. Millwall will be slightly happier having stopped a run of 3 defeats with 3 draws and a win in the last 4 games. But for both a season looking down rather than up awaits. Barnsley who were favourites pre season won't be overly disappointed with their start, winning 4 and losing 5 of their opening 11. I thought pre season they would survive and from what I've seen I still believe this. 9/4 offers little value.
With 35 games still to go and only 6 points seperating the first 13 teams there is sure to be plenty more talking points in what is a very competitive division.
Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinCrout
And check out his blog at Football-Talk