Try the new bettingexpert

How To Bet On The Championship


Betting on the Championship is not for the faint of heart. As one of world football's most difficult leagues to predict, the English Football Championship presents a challenge to even the most experienced football bettors. In our detailed guide to betting on the Championship, we will show you how to approach betting on this highly popular yet challenging league.

Betting On The Championship: An Introduction

The Championship is the second tier of English football and the top division in the English Football League. The Championship is home to some of England's most famous and successful clubs, who have rich top division and European heritage. It is also the richest non-top flight league in Europe and has the highest average attendance of any second flight division.

In this betting guide we will show you how to make consistent profits when betting on The Championship.

2018/19 Championship Dates

The 2018/19 Championship season will commence on August 3 2018 and conclude May 5 2019.


  1. How The Championship Works
  2. History Of The Championship
  3. Championship Odds Explained
  4. How To Bet On The Championship And Win
  5. Championship Betting Stats
  6. Betting On The Championship Online
  7. Championship Live Streaming
  8. Championship Betting Tips

1. How The Championship Works

The Championship, known as the Football League Championship or the Sky Bet Championship for sponsorship reasons, features 24 teams. These 24 teams play each other twice a season, once at home and once away, for a total of 46 games each. The 2018/19 Championship season begins August 3rd and run through to May 5th 2019.

Championship Winner And Premier League Promotion

The team that finishes with the most points after their 46 games are declared Championship Winners and are awarded with an automatic place in the Premier League for the following season.

The team that finishes second at the end of the season are declared runners-up and are also given an automatic Premier League position.

There are also four play-off places available, the teams that finish third, fourth, fifth and sixth qualify for the play-offs. Third plays sixth and fourth plays fifth in a two-legged Semi-Final, with the winners of each tie meeting each other in the Play-Off Final. The winners of this match are awarded the last Premier League place for the following season.

Championship Relegation

The three teams that finish in 22nd, 23rd and 24th position after their 46 matches take up the three places known as the Championship Relegation Zone and are demoted to League One, with the top two and the play-off winners of that division replacing them for the following season.

European Qualification

No Championship side can qualify for a European place through their league position, with only Premier League clubs capable of qualifying for a European spot through their league standing. However, if a Championship club was to win either the FA Cup or Football League Cup, they'd be awarded a qualifying spot in the Europa League for the following season.

2. History Of The Championship

The Championship started life in 1892 and was known as the Second Division until 1992, when the then First Division clubs broke away from the Football League system and formed the Premier League. The Championship then became known as the First Division up until 2004 when it was re-branded as the Football League Championship. Over the last decade the league has been sponsored by Coco-Cola, npower, and now Sky Bet.

Since becoming known The Championship, 55 teams have played in this division. Out of those 55, 36 of them have played Premier League football for at least one season.

Almost every club to have competed in The Championship has been English, except for the Welsh clubs Swansea City and Cardiff City. Wrexham were also members of the second tier of English football between 1978 and 1982.

Championship (First Division) Winners Since 1992/1993

SeasonWinnerRunner-UpPlay-Off Winner
1992/1993 Newcastle United West Ham United Swindon Town
1993/1994 Crystal Palace Nottingham Forest Leicester City
1994/1995 Middlesbrough Reading* Bolton Wanderers
1995/1996 Sunderland Derby County Leicester City
1996/1997 Bolton Wanderers Barnsley Crystal Palace
1997/1998 Nottingham Forest Middlesbrough Charlton Athletic
1998/1999 Sunderland Bradford City Watford
1999/2000 Charlton Athletic Manchester City Ipswich Town
2000/2001 Fulham Blackburn Rovers Bolton Wanderers
2001/2002 Manchester City West Brom Birmingham City
2002/2003 Portsmouth Leicester City Wolverhampton Wanderers
2003/2004 Norwich City West Brom Crystal Palace
2004/2005 Sunderland Wigan Athletic West Ham United
2005/2006 Reading Sheffield United Watford
2006/2007 Sunderland Birmingham City Derby County
2007/2008 West Brom Stoke City Hull City
2008/2009 Wolverhampton Wanderers Birmingham City Burnley
2009/2010 Newcastle United West Brom Blackpool
2010/2011 Queens Park Rangers Norwich City Swansea
2011/2012 Reading Southampton West Ham United
2012/2013 Cardiff City Hull City Crystal Palace
2013/2014 Leicester City Burnley Queens Park Rangers
2014/2015 AFC Bournemouth Watford Norwich City
2015/2016 Burnley Middlesbrough Hull City
2016/2017 Newcastle United Brighton & Hove Albion Huddersfield Town
2017/2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers Cardiff City Fulham

3. Championship Odds Explained

When betting on The Championship, it's vital you learn and research the various betting markets available and the odds bookmakers offer to increase your chances of making consistent profits. Like the Premier League, betting on the Championship is huge business, with millions of pounds bet on this division every season. Bookmakers offer a wide variety of betting markets, from outright bets such as Championship Winners and Who Will Be Promoted, to match betting like Both Teams To Score and Total Goals Over/Under. We'll look at the most popular here.

Championship Match Markets

There are dozens of football bet types covering outcomes for individual football matches. The most popular of these include:

  • Match Result 1X2: Selecting the result (Home win, Draw, Away win) at the end of 90 minutes plus added time.
  • Asian Handicap: Selecting the winner with each competing team carrying a goals handicap.
  • Goal Total Over/Under: Selecting either over or under a specified number of goals.

For a comprehensive list and detailed descriptions of football bet types, please read our How To Bet On Football - Football Bets Explained guide.

Championship Outright Winner Odds

Every bookmaker offers odds on each Championship side to win the Championship title. Some fantastic odds can be found when betting on this market, with odds available at the start and throughout the season.

Typically, the three teams relegated from the Premier League the season before are the lowest priced, so it's definitely worth studying each side in the Championship and assessing their chances.

Most bookmakers also offer each-way odds on title winners, up to third place, though usually this is at a quarter of the original odds. Betting each-way is a better idea and better value if you're wanting to place your stake on a side who are not favourites and have odds of at least 11.0.

Odds to win The Championship vary between bookmakers, so it's a good idea to use an odds comparison site to ensure you're taking the best odds available.

Odds on Championship Title Winners are usually quite long due to the league being one of the most difficult leagues to predict. It is also definitely advantageous to keep up to date with the latest results and team news when you have placed or are contemplating placing a bet on title winners.

For example, a side you want to place a Championship Outright Winner bet on might lose their first four games, therefore their odds on winning the league would lengthen. You may consider them unlucky losers in those opening matches, and now given their greater odds, you may consider them a genuine value bet. Or, perhaps you've analysed a team's pre-season form and given the signings they've made in the transfer market, you place an Outright Title Winner bet before the season begins at good odds. If this team performs how you expect and wins their first few games, their odds will shorten. Close study of both historical Championship trends as well as the teams currently within the division, is key to making consistent profits, and is crucial for outright Championship bets.

Championship Promotion Odds

Betting on which clubs will earn promotion to the Premier League is another hugely popular market. This keeps the interest in the division going until the last kick of the season, regardless of whether any other outright market has been settled. The top six positions are vital, with the top two automatically promoted to the Premier League while the third, fourth, fifth and sixth placed clubs enter the Championship Play-Offs with the opportunity to earn a place in the top flight. The Play-Off Final is known as the 'richest game in football', with the value of winning that game reported in 2016 to be in the region of £170 million.

The financial rewards of promotion ensure that the race for the play-offs are an exciting watch for viewers, and betting on this market is one of the most popular bets in English football.

How To Bet On The Championship

Above we can see an example of Championship Promotion odds, in this instance odds for each club listed by Paddy Power heading into the 2018/19 Championship campaign.

As well as odds for promotion to the Premier League, there are also odds for Top Six Finishers, Top Two Finishers and Play-Off Place finishers.

Championship Relegation Odds

The Championship Relegation dogfight is another market massively popular with bettors. Odds on this market are available before and during the season. Your knowledge and studying of the Championship every week will help you enormously when it comes to staking your money on a particular side to go down.

The shortest odds are typically given to those sides who have just been promoted from League One, but it's worth noting that out of the 36 teams promoted from League One since the Championship was re-branded in 2004, only five of them have been relegated the season after.

Below we can see an example of Championship Relegation Odds, in this case, odds listed at Coral prior to the commencement of the 2018/19 Championship season.

How To Bet On The Championship

The Championship is renowned for being a tough league to judge, and only by studying the league on a week by week basis do you stand a better chance of your bets coming in on a regular basis. Championship relegation odds can vary from bookmaker to bookmaker, so make sure you look around to compare odds on offer.

Championship Top Goalscorer Odds

Another favourite is the Championship Top Goalscorer market. The Championship possesses some excellent players with Premier League and International experience, capable of scoring plenty of goals. Since 2004, every top scorer has scored in excess of 20 goals that season. It's worth noting though that there's no real correlation between top goalscorers and title winners, only twice in the last 14 seasons has the Championship's Top Goalscorer played for the Title Winners.

Championship (First Division) Top Goalscorers

1992/1993 Guy Whittingham Portsmouth 42
1993/1994 John McGinlay Bolton Wanderers 25
1994/1995 John Aldridge Tranmere Rovers 24
1995/1996 John Aldridge Tranmere Rovers 26
1996/1997 John McGinlay Bolton Wanderers 24
1997/1998 Pierre Van Hooijdonk Nottingham Forest 29
  Kevin Phillips Sunderland 29
1998/1999 Lee Hughes West Bromwich Albion 31
1999/2000 Andrew Hunt Charlton Athletic 24
2000/2001 Louis Saha Fulham 27
2001/2002 Shaun Goater Manchester City 28
2002/2003 Svetoslav Todorov Portsmouth 26
2003/2004 Andy Johnson Crystal Palace 27
2004/2005 Nathan Ellington Wigan Athletic 24
2005/2006 Marlon King Watford 21
2006/2007 Jamie Cureton Colchester United 23
2007/2008 Sylvain Ebanks-Blake Wolverhampton Wanderers 23
2008/2009 Sylvain Ebanks-Blake Wolverhampton Wanderers 25
2009/2010 Peter Whittingham Cardiff City 20
  Nicky Maynard Bristol City 20
2010/2011 Danny Graham Watford 24
2011/2012 Rickie Lambert Southampton 27
2012/2013 Glenn Murray Crystal Palace 30
2013/2014 Ross McCormack Leeds United 29
2014/2015 Daryl Murphy Ipswich Town 27
2015/2016 Andre Gray Burnley 25
2016/2017 Chris Wood Leeds United 27
2017/2018 Matej Vydra Derby County 21

4. How To Bet On The Championship And Win

When it comes to betting on the Championship, there are a number of things you can do to enhance your chances. Many of these apply to football betting no matter what league, division or tournament your are wagering on. These include:

  • Bet only when there is value
  • Specialise in certain markets
  • Apply a consistent staking method
  • Keep detailed records of your bets
  • Have accounts with multiple bookmakers

To learn more, please read our How To Bet On Football And Win guide.

Conduct Regular Research And Analysis 

The most effective way of staying one step ahead of the bookmakers when it comes to Championship betting is to study the league religiously. Research Championship news, Championship results and the Championship table. Study each side, how many goals on average they score per game, how many they concede, home records, away records, injuries, suspensions and new signings.In short, research and study absolutely everything that can play a part in how a team performs. It may sound like a lot of work, but to consistently make profits when betting on Championship fixtures it's vital you research this information and keep a close eye on results and performances week after week.

If you're looking to enhance your Championship betting research, here are our top sites for Championship stats and news:

5. Championship Betting Stats

In this section we'll consider some basic statistical trends across the Championship the last five seasons.

What Is Home Field Advantage Worth In The Championship?

The table below shows the winning percentages for home and away clubs in the Championship the last five seasons. We can see that home teams have won just over 42% of matches played. As a comparison, the Premier League 44.5% of matches go to the home team across the same five season time frame.

 Home %Draw %Away %
Championship 42.2% 28.2% 29.6%

What does this home field advantage translate to in terms of goals scored? The table below shows the average number of goals scored for both home and away clubs in the Championship across the last five seasons.

 Home GoalsAway GoalsAdvantage
Championship 1.44 1.16 +0.28

We can see that the average home field advantage in the Championship has been +0.28 goals, which amounts to a 0.56 goal swing for the average Championship club playing at home as opposed to playing away. By comparison, the Premier League saw the average home club score 1.54 goals, to the average away club 1.19, for a home advantage of +0.35 goals.

Most Common Winning Margins In The Championship

How often do we see matches in the Championship blow out to margins of at least three goals? The table below shows the percentage of matches that conclude with a given margin across the last five seasons in the Championship.

 Home 3+Home 2Home 1DrawAway 1Away 2Away 3+
Championship 8.6% 11.4% 22.2% 28.2% 17.7% 7.7% 4.1%

We can see that almost 13% of Championship matches have ended with margins of three goals or greater across the last five seasons(home victories 8.6% and away victories 4.1%). These are rates similar to both Serie A and the Russian Premier League, leagues that both saw 13% of matches played end with three goal margins the last five seasons.

How Often Do Championship Matches End Over 2.5 Goals?

How often do matches in the Championship end with at least two goals scored? How often to we see Championship matches see in excess of four goals? The table below shows the percentage of matches played in the Championship the last five seasons that saw minimum goal totals.

 Over 1.5Under 1.5Over 2.5Under 2.5Over 3.5Under 3.5
Championship 73.3% 26.7% 48.6% 51.4% 26.1% 73.9%

We can see that just under 49% of matches played in the Championship went over the 2.5 goal mark. This rate is comparable to both Serie A and Portugal Primeira, who saw matches end over 2.5 goals in the range of 48% the last five seasons.

How Often Do Both Teams To Score? How Often Does A Match Go Scoreless?

Lastly, let's consider the how often both teams scored in Championship matches, and how often matches ended without a goal the last five seasons.

 BTTS YesBTTS NoScoreless Match
Championship 53.0% 47.0% 8.0%

The table above shows us that 53% of Championship matches saw both teams score across the last five seasons, a mark that exceeds a number of Europe's biggest leagues including the Premier League which saw just a rate of just over 51%. We can also see that 8% of Championship matches did not see a single goal scored, the exact same rate that the Premier League saw of scoreless matches across the same span of time.

For more football betting stats covering ten of Europe's biggest leagues, please refer to our How To Bet On Football guide.

6. Betting On The Championship Online

As one of the most popular leagues in all of Europe, virtually every online bookmaker offers a broad range of betting odds for Championship matches.

When choosing an online bookmaker for your Championship betting, keep the following in mind:

  • Bookmaker's reputation and profile
  • Championship betting markets and odds
  • Championship in-play markets and Cash Out
  • Mobile betting
  • Welcome bonus and promotional offers

To learn more about selecting a bookmaker for your Championship football betting, please consult our Football Bookmakers guide.

To read detailed reviews of over 50 online bookmakers, please visit our Bookmaker Reviews listing.

 For all the latest Championship free bets and other promotions available, please visit our Free Bets listing. Additionally, check out Coral's enhanced odds offers.

7. Championship Live Streaming

Sky Sports have exclusive rights to broadcast Championship football in the UK, with 75 matches and the play-off Semi-Finals and Final being broadcast with Sky. Companies such as bein Sports and ESPN broadcast a number of matches throughout the rest of the world.

In terms of bookmakers, Betfair offer visual live streaming to the rest of the world other than the UK due to UK licensing laws, but do offer audio streaming to their UK customers. Access to bookmaker streams can vary from country to country and depend on certain terms and conditions, here at bettingexpert we have a detailed guide to the best bookmaker live streams which you will find here.

8. Championship Betting Tips

At bettingexpert, we have thousands of experts who offer their Championship betting predictions and betting tips on matches played in the Championship every week. What distinguishes bettingexpert from other betting sites is the ability to track how successful each Championship betting expert is via the user statistics tab.

We'd like to say that every Championship tipster at bettingexpert is profitable. But realistically that's not possible. But using our tipster stats you can easily find and follow the best Championship tipsters at bettingexpert.

Best Championship Tipsters 2018/19

Below you can see bettingexpert's top Championship tipsters from the last couple of seasons. Which of these Championship experts will be profitable again in 2018/19?

Best Championship tipsters

For all the latest tips, please visit our Championship betting tips page.

Read More bettingexpert How To Guides