Middlesbrough odds and Aston Villa bets among Championship season tips
FootyOn experts give their 2017/18 Championship season tips, which include Middlesbrough odds in the outright market and Aston Villa bets to be promoted.
The Championship is becoming ever more competitive and that is reflected in the title betting being 7/1 the field.
It could hardly have been more different last season with the mighty Newcastle United justifying short price favouritism.
Their Tyne-Tees rivals Middlesbrough are joined at the head of this year’s outright betting by sleeping Midlands giants Aston Villa.
Boro have a new boss in Garry Monk, who left Leeds United at the end of last season, and have invested heavily on making an immediate Premier League return.
Upwards of £40,000,000 has recruited the likes of Republic of Ireland duo Darren Randolph and Cyrus Christie in goal and at right back, Jonny Howson in midfield and plenty of new attacking options.
Those include Britt Assombalonga from Nottingham Forest (a move FootyOn tipped), who is a general 8/1 favourite to be Championship top scorer.
If the £15,000,000 addition doesn’t deliver for Boro or gets injured, then Ashley Fletcher and Denmark international Martin Braithwaite are alternatives in attack.
Having kept the bulk of their squad together from the Premier League campaign of last term, Middlesbrough odds of 7/1 with betway for the second tier title are tempting.
There is also a safer 2/1 punt with Sky Bet for the Riverside outfit just to be promoted.
Bank on Bruce getting Villa promoted
The signing of John Terry is just the tip of the iceberg for Boro’s outright betting and promotion rivals Aston Villa.
In Steve Bruce, they have a manager who has five promotions from the Championship in his coaching career so far.
Besides acquiring legendary ex-Chelsea captain Terry on a free, Bruce has drafted in faithful retainer Ahmed Elmohamady, a proven performer at this level down the right-hand side of the pitch.
Congo defender Chris Samba also adds a physical presence again for nothing, while veteran midfielder Glenn Whelan is a steadying influence.
This strengthening of the Aston Villa spine, plus securing Sam Johnstone on loan from Manchester United in goal again, should see them improve on mid-table.
In front of these players are two of the five leading Golden Boot contenders in Jonathan Kodija (9/1 with Sky Bet) and Scott Hogan (16/1 with the same bookmaker).
As the squad has real strength-in-depth, Aston Villa bets in the promotion are particularly good value.
Nearly teams still have something to find
Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday went close in their promotion pushes last term, but lost out in the play-off semi-finals.
While both sides are expected to come again, they are lacking the depth of the Championship market principals on paper.
Slavisa Jokanovic has yet to see Craven Cottage plundered for the likes of highly-rated left-sided player Ryan Sessegnon and goalscoring midfielder Tom Cairney.
If he can keep hold of those assets, then Fulham may yet live up to betway’s 3/1 promotion odds because of some smart recruitment.
Their close proximity to Premier League champions Chelsea has allowed the west Londoners to again loan in Tomas Kalas and bring Stamford Bridge colleague Lucas Piazon with him.
Besides the Czech Republic defender returning and the Brazilian forward’s arrival, Brighton have loaned Northern Ireland international Oliver Norwood to Fulham.
He fills the deep-lying midfield void left at the Cottage by the now-retired Scott Parker.
A safer bet is 11/10 with the same bookmaker for a repeat top six finish.
The Owls have kept their squad together and secured head coach Carlos Carvalhal on a new contract. Will it be third time lucky at Hillsborough?
Tough for Midlands men to realise ambitions
Like Aston Villa, there are other clubs in the Midlands desperate to get back into the Premier League in Derby County and Wolves.
The Rams come again under Gary Rowett without Tom Ince, after cashing in on him and Huddersfield Town’s promotion.
Right back Christie’s departure to Boro is offset by the return of Andre Wisdom, who excelled on loan at Pride Park during the 2013/14 campaign.
Derby’s spine is also reinforced by former Hull City duo Curtis Davies and Tom Huddlestone, a prodigal son returning to his first club.
Whilst the additions of proven performers from an even higher level are to County’s credit, they have recruited similar players before and are still stuck in the second tier.
They are 4/1 with Paddy Power to change that, however, and be promoted or 8/5 with the same bookie for a top six finish.
West Midlands rivals Wolves have spent big on former Porto midfielder Ruben Neves as their Portuguese invasion continues.
There’s yet another new manager in the Molineux hotseat in ex-Valencia boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
All this chopping and changing cannot be helpful, so Wolves must be regarded with some suspicion from a betting perspective.
Birmingham City under wily veteran Harry Redknapp may be a better bet to overachieve and figure.
Similar story for Hull, Leeds, Norwich and Sunderland
Speaking of new coaches, relegated pair Hull and Sunderland played their part in the managerial merry-go-round this summer to.
Leonid Slutsky was a CSKA Moscow stalwart, lasting several years in one of the Russian Premier League’s toughest jobs, but can he fill the shoes of well-regarded Tigers predecessors like Marco Silva and Bruce?
The Hull back four has been dismantled by the sales of Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Harry Maguire (Leicester City) and Elmohamady (Villa).
Sunderland‘s issues, meanwhile, are well-documented and the sensible expectation to place on new boss Simon Grayson is a season of stability for the Stadium of Light side.
Both the Black Cats (9/4) and Tigers (2/1) may be short respective prices with Sky Bet for the top six, but being stripped of prized assets leaves them with an uphill struggle.
Norwich City are trying to emulate Huddersfield’s success by going with a German gaffer and signings. Lightning seldom strikes twice.
Leeds United have kept hold of Chris Wood, who won last term’s Championship Golden Boot and 10/1 with BetVictor to repeat that, so that gives them hope.
Like the Canaries, though, their latest managerial appointment seems a little random in Danish-born Spaniard Thomas Christiansen.
What working knowledge does he, Slutsky or Daniel Farke have of the Championship?
Norwich look particularly short at 13/10 with Paddy Power for the top six, while Leeds are 9/4 with betway.
Promoted pair back to struggle alongside Burton
Plucky minnows Burton Albion defied expectations and stayed up last term, but perpetual struggles seem inevitable.
Nigel Clough’s Brewers are the best-price 17/10 favourites with Paddy Power for the drop this season.
That puts them just ahead of League One runners-up Bolton Wanderers (2/1 with betway) and play-off winners Millwall (5/2 with Sky Bet).
The Lions have a strike pairing in Lee Gregory and Steve Morison, but will their defence let them down?
Bolton’s big debts continue to loom over them and that has to be a worry for Phil Parkinson.
Yorkshire selling club Barnsley (2/1 with BetVictor), a QPR outfit unrecognisable from their Premier League stints (3/1 with Sky Bet) and Preston sans Grayson (9/2 with betway) are also relegation contenders.
Ipswich Town‘s shoestring budget may come back to haunt them too, as long-serving manager Mick McCarthy saw the Suffolk side put up less of a fight last season.
The Tractor Boys are 100/30 shouts with betway to go down and their squad is looking very thin in places.
This Championship campaign promises plenty and these predictions made above are far from certain to pan out.
That is the appeal of this absorbing division, though.
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