CHAMPIONSHIP 2017/18 OUTRIGHT BETTING PREVIEW
Aston Villa and Middlesbrough have been installed as early favourites to gain promotion back to the Premier League next season. The Villans have signed experienced players such as former Chelsea and England captain John Terry, Glenn Whelan, Ahmed Elmohamady and Christopher Samba and will be determined to return in the top-flight this year.
Boro, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, have appointed former Swansea manager Garry Monk and signed good players such as Jonny Howson from Norwich, Darren Randolph from West Ham, Toulouse forward Martin Braithwaite, West Ham's Ashley Fletcher for £6.5million and Britt Assombalonga from Nottingham Forest. Clearly, they can count on the best attack of the league.
The other two relegated teams, Hull City and Sunderland, also recruited new managers in the form of Leonid Slutsky and Simon Grayson respectively. The Black Cats have lost prolific marksman Jermain Defoe - replaced by Bury's striker James Vaughan - who has signed for Bournemouth but they still have a solid squad and a midfield ideally suited to the Championship.
Reading enjoyed a stellar campaign last year finishing the regular season in 3rd place, only nine points off champions Newcastle. Manager Jaap Staam has managed to keep most of his squad together, adding former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone and Ajax youngster Pelle Clement. They could be the surprise package this season.
Wolves come from a 15th-placed finish last season but we expect them to improve under former Porto and Valencia boss Nuno Espririto Santo. Their summer recruitment drive has been eye-catching. The Chinese owners have signed high-quality players such as Porto midfielder Ruben Neves and defender Willy Boly. With the likes of Ivan Cavaleiro and Helder Costa already in the team, Nuno will have plenty of talent at his disposal.
Fulham ended 2016-17 in excellent form to force their way into the play-offs and indeed started them as favourites for Wembley success. The Cottagers will hope to continue the momentum they generated in the spring.
Leeds fell away from the top six in the final weeks of the season. They have confirmed most of their roster and could be in the mix for a play-off berth.
Norwich were generally considered to have one of the strongest squads in the division last season but underachieved. They have lost Johnny Howson and Graham Dorrans but have added Angus Gunn on loan from Manchester City and Mario Vrancic, who is certainly an exciting prospect. The Canaries, of course, can't be ruled out for the promotion race.
Sheffield Wednesday have missed out in the play-offs for the last two seasons and will be hoping it is their turn to celebrate this time around, while Derby County have lost Tom Ince and Will Hughes and don't look serious contenders this year as well as Cardiff City, Brentford, Birmingham and Nottingham Forest.
At the other end of the table, newly promoted Millwall and Bolton will likely find themselves in a relegation fight, along with the likes of Burton Albion, QPR and Barnsley.
CHAMPIONSHIP 2017/18 OUTRIGHT ODDS
- Middlesbrough @ 8.50
- Aston Villa @ 8.50
- Fulham @ 10.00
- Sheffield Wednesday @ 12.00
- Wolves @ 13.00
- Norwich @ 13.00
- Derby @ 15.00
- Leeds @ 19.00
- Sunderland @ 19.00
- Hull City @ 21.00
- Brentford @ 26.00
- Reading @ 26.00
- Birmingham @ 31.00
- Cardiff @ 34.00
- Sheffield Utd @ 41.00
- Nottingham Forest @ 41.00
- Preston @ 76.00
- Bristol City @ 81.00
- Ipswich @ 101.00
- QPR @ 101.00
- Millwall @ 151.00
- Barnsley @ 201.00
- Bolton @ 251.00
- Burton @ 251.00
CHAMPIONSHIP 2017/18 OUTRIGHT PREDICTIONS
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"Championship 2017/18 Outright Predictions: Winner, Top Goalscorer, Promotion and Relegation tips"