The EFL Championship might only be the second tier league in England but it is one of the best supported leagues in Europe and was 6th for the most players at the recent European Championship. It’s also a great league for betting on with lots of great action and the outright market is one full of interest and intrigue. We’ve put together this analysis of who the bets teams are, our match predictions and betting tips.
Who are the favourites to win the EFL Championship?
As a second tier league, betting on the EFL Championship outright winners is a little bit unlike betting on other outright winners. It’s impossible to bet on the previous season’s winners as they have been promoted to the Premier League, while the favourites are often one of the teams who have had a poor season last time out and got relegated from the top flight.
We’ve outlined who we think you should back below:
Fulham were relegated from the Premier League last time out, finishing 18th out of 20 teams some nine points behind Burnley. While they have lost a couple of players in the close season along with manager Scott Parker it’s evident that Fulham owner Shahid Khan has put the money in to ensure the Cottagers bounce back up at the first attempt. Former Hull City, Watford and Everton boss Marco Silva has been drafted in to take charge at Craven Cottage while the £12million transfer of forward Harry Wilson has been sanctioned from Liverpool.
An opening day draw with Middlesboro shouldn’t detract from just how strong Fulham are; they have a team full of players who are more than capable at this level and who have experience of promotion in previous seasons. In 2019-20 Fulham got promoted after a great unbeaten run during “Project Restart” in July 2020 got them into the playoffs and out the other side. In Aleksandar Mitrovic they have a striker who has scored 38 times in 57 games at this level; if they can get him firing again then they have to be heavyweight contenders.
Sheffield United 8.00
Another of last season’s relegated teams is Sheffield United, who endured a torrid time last season in the top flight picking up just 23 points all year. It could have been much worse for tem but for three wins in their last six games which helped to ensure they didn’t finish with a record low points total. They’ve not started the new season well either, going down 1-0 to a Birmingham City side at home despite having the lion’s share of possession.
The Blades have bought in Slavisa Jokanovic as manager, who has won promotion to the Premier League twice already with Watford and Fulham. They’ve not been active in the transfer window yet, although they have also hung onto some of their more expensive acquisitions from last season in Aaron Ramsdale, Sander Berge and Rhian Brewster. With Brewster finally breaking his scoring duck for the Blades in the EFL Cup it’s possible he might now start to repay his huge transfer fee; however it will be interesting to see who the Blades can hang on to past the end of the transfer window.
Stoke City 17.00
The Potters had an incredibly underwhelming season last time out finishing 14th in the Championship but are seen by many pundits as a potential dark horse in the division this season with the squad now pruned of a fair amount of deadwood. Ryan Woods moved on for free to Birmingham City, John Obi Mikel went to Kuwait while defender Bruno Martins Indi moved back to his native Netherlands for an undisclosed fee.
In their place has come the experienced Norwich midfielder Mario Vrancic along with striker Sam Surridge with the former Bournemouth man immediately starting to pay off his fee scoring the winner in the Potters’ opening day 3-2 win over Reading. With a pared down squad shorn of some of the expensive mistakes that Stoke had picked up in previous seasons it’s possible that they could be a real threat in this division – however there does need to a sustained improvement over the next few months.
Birmingham City 41.00
With Blues having flirted with relegation more often than not in recent seasons it seems a bit daft looking at them as a possible to win the division. However, the appointment of Lee Bowyer last season has looked an astute move for the side from St Andrew’s and the opening day win over Sheffield United has shown that there is talent among the ranks in the team.
In recent years the big problem for Birmingham has been an over reliance on forward Lukas Jutkiewicz for goals which has seen them struggle against any team that can defend crosses. Bowyer has tried to address that by bringing in mobile forward Chuks Aneke as well as talented Manchester United attacking midfielder Tahith Chong on loan. With Ryan Woods brought in to give a bit more strength in midfield and Dion Sanderson to provide competition in defence Blues have what looks on paper to be a much stronger squad. Whether this proves to be the case over a 46 game season remains to be seen but as an each way shot they could be worth a punt – particularly if they can continue to pick up points against the more fancied teams.