Betting on English Championship Football
The English Championship, formed out of the old English League 1, is the second tier of professional football in England (and Wales – there are two Welsh clubs currently in the division in the form of Swansea City and Cardiff City). There are 24 teams in the division, and each team plays the other 23 on a home and away round-robin basis for a total of a long, 46-game season which sees teams playing almost twice a week for the entire campaign. The English Championship season really is a marathon of physical and mental endurance, and is one of the many reasons why Championship betting odds at the start of the season are often wide of the mark when the season comes down to its denouement in May.
The top two teams at the end of the league campaign are promoted, while the next four teams enter a playoff tournament – 3rd plays 6th and 4th plays 5th in home and away encounters before a showpiece final is played at Wembley Stadium to decide the third and final team to be promoted. This is often talked about at the game in football with the most prestigious prize from a pure monetary perspective – promotion to the cash-rich English Premier League really is worth that much money (more than £100m in most estimates, which is far more than the winners of the UEFA Champions League win, for example).
The bottom three clubs at the end of the season are relegated to the English League 1. The fact that the team who are favourites to go down are available at as short odds as 50/1 to get promoted shows the nature of the competition in this league, as well as the nature of Championship title and relegation betting odds.
English Championship Football Odds
Championship football odds tend to reflect the division well – an almost lottery. That is the fun but also the frustration of this league: that on any given day, any team can and usually does beat any other team. Betting odds will always reflect this almost random nature of proceedings in the division. For example, at the start of the 2018/19 season, eventual champions Norwich City were the tenth favourites to get promoted, but the odds were still only 7/1. The second side to go up, Sheffield United, were thirteenth favourites, but still only at odds of 8/1 t the commencement of the campaign.
It seems predicting who will get relegated is a much simpler task in the English Championship: the three teams with the longest odds to secure promotion at the start of the completed 2018/19 season – Ipswich (25/1), Rotherham (80/1) and Bolton (80/1) – all ended up getting relegated. Championship relegation odds seem much more indicative of the real situation than the Championship promotion betting odds.
Looking at goals, the division does not display a particularly high average number of goals per game or a high percentage of games featuring more ta three goals – both are on par with the global average. Once again, it is the fact that outsiders win a lot of matches that really stands out on the league. Who are the outsiders? That is the question you really need to ask!
English Championship Title Odds for 2019-20
Every season, the English Championship proves to be one of the most difficult leagues in which to predict who will win the competition, and this seems no clearer for the 2019/20 season. As usual for Championship title odds, the relegated teams from the Premier League feature heavily at the front of the queue – this season sees Huddersfield Town, Fulham and Cardiff re-join a division that all have been in in the last three years. However, all three of these teams would not be traditional behemoths of English football, and all had poor seasons in 2018/19 (as their relegation would suggest, but performances were worse than expectations on the case of Huddersfield and Fulham in particular). Of those three, Fulham look the best equipped to climb back out of the second tier, despite a rookie manager in Scott Parker, and can be backed at betting odds reflecting their status as second favourites, behind Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United, who were unlucky to miss out in 2018/19. Stoke are fifth favourites at in the Championship title betting odds, behind West Bromwich Albion come next.
Other teams to look at would be teams who got to the playoffs in the previous season, but failed to make it up to the Premier League. Derby County were the unlucky club to miss out in the Playoff Final in May 2019, but much depends on whether they can hang on to coach Frank Lampard. The Rams have also lost their two best players in Harry Wilson and Mason Mount, who were on loan from Liverpool and Chelsea respectively. West Brom are the other team who missed out in the end-of-season deciders, and will be buoyed by the appointment of ex West Ham and Croatia head coach Slaven Bili? as new boss.
Yet this is the Championship, and so an outsider will always come to the fore. Looking at Championship title odds in any given season, 50/1 is usually about the longest odds of any team, displaying the almost unrivalled competitive nature of the division.
English Championship Football History
The English Championship, formerly League 1, and before that, the old Second Division, is a league which contains some grand old names of English, and even European football. In fact, in 2016, the league made history by becoming the first in the world to feature a match between two clubs who had won a continental competition when Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest, both former winners of the UEFA European Cup, met in a league encounter. That is quite some pedigree.
Other big names of English football include Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers, the latter one of only 6 teams to date to win the English Premier League in its 27-year history up until 2019. The pedigree of some of the teams in the English Championship combined with the prize on offer to the three clubs who are promoted at the end of the season make betting on the Championship incredibly popular, and Championship title odds are constantly displayed by bookmakers and TV companies due to the interest of the public.
In it's recent history, the Championship has attracted some big name managers and players to its competition – Marcelo Bielsa, ex-Argentina and Chile head coach, is currently coach of Leeds United as of June 2019 - while the competition can be viewed on television in countries across the globe. Average attendances at matches in the Championship rival and in some places surpass top-flight attendances in many other football countries. In fact, in 2018/19, the league had the third highest accumulative attendance figures in Europe (more than 11 million), behind only the Premier League and the Bundesliga.
This is a division with history, competition, big name payers and vociferous support – it's not hard to see why betting on Championship football is as popular as watching it.