Championship Season Betting Tips & Preview
Chief rollers of the Championship dice are Derby who have placed their faith in rookie boss Frank Lampard to end their Premier League exile at long last.
There are gambles being made all over the Championship right now.
Chief rollers of the dice are Derby who have placed their faith in rookie boss Frank Lampard to end their Premier League exile at long last.
The ex-Chelsea star was a legendary player and a razor-sharp pundit, but as we know from similar examples in the past those attributes do not always equate to a good manager.
What Lamps certainly brings is an X-Factor and after the loss of Jorge Mendes-inspired Wolves to the top flight, the second tier was in need of some glamour.
Derby turned to Lampard when Gary Rowett upped sticks to take over at Stoke and even that move could be considered a gamble from the club’s perspective.
Rowett is a likeable, honest guy who has generally got the most out of his squads and then some at Burton, Birmingham and Derby.
But the 44-year-old is still yet to add a promotion to his managerial CV so for the Potters to entrust their hopes of an instant Prem return to him is by no means a sure thing.
Saying that, Rowett’s business so far has looked very sound indeed and puts them rightly among the favourites to go up.
Benik Afobe and Tom Ince may not be quite good enough for the Premier League but they are top Championship players, while convincing Joe Allen to stay could be key.
West Brom had no plans to hire Darren Moore permanently when he took over as a caretaker after Alan Pardew’s sacking in April.
But the 44-year-old blew everyone away with his interim spell - which saw him win the Premier League Manager of the Month in April - and the Baggies had to appoint him.
Now we will see if Moore’s amazing start was just the ultimate new manager bounce or whether he’s the real deal.
But again it is hard to make a call on how he will fare given his lack of experience, just as it is for Graham Potter - at least in terms of English football know-how - at the other relegated side, Swansea.
One club we can be pretty certain of is Middlesbrough, who look more and more a Tony Pulis team with each passing day of the transfer window.
Man mountain Aden Flint has been brought in from Bristol City - who themselves face a rebuilding job given the loss of Bobby Reid - and powerhouse midfielder Paddy McNair.
Expect plenty of set-piece goals, clean sheets and direct, physical football - and do not be surprised if Boro are up among the automatic spots come the end of the season
In contrast, Brentford are one of the division’s most easy-on-the-eye sides and this could be the year they show their style comes with substance too.
As for Leeds, well, who knows? It could be heaven under Marcelo Bielsa, with scintillating football strolling them to promotion, or hell with the Argentine throwing his toys out by November.
The same could be said for Nottingham Forest, said to be Mendes’ new Championship project, who have gone down the Wolves route of signing up Portuguese talent.
One club who have sensibly played it safe is Aston Villa, with their new owners heeding fans’ pleas not to sack Steve Bruce and bring in untested Thierry Henry.
Bruce divides opinion among Villa supporters as his brand of football is not always the best and his promotion expertise has failed to deliver so far.
But with changes afoot at Villa Park, and star man Jack Grealish more than likely to leave for Tottenham, stability in the dugout is wise.
At the bottom, you fear for Bolton again after their close shave last season.
Blackburn and Wigan have far bigger budgets than Burton ever did and will be looking to establish themselves, meaning Phil Parkinson’s side face a bigger uphill task.
QPR have put their faith in Steve McClaren - who cannot dine out on his cliched billing of being a “good coach” forever - and have scaled back the spending with that FFP fine looming.
Rotherham and their affable boss Paul Warne will be in a scrap from Day One while Hull’s flurry of exits, couple with a lack of owner ambition, could be a punt too far.