Bolton ready to bounce back - Championship preview
It's the gateway to the richest league in the world, and several teams will think they've got the key to unlock that door and gain promotion from the Championship.
The favourites are QPR (6/1), but similar to Wolves last season, their current squad might well change significantly by the time the transfer window shuts.
The likes of Loic Remy (20/1 top scorer), Julio Cesar and Adel Taarabt (66/1) are all extremely likely to be plying their trade in a different division, then you're left with a squad which is good but not outstanding for this level.
Such is the difference between their squad that won promotion a few years ago and what they're going to be operating with this season, you've also got to consider the fact that several of their players haven't played in the Championship - that could be crucial for those Tuesday night games at the likes of Bournemouth and Yeovil.
They will be in and around the top six for sure, but I'd prefer to bet on them for promotion at 13/8 rather than to win the league.
I think better value for the outright comes in the shape of Bolton (9/1, 3/1 promotion).
The Trotters were one of the form teams towards the end of last season, and with Dougie Freedman able to enjoy a full pre-season to really work with his players they should be ready to go right from the off this time.
They've strengthened an already solid defence in the shape of Marc Tierney and Alex Baptiste, then have added Jermaine Beckford (20/1) to their forwards, the former Leeds man has undoubted quality but has struggled to find a home over the last couple of years, this could really be his chance to shine.
The same price as Bolton are Reading (9/1, 5/2 promo), who will hope like QPR to not have any ill effects to their relegation last season.
The Royals have done well in not losing too many of their key players from last season, and as they didn't really sign many big names anyway during their PL stay, they have a squad packed with Championship experience.
Nigel Adkins has a fluent, attractive attacking style and the likes of Jimmy Kebe and Jobe McAnuff will run with the ball all day long, add Adam Le Fondre (12/1) into the mix to stick the ball in the back of the net, then you know that the Berkshire outfit will feature prominently this season.
Watford (10/1, 3/1 promo) suffered play-off heartache last season, after arguably being one of the best teams in the division during the regular season.
Gianfranco Zola relied on plenty of loan players last time out and now several of these players have joined permanently, but the danger can often be that the motivation isn't the same when you don't have to play for your contract.
Troy Deeney (16/1) and Fernando Forestieri (100/1) struck up a good understanding last season, and if they can thrive again with the addition of Lewis McGugan chipping in with goals from midfield then they'll be a real force again.
Nottingham Forest (11/1, 7/2 promo) are next in the betting, and they always seem to be a threat to the top six.
Jamie Mackie (50/1) has been brought in to try replace the goals of Billy Sharp, but similar to Dexter Blackstock (50/1) and Simon Cox (50/1) none of them are the 20+ goals a season type player that you need to really push for promotion.
They're the sort of team that will be easy on the eye with their neat and tidy midfield play, but I wouldn't invest too heavily on them due to their lack of a genuine goal threat.
Wigan (12/1, 4/1 promo) at present have a really good squad for this level, and won many admirers over the years for their passing football in the Premier League, without the leadership of Roberto Martinez though they might struggle to replicate that in the second tier.
It would also be a surprise if talented midfielders Callum McManaman (100/1) and Shaun Maloney (100/1) were still donning blue and white this year, and that sort of creativity isn't easy to replace.
Leicester (14/1, 10/3 promo) look to be the dark horse as they have a squad packed full of quality, the problem will be if Nigel Pearson hasn't got any other ideas up his sleeve people will know exactly what to expect.
The Foxes have outstanding options all the way through their squad, but last season they really ran out of steam having been second for a while and they couldn't settle on a regular XI, they really need to figure out their best team quickly or again it could be another season of what might have been.
Blackburn, Brighton and Leeds are all 16/1; I think only the most ardent fans of those teams though would expect a genuine challenge.
Down at the other end, it's no great surprise to see two of the promoted teams, Yeovil (10/11) and Doncaster (6/4), both fancied to go straight back down.
The Glovers have a vastly experienced manager in Gary Johnson in charge though and he will be determined to make his team hard to beat. They were fancied to struggle in League 1 last term so it's nothing new trying to prove the doubters wrong.
If they can get Paddy Madden (50/1) to pick up from where he left off last season then they just might surprise a few.
Donny do not have the same luxury of an out and out goal scorer like Yeovil do, but they do have some talent in their squad with the likes of David Cotterill and James Coppinger, with Ross Turnbull a sound acquisition between the sticks also.
The usual suspects of Barnsley (5/2), Millwall (5/2) and Huddersfield (3/1) are again likely to struggle, but for a bit of value I'd have a play on Birmingham (6/1) and Middlesbrough (9/1).
Blues were extremely inconsistent last season, and now they're going to be without England goalkeeper Jack Butland who saved them in several games, and also Marlon King (33/1) who once again has fallen foul of the law and could be set for time at her Majesty's pleasure.
Curtis Davies and Nathan Redmond are two other stars from last year who have since departed, and neither player has exactly been replaced to a similar standard.
Boro were really poor last season, losing more games than relegated Peterborough and conceding more goals than Wolves who also suffered the drop.
You can't really see where the goals are going to come from, Marvin Emnes (80/1) doesn't look like the same player from a couple of seasons back, Scott McDonald has left and a lot of pressure is on Lukas Jutkiewicz (50/1), if the big striker doesn't start firing then they will really be in trouble.