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P.J. Murray 4th Aug 2011 - 7:40

Championship Top Prices and preview

The most exciting league in the world starts this weekend as one of a number of teams will be looking to emulate the magnificent QPR and achieve promotion to the top flight.

We here at William Hill are counting down the days until the big kick-off and to celebrate we are going to guarantee that we are top price on all the favourites this weekend. We pledge to match or beat - Coral, Ladbrokes, B365 and Paddy Power on the 90 minute win price of the favourite.

Opening Weekend

League favourites Leicester travel to the Ricoh Arena to take on a Coventry side that are expected to struggle this season. You can back the visitors at 11/8 and we guarantee to remain top price on Sven's army all the way to kick off. Middlesborough are 11/10 at home to Portsmouth and Boro will be expecting to get their campaign off with a win.


Leicester City (5/1) and West Ham (5/1) have set themselves up with a Summer spending spree to battle out for top honours. The newly promoted Foxes have a mass of wealth behind them and Sven has been given free reign to get his men back to the top flight. While West Ham are looking to restore some pride in their club and bounce back at the first opportunity.

Both Sven and Sam Allardyce are splashing their war chests on squads which would be more at home in a team attempting their first season back in the Premier League as opposed to actually trying to break back into the top flight.

Leeds United (22/1) have somewhat handicapped themselves with a lack of spending and also flogging the best keeper in the league in Schmeichel to their promotion rivals. Simon Grayson has worked wonders with the club, but with Max Gradel on the verge of going as well, there is a massive uphill battle facing United in their quest to get back to the Premier League.

The other relegated side Birmingham are 22/1 third favourites to challenge for league honours, but to be fair to the Brummies, they will be happy with mid-table in the Championship. Their club is in a shambles after losing their manager to their local rivals and their owner is in serious trouble. With a lack of major signings Birmingham will be struggling and could find even a play-off place a bit too much of an ask.

Nottingham Forest are certainly worth a punt for promotion, they have reached the play-offs in the last two seasons and are due to eventually make that break. You can back Steve McClarens side at 4/1 to go up. With the Championship notorious for surprise packages, Forest could easily fill that role, albeit not a major surprise. But they have had a quiet Summer and January could see them enter the transfer market fully loaded.

Blackpool were the surprise package of two years ago, but it will be difficult to see them repeating that memorable season as they struggle to cope with the loss of DJ Campbell and Charlie Adam. The 6/1 about them to get promoted is possibly a bit too short at the minute. But they may be worth investing in around January.

Barnsley and Doncaster are both joint favourites to be relegated, but I think Coventry could find themselves in trouble this season. The Sky Blues have been slowly drifting towards the bottom of the division and there has been little investment in the club and at 7/4 they could be a good shout to find themselves in League One next year.

I'm going to (surprise surprise) tip Leicester and West Ham to take the top two spots, with Leicester buying the Championship trophy and West Ham finishing second. I think Forest will take the play-off sport. But expect Ipswich and Reading to run them close.


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