One week before the Premier League the Sky Bet Championship gets underway and we have free football betting tips.
Since the World Cup finished 3 weeks ago there has been a football-shaped hole in our lives. Although clubs are well into their pre-season schedules and transfer rumours and moves are on the back page of every paper, nothing beats the nerves and excitement of competitive football. Thankfully in just over a week one of the world’s toughest and most competitive leagues, the Sky Bet Championship, kicks off and we have free football betting tips.
Nearly every team in the division will fancy their chances of reaching promotion to the Barclays Premier League next season and this creates a league that is notoriously difficult to predict. This unpredictable nature is sure to create a rollercoaster season for fans of all Championship clubs, with such fine lines between achieving automatic promotion, fighting through the dreaded play-offs or slipping into a relegation place.
Derby are the bookies favourite at 5/2 to be promoted and with the impressive form they showed under former England manager Steve McClaren last season the club and fans alike should have realistic hopes of getting back into the Premier League after a 6 year drought. McClaren took over from Nigel Cough back in October of last year with the club sitting precariously in the bottom half of the table and mounting relegation concerns. The former “wolly with a brolly” was the man chosen to change the club’s fortunes. Despite early reservations over McClaren’s ability, he quickly quashed concerns and guided the club to finish an impressive 3rd place finish. Having narrowly lost to a last minute QPR goal in the play-off final in May, Derby should be more determined than ever to gain promotion and put last year’s disappointment behind them.
On the transfer front, Derby have been busy this summer in improving their ranks. The additions of Ivan Calero from Atletico Madrid and George Thorne from West Brom have further enhanced the youth and excitement at McClaren’s disposal. But more importantly for Derby top senior players have agreed new contracts with the club with highly-rated teenagers Mason Bonnet and Will Hughes both committing their long term future to The Rams. If Derby can continue to add more quality to their squad during the transfer window and build on last season’s performances then Derby look a safe bet to taste promotion.
Another bookies favourite are Vincent Tan’s Cardiff City who will be hoping for a swift return back to the Premier League. However, odds of 5/2 with Bet 365 may be slightly generous for the Bluebirds. The team that was relegated back in May has already started to be disbanded. Captain Steven Caulker recently moved to QPR for £8million and striker Fraizer Campbell has switched to Crystal Palace. Further departures are a certainty with Gary Medel, Jordan Mutch and David Marshall all expected to head for the exit. However, the signing of Adam Le Fondre from Reading could prove to be shrewd business and the pressure will be on him to fire the club back to England’s top division. The pressure will also be on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his ability to lead Cardiff back to the big time. Since being appointed manager in January 2014 Solskjaer endured a torrid time in the Premier League only managing to win 3 games out of 20 which ultimately condemned Cardiff to Championship football. Overseeing both the recruitment and the manager is their ever charismatic and controversial owner Vincent Tan. The volatile atmosphere surrounding the club stems from the unstable nature of Tan’s reign, and this makes predicting Cardiff’s fortunes this season incredibly difficult.
Norwich and Fulham will also both be looking to bounce back straight away and regain their Premier League status. Both these teams boasted impressive squads at the start of 2013/2014 campaign but under poor management found themselves relegated to the Championship. Norwich were let down by their strikers last season, particularly Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Van Wolfswinkel looks set to complete a loan move to French club Saint-Étienne and serious rumours have been raised over Hooper’s commitment to the club. In order to inject some firepower in the team’s attacking department, manager Neil Adams has purchased two experienced strikers; Lewis Grabban from Bournemouth and Kyle Lafferty from Palermo. Several key members of the Norwich squad, such as captain Russell Martin, Wes Hoolahan and Bradley Johnson have already faced the twists and turns a Championship season can throw at you, and this experience will be vital throughout their upcoming campaign. Holding on to such key, senior players will be of huge importance for Norwich’s chances this season, with George Snodgrass the only major player to be sold so far this window, meaning The Canaries could well be contenders come May next year.
The last 12 months for Fulham have been truly extraordinary. An astonishing 3 managers have been in charge over the last year, with neither able to stop the club’s slide into the Championship. A complete overhaul and revamp will need to be installed if Fulham are to make an instant return. Damien Duff, Steve Sidwell and Brede Hangeland were just 3 of the 9 senior players who left the club in July and with uncertainty over several currently contracted players, manager Felix Magath is likely to have a very different squad than the one that finished in 19th placed last season. Although Magath is a hugely experience manager, he has never managed in the Championship before and this inexperience may prove to be costly to Fulham’s promotion hopes. With a brand new squad likely to feature this season for Fulham, predicting their fortunes is difficult; however the emergence of exciting, young talents such as Calum Woodrow, Patrick Roberts and Moussa Dembélé this may be their chance to fill the void left by senior departures and leave Fulham fans feeling optimistic about the future.
Other notable candidates include 2013 F.A Cup winners Wigan who tasted defeat to Derby in last season’s play-offs and Stuart Pearce's Nottingham Forest. However, this list of potential promotion candidates could go on and on, with most of the league confident of achieving a top half finish. This is precisely why the Championship has been described as one of the most exciting and erratic league’s in world football. Brace yourselves…
Sky Bet Championship 2014 Betting Tips
Derby to Win the Championship – Bet Here at 8/1 with Ladbrokes.
Wigan to be Promoted – Bet Here at 3/1 with Bet365
Derby to be Promoted – Bet Here at 11/4 with William Hill
Brighton Top 6 finish – Bet Here at 9/4 with Bet365
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