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The lead-up to the 2023/24 Championship season is heating up nicely with the first game on August 4th just around the corner, and the Championship outrights ready for your consideration. The newly relegated sides are towards the top end of the Championship promotion odds as tends to be the case, but there are certainly some value bets that stand out more than others. The Championship promotion odds give a good reflection of where the bookmakers are expecting sides to be competing, and Ipswich Town, who did not even win the League One title last season, are surprise contenders as fourth favourites.
The Tractor Boys are in great shape ahead of the season under Kieran McKenna, but have been backed in so aggressively in pre-season that the value sadly is not present anymore. Leeds United and Southampton are in the top three in the Championship promotion odds but a lot of unknowns remain in terms of what the mood in the camp will be like come opening day, and also more importantly the personnel within the squad could be very different by the end of the transfer window.
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Work to do but Leicester City are rightful favourites
It would appear that the Foxes are looking to replicate Burnley’s terrific 2022/23 season which saw them bounce straight back to the Premier League with a comfortable Championship title win, by bringing in Enzo Maresca to replace Dean Smith in the dugout. Harry Winks is an exciting addition as a midfield lynchpin and with players of the calibre of Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka still lurking in their forward department, it is hard to see them falling far short of automatic promotion.
At the time of writing, squad depth is still an issue and it is unclear who will be taking up wide attacking roles, unless Maresca is going to deploy a system that is heavily reliant on wing backs. If they can stay fit, Ricardo Pereira and James Justin are two full back options that are far too good for the level, and in what we expect to be a fairly possession-based style, they could have a significant impact in the final third. Supporters can also feel assured that Conor Coady, Marc Albrighton and Jamie Vardy have the leadership qualities required to bring the best out of their team-mates.
Considering the margin of which Fulham and Burnley have brushed the rest of the field aside in the last two seasons, 2/1 looks a very fair price on the Foxes to secure a top two finish despite an untested manager in the division.
Championship Promotion Odds
The Carrick revolution at Middlesbrough should not be overlooked
Boro have lost a few key individuals from last season, but if Michael Carrick can have the same galvanising effect on the squad and have them playing the breathtaking attacking football that they were last term, there is no reason why they cannot race past the likes of Leeds United and Southampton to compete right at the top.
Boro will be able to attract some high profile loan players but that business is not typically conducted until later on in the window, and those positive additions will likely see the market react by shortening their price to finish in the top two, potentially presenting some value in the Championship promotion odds for us to pounce on ahead of the big kick-off.
Chuba Akpom crucially remains in place on Teesside while Morgan Rogers has signed permanently from Manchester City to add further quality in attacking areas. One interesting wildcard option that could have a bigger impact than many are expecting is Martin Payero who has returned from a loan spell at Boca Juniors. The Argentine’s attacking contributions were limited a touch by the tactical systems of Neil Warnock and Chris Wilder in 2021/22, but Carrick could be the manager to unlock his full potential. Boro to finish in the top two looks a nice price with the newly relegated sides, who may be opposable at the start of the campaign, inflating the Championship outright odds of the Teesside club.
Championship Promotion Odds
Data-driven Sunderland on the cusp of something special?
We head over to Wearside for our final pick on the Championship promotion odds which is by far the biggest longshot of the trio. Sunderland, and Tony Mowbray, worked minor miracles to finish in the play-offs last season considering the major injuries they suffered at both ends of the pitch. The Black Cats continue to be the masters of the post-Brexit foreign market outside of the Premier League, and they have added three precocious talents from abroad already this summer, headlined by Jenson Seelt from PSV.
There is a reason why Sunderland are such a big price in this section of the Championship outrights, but with another year of experience and development into the likes of Jack Clarke, 22, Jewison Bennette, 19, Pierre Ekwah, 21, Dan Neil, 21, Dennis Cirkin, 21, and others, they are in a position to build on their sixth-placed finish last term. Mowbray is probably one of the most under-celebrated managers of the last decade in the EFL, and the 59-year-old has the tactical nous and individual management skills to help the Black Cats upset the Championship outright odds once again.
With supporter bases divided against ownership groups and uncertainty around personnel under new managers, it is hard to find value in the prices of Leeds United and Southampton in the top two finish market of the Championship outrights, seeing Sunderland come to the fore as an attractive longshot. They will certainly have the support from the stands to rival the newly relegated clubs, with the mood at the Stadium of Light the best it has been in a very long time.
Ross Stewart’s fitness will be key to the Black Cats aiming higher than another top six finish with the Scotsman one to keep an eye on in the race for the golden boot. High profile loanees, to match the output of Amad Diallo last season, can also be expected before the window closes.