Leicester City have once again been made favourites for the 2012/13 Championship season, ahead of all three relegated clubs. Nigel Pearson may have one of the strongest squads in the league, with Jermaine Beckford and David Nugent a lethal strike partnership. However, their disappointing campaign last season suggests that the club may have to work incredibly hard to reach the second tier summit. Relegated teams Bolton, Wolves and Blackburn are favoured next; with the obligatory expectation to bounce straight back to the Premier League. Bolton have an astute leader in Owen Coyle and a squad strong enough to challenge for the top spot. Wolves’ new manager Stale Solbakken is somewhat of an unknown entity and will need to provide consistent results if he is to bring Premier League football back to Molinuex. Blackburn have made some decent signings so far this summer. Danny Murphy and Leon Best are two proven top flight footballers and could bring vital experience to a squad who will be delving into their bank of youth players to help them reclaim their Premiership status.
Cardiff are priced next, with their red revolution set to take off. The club have been so unfortunate not to be promoted to the top flight after countless falls at the final hurdle. They are followed by Leeds, Birmingham, Blackpool and Middlesbrough, who will all be looking for a return to a league that they have all impressed in. Brighton have been priced with an outside shot, after some promising new signings have arrived at the AMEX, while new boys Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton have been tipped for a comfortable mid-table finish. Ipswich, Hull, Burnley, Huddersfield and Derby are all priced fairly similarly, considered outsiders for a play-off spot. Gianfranco Zola will be looking to turn Watford’s fortunes around, despite their disappointing odds, whilst London clubs Millwall and Crystal Palace are long shots for the play-offs. Bristol City, Peterborough and Barnsley are the least favoured teams but with the Championship such an unpredictable league, it would be unwise to follow the stats sheet let alone the odds.
Looking further than Bolton for the Championship title may be an unwise move. With the majority of the squad set to stay at the Reebok, including influential captain Kevin Davies, manager Owen Coyle may have the best squad in the second tier. Blackburn may also be a force to be reckoned with if Leon Best contributes with a flurry of goals. As an outside bet, Brighton may be worth a punt. Wayne Bridge and Tomasz Kuszczak are both experienced signings and will sure up the clubs defence. An experienced striker acquisition may be the one piece of the puzzle that could lead the Sussex club to unpredicted success.
At the other end of the spectrum, Zola may need to step off the mark with intent if he is to avoid Watford becoming embroiled in an unwanted relegation battle. Nottingham Forest will need to quickly appoint a new manager if they want to avoid a similar struggle. Whilst Bristol City have made few new acquisitions so far this summer and a disappointing spell last term could see the Robins drop into the mire this time around
Here are the npower Championship odds for the 2012/13 season courtesy of Bet At Home
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