Every season, a team most people consider to have no chance of challenging for promotion seems to defy logic and secure an insanely valuable Premier League spot. 2012/13 was no different. Cardiff City were amongst the favourites, but no one was tipping Hull City and Crystal Palace. Not for promotion at least.
It makes setting odds something of a guessing game, akin to the Grand National you could argue. Nevertheless, the bookies have had a go.
For the 2013/14 season, the odds comparison on Freebets.com shows Queens’ Park Rangers to be favourites at every bookmaker, with odds ranging from 6/1 to 7/1.
QPR are followed by a closely matched group of teams in the 9/1 to 12/1 range, led by Leicester City at most bookmakers.
Reading, Bolton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest and Wigan Athletic all have odds equal to or lower than 11/1 at one bookies or another, completing the predicted top six.
The early odds for Leeds United winning the league range from 17/1 to 19/1, ranking them the 9th most likely champions.
At the other end of the scale, Yeovil Town are considered the least likely team to win the Championship with odds as high as 200/1. Yeovil are followed by a group of unfavoured Yorkshire teams with Doncaster Rovers at 150/1, Barnsley at 100/1 and Huddersfield Town at 80/1, all with Sporting Bet.
Millwall are also expected to have a tough season at 66/1.
It’s early days for the Championship odds and you can expect a lot to change based on the transfer window. If you fancy Leeds United to sign a few big names and challenge for the title, it’s probably best to place your bet now, as any big name transfer will shorten Leeds’ odds considerably.
If I was a betting man – which I’m not, because I’m useless at it – I’d be inclined to agree with the bookies that QPR are the most likely champions. I suspect Reading will challenge and wouldn’t rule Brighton (17/1) out as an outside bet, though a lot will depend on the future of Gus Poyet and their ability to retain key players like Liam Bridcutt, who is currently attracting a lot of attention.