Championship Season Starts
The 2019/20 Championship season kicks off on Friday 2 August when Luton Town host Middlesbrough at Kenilworth Road. The Hatters have enjoyed successive promotions to catapult them into the second tier and they can be backed at odds of 15/8 to claim an opening victory.
It looks a decent price considering that Boro have failed to strengthen their squad over the summer, with Jonathan Woodgate replacing Tony Pulis and it appears there will be a reliance on young players due to Financial Fair Play restrictions. Nevertheless, the Teeside outfit are a 7/5 poke to win.
On 3 August, we have a further nine Championship fixtures and the televised fixture takes place on Saturday teatime when Nottingham Forest host West Bromwich Albion. The Tricky Trees parted company with Martin O’Neill during the summer and replaced him with the little-known Sabri Lamouchi.
Forest finished ninth in the overall standings last season and they are marginal favourites to win this Midlands derby, with the home side trading at odds of 11/8 to overcome a Baggies team who reached the play-offs during the 2017/18 campaign before narrowly losing to Aston Villa.
Slaven Bilic has now been tasked with steering the Albion back to the Premier League and some bookies are offering 2/1 that the visitors leave the City Ground with all three points, although there’s a question mark over where the goals might come from without Dwight Gayle and Jay Rodriguez.
The big Championship game of the opening weekend probably takes place on Sunday 4 August, with Bristol City clashing with a Leeds United team who start the season as favourites to win the division.
The Whites enjoyed a blazing start to the 2018/19 campaign and looked like automatic promotion material under Marcelo Bielsa, although the Yorkshire side were eventually unable to keep pace with Norwich and Sheffield United, with Derby County dramatically beating them in the play-offs.
They’ll be well supported for this weekend trip to Ashton Gate and the visitors are trading at around the 6/4 mark to win the game, with Helder Costa having been the eye-catching arrival to Elland Road this summer.
As for Bristol City, they shouldn’t be underestimated for the new season and it’s possible we’ll also see the Robins battling it out for promotion, with Lee Johnson having a grand plan when it comes to steering this progressive club into the Premier League.
At odds of 21/10 to win the game, it might pay to support a team who have drafted in players such as Tomas Kalas, Jay Dasilva and Daniel Bentley, even if they have to cope with the departure of Lloyd Kelly.
On Monday night, we’ve got a treat at the John Smith’s Stadium when Huddersfield Town host a Derby County side who reached the play-off final under Frank Lampard last season and are now led into battle by Phillip Cocu.
The Rams are a 21/10 chance and will look to leverage the loan market to strengthen their team, while the Terriers will hope to bounce back from last season’s relegation from the Premier League although their recruitment has been done cheaply thus far.
You can get 6/5 that Jan Siewert’s team win this opening clash of the season, with Herbert Bockhorn, Reece Brown and Tommy Elphick having arrived in the summer and we’re sure to see some more new faces before this game kicks off.