The 2015/16 SkyBet Football League season is just around the corner and the principal sponsors have a whole host of exciting betting opportunities that we can look at for the entire season.
In this series of ‘Ben’s Bets’ we will take an in depth look at each division, in order and throw up a few markets that might be of value in the Ante Post category.
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Championship – Champions
The SkyBet Championship is possibly the most competitive division for title chasers; the three relegated sides will have parachute payments burning a hole in their pocket and those who missed out last season will be trying to make sure they hit the big time for their own slice of the Premier League pie.
Derby lead the way according to the bookmakers and you can see why; under McClaren they fell away as the season wore on, but with Real Madrid’s second in command, Paul Clement, now in charge they are giving off a sense that they are immediately back on course.
The signings of Andreas Weimann and Darren Bent have rightfully caught the eye but so have a few others elsewhere in the league.
Stewart Downing arriving at Middlesbrough has hit the headlines and Aitor Karanka has certainly put together a squad capable of going one better than last season’s play-off disappointment. Tomas Kalas keeps their link with Chelsea strong as another loanee follows on from Patrick Bamford’s success last season.
I’m tipping up either of these two to take the trophy in May, Derby are at 6/1, and Middlesbrough at 7/1. Based on the odds alone, I’m taking ‘Boro.
Again though, if we look a bit deeper and check out the Forecast market where we pick the first two in order the odds jump significantly.
Derby 1st, Boro 2nd is 28/1, as is Boro 1st, Derby 2nd.
Down at the wrong end of the division, Rotherham, Charlton and Bolton are far too short to be backed, even if you can understand the reasons for their favouritism in this market.
So, I’m looking for an outsider. Leeds are 4/1 for the drop and an owner who can’t help but keep his nose out of business certainly raises my interest, but in truth they probably have just a bit too much quality on the pitch to be in trouble regardless of how many managers, head coaches, caretakers or owners they may get through.
Next in line is Birmingham at 9/2, they are my selection to drop into League One, the Blues may have finished safely in mid table following the surge in performance that comes with the changing of a manager, but prior to that was a 21st place that was probably closer to their rightful place.
My concern here is who they might lose; Clayton Donaldson has been linked away from St Andrews and Gary Rowett is quickly becoming one of the most promising young managers, don’t be surprised to see him tempted away to a side who haven’t quite got it right in the opening weeks of the season.
All hypothetical, of course, but after four consecutive seasons in the second tier and three promoted sides who blitzed their way out of League One, I think there are some sides looking nervously over their shoulder.
In the specials of this division there are a couple markets that jump to mind; looking at the options for ‘top goal scorer’, I’d consider the ‘stars’ of the division like Jordan Rhodes to be poor value in the betting market based on their value in the transfer market to sides in the Premier League, so looking at options at a slightly bigger price might be the way to go.
Ross McCormack is certain to be leading the line at Fulham this season and should probably be shorter than 14/1, but my selection comes from one of the promoted sides, Preston.
PNE were not short of goals last term, notching 79 in the league alone, that was considering Joe Garner and Jermaine Beckford didn’t get a whole campaign in the white of North End.
Those two are 25/1 and 40/1 respectively to top the market and with each way offering the top four scorers, there are certainly worse bets in the division.
That said, Preston are 6/4 to finish in the top half, with League One champions Bristol City odds on to do the same.
Bristol City ran away with League One last campaign and that momentum could well see them through another positive campaign, I’ll be having a small bet at 5/2 on Bristol City making the Play Offs.
The Championship is looking like a minefield for betting – stay tuned for League One and League Two selections in the coming days.
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