Fulham is in pole position to earn promotion back to the Premier League but behind them, the rest of the field is bunching up as the race enters its decisive phase. Check out the latest picks.
Who do Bettors Favour?
With a five-point lead over Blackburn and a game in hand, Fulham is the clear favorite at all the best sportsbook sites in both the Championship Winners and Promotion markets. Bournemouth is second in the betting across the board, though at 10.00 in the Winners market, they are a distant second, while Blackburn and West Brom also have some supporters, though both are priced around 26.00.
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The Championship Promotion Favourites
Once again the power of the Premier League parachute payments has enabled recently relegated teams to dominate the Championship race. This time around, it is Fulham, who dropped down from the Premier League last season, who lead the way with Bournemouth, relegated in 2020, in third and last season’s other two relegated sides, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United, also in contention.
Of the three, Fulham is looking the best bet to win the Championship. Having kept most of their squad intact, including top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Cottagers have looked like potential champions throughout and have led the way at the top since the end of November.
Things have been less straightforward for Bournemouth, now managed by former Fulham boss Scott Parker. The Cherries started well but have lost their way in recent weeks and slipped into the play-off places. Blackburn Rovers have overtaken them, thanks to a superb run of form that has seen Rovers lose only once since the beginning of November.
But Blackburn lacks the squad depth and experience to close the gap on Fulham, comments which also apply to QPR, currently in fourth place, and with West Brom also losing form going into 2022, there seems nothing to stop Fulham from claiming the Championship title.
The Championship Promotion Contenders
Bournemouth’s decline, which saw them fail to win a game between early November and the end of 2021, has made the promotion battle far more interesting for fans and punters alike.
There is a genuine prospect that they could miss out on automatic promotion and end up in the play-offs, which has potentially opened the door for another team to take second.
At the moment, Blackburn is the team in that position, and there are no signs that they are feeling the pressure. Tony Mowbray has a reputation for producing football that is beautiful to watch yet fragile, but fragility has not been much in evidence so far. Rovers are matching Bournemouth on the goalscoring front and can play without the same level of expectation that may be inhibiting their rivals.
When you’re betting on the promotion markets, you ideally want a team that still has a chance of going up automatically as well as through the play-offs, and right now, only Blackburn and Bournemouth look capable of seizing that opportunity, so at the bigger odds, Rovers are the bet.
Which Team is Value Underdogs for Championship Promotion?
Looking further down the Championship table things are a lot more complicated. West Brom had a solid start, but as the season has worn on, their dour football has held them back. They have the best defensive record in the league, but the worst goalscoring stats in the top seven. They scored nine goals in November and December combined at a rate of just one a game. Baggies fans are restless and right now it is 50:50 whether Valerian Ismael will last the rest of the season as manager.
If you’re looking for an underdog this season, Sheffield United could be your best option. They had a poor start to the season, but since Paul Heckingbottom replaced Slavisa Jokanovic, they’ve suddenly started to look like a big fish in a small pond. An away win at Fulham was particularly notable and served as a warning to the rest of the division that they are still a threat.
Their odds are a little shorter than their league position suggests they should be, but with many of the teams in front of them faltering, could still represent value.
At bigger odds, it could also be worth keeping an eye on Huddersfield. Not regarded as one of the pre-season favorites, they have sneaked into the play-off positions thanks to an unbeaten run that stretches back to the start of December. Carlos Corberan has produced a team that seems hard to beat, with a knack for grinding out one-goal wins and the resilience to come from behind. Those qualities can be ideal in the play-offs so the Terriers look like a value pick for promotion via that route.