Middlesbrough may have been beaten in the playoff final but that hasn’t stopped plenty of teams in recent times and they look a solid bet to be the leading Yorkshire Championship club. They have added to their squad while relegated Hull have lost plenty from theirs and the two clubs may be moving in a different direction. Sheffield Wednesday have a new look squad and can progress this season but 25 points separated the clubs last season and that is a huge margin to find; There was even further to Leeds and Rotherham just avoided the drop.
Burnley have kept most of their squad – despite the losses of high quality players Danny Ings and Kieran Trippier – and also, perhaps most crucially Sean Dyche, and they may be in a better position than other dropdowns Hull and QPR. QPR have had a firesale which leaves the inexperienced Chris Ramsey in a very tough position as rookie manager whilst there are questions over Hull’s ownership which could lead to further departures from the squad too. They are an even better bet to be the top North West club, with Preston newly promoted and Blackburn shorn of Rudy Gestede and Bolton having suffered massive losses in the transfer market.
Brentford impressed in making the playoffs last year and can make another bold bid this time around with some serious losses in the transfer market combated by smart spending. A first season’s experience in the Championship should stand them in good stead and they can be the top London club for the second season going. QPR have lost a stack of players as mentioned above, while Fulham were struggling to avoid relegation last year and even with some impressive young players may struggle to reach the upper echelons of the table. Charlton, who have signed well and defied expectations, are interesting outsiders in this market.
Brentford also look fine value to beat QPR in a match bet and Reading, who have made some decent signings, can do the same too. Ipswich will hope to be aiming at the playoffs once again and the settled balance of their squad can see them beat Sheffield Wednesday in the final standings with the Tractor Boys having finished in the top half for the last two seasons.
5 pts Middlesbrough Top Yorkshire Club (5/4 Bet Victor)
6 pts Burnley Top Northwest Club (11/10 Bet Victor)
4 pts Burnley Top Relegated Club (9/4 Bet Victor)
4 pts Brentford Top London Club (7/4 Bet Victor)
1 pt Charlton Top London club (11/2 Bet Victor)
5 pts Middlesbrough to finish above Hull (8/11 Bet365)
3 pts Brentford to finish above QPR (8/11 Betfred)
3 pts Ipswich to finish above Sheff Wed (8/11 Betfred)
3 pts Reading to finish above QPR (8/11 general)