The Championship Free Bets

While people love saying that the Premier League is the best league in the world, many will say that The Championship is the hardest league in the world to win. It's a division that has a profitable prize for the three teams who can win promotion to the Premier League with riches aplenty awaiting the following season. 

With each team playing 46 fixtures throughout the season and the excitement that comes with the play-offs, there is plenty of action to bet on in The Championship.

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Wolves have established themselves as the clear favourites for the Championship title this season with ten wins from their opening 15 games. The Midlands club have made a good start after Nuno Espirito Santo took charge of the club in the summer and brought with him many of his fellow Portuguese countryman. Wanderers were taken over by Fosun International at the beginning of last season and with super agent Jorge Mendes' involvement, they brought in stellar talents such as Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves over the summer to add to the Portuguese contingent of Helder Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro.  

Former Valencia and Porto manager Nuno has adapted to life in England extremely well and has built a dangerous looking side with pace and penetration throughout. They look as though they will take some stopping this season and have already beat the likes of Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. 

There are two other surprise names that sit towards the top of the Championship table also. Cardiff under the experienced Neil Warnock, have also lost only twice this season. They actually beat Wolves when the two sides met back in August and their tight defence means they sit just two points off the top of the table. Sheffield United are just one point further back and the Blades have been hugely impressive since winning League One last season. They have carried on the momentum from their title winning season and could in fact go top, albeit temporarily, with a victory in their next match away to Leeds. A side that appear to be on the march as of late however are Aston Villa. Pre-season favourites for the title, Villa made a slow start with just one win from their opening seven games. Steve Bruce looked to be under real pressure but after six wins in their last eight games, they have shot up the table and such is the nature of the Championship that you wouldn't rule out their title chances.

It's been a miserable season for Sunderland so far, who have just one win to their name. The Black Cats got that victory on the second day of the season too, so since then it's been a total of 11 games in the league without a win. It's a bleak set of statistics but nevertheless they are still not the favourites for the drop. Bolton are the clear shortest priced side to go down, sitting three points below Sunderland and rock-bottom of the table. Burton are also priced odds-on for relegation, whilst Barnsley are also being tipped to struggle this season. 

The Championship 2017-18 

Aston Villa began the new season as the favourites for the title as Steve Bruce looks to take one of English football's biggest clubs back to the top flight. After relegation to the Championship in 2016, Villa's campaign last season looked at one point as though it could be disastrous as they lay 19th in the table after a 2-0 defeat at Preston on 1st October. Bruce's appointment saw the club finish comfortably in mid-table however with too many draws proving costly in their pursuit of a play-off place. Now in his first full season in charge, the 56-year-old will look to win his fifth promotion to the Premier League and now has the services of former Chelsea skipper John Terry to rely on. 

Hull and Sunderland were both relegated alongside Middlesbrough last season. Both teams have new managers and will be hoping to keep hold of their star assets despite relegation. Sheffield Wednesday have been in the top six in each of the last two seasons and Carlos Carvahal's men will likely receive plenty of backers to enjoy another strong season. Wolves have been spending big since their takeover last summer and with former Porto boss Nuno at the helm, they are worth keeping your eye on as are the usual suspects such as Derby, Norwich and Leeds. 

Players to watch

Mentioned further up this page after penning a new deal at Fulham this summer, Ryan Sessegnon had previously attracted the attention of many Premier League clubs. The marauding left-back is just 17-years-old but scored five goals last season and was named in the PFA Championship team of the year. He has a very bright future indeed and will surely not be plying his trade at this level for much longer, the question is whether he will make the step as a Fulham player or will he eventually depart for pastures new?

John Terry's arrival at Aston Villa raised some eyebrows this summer but JT's move to Villa Park was not even the most shocking deal of the Championship window. That title must surely go to the deal that saw Wolves land Porto's Ruben Neves. The central midfielder made the switch to the West Midlands for a Championship record £15.8 million and at just 20-years-old, he has already won full international caps for Portugal. Neves became Porto's youngest ever captain at just 18-years-old when he lead them out in a Champions League tie. With Wolves now managed by his former Porto boss Nuno and the backing of the Jorge Mendes affiliated Fosun group, Wanderers may have pulled off one of the deals of the summer.

Aiden McGeady's Everton career never really took off in the way he would've hoped. However the Irish international winger flourished last season on-loan at Preston and he has been reunited with Simon Grayson who managed him during that spell. Now as Sunderland bid to exercise some demons of last season's disastrous campaign, they will be hoping the former Celtic man can provide the creative inspiration going forward.

24 teams take part in the Championship, 18 of which played in the division last season and are joined by the three teams relegated from the Premier League, all desperate to bounce back right away and three ambitious teams promoted from League One last season. The 24 teams and their finishing places last season are:

  1. Aston Villa - 13th
  2. Barnsley - 14th
  3. Birmingham City - 19th
  4. Bolton Wanderers - 2nd in League One
  5. Brentford - 10th
  6. Bristol City - 17th
  7. Burton Albion - 20th
  8. Cardiff City - 12th
  9. Derby County - 9th
  10. Fulham - 6th
  11. Hull City - 18th in the Premier League
  12. Ipswich Town - 16th
  13. Leeds United  - 7th
  14. Middlesbrough - 19th in the Premier League
  15. Millwall - 6th in League One and Play-off winners
  16. Norwich City - 8th
  17. Nottingham Forest - 21st
  18. Preston North End - 11th
  19. QPR - 18th
  20. Reading - 3rd
  21. Sheffield United - 1st in League One
  22. Sheffield Wednesday - 4th
  23. Sunderland - 20th in the Premier League
  24. Wolverhampton Wanderers - 15th

How to Use Your Championship Free Bet

There are plenty of opportunities to use a Free Bet on the Championship whatever the time of the year.

  • League Winners
  • Who will get promoted
  • Who will make the play-offs
  • Who'll be relegated to League One
  • Match bets between teams
  • Top goalscorer in the league and for each side
  • Handicap betting
  • Top Northern Club
  • Top Southern Club
  • League positions at certain stages of the season
  • Betting on every game played during the season

There's always odds of some kind being offered on the Championship. Every game played will have some influence on the odds that are given by bookmakers. It's a good idea therefore to keep an eye on the odds given for the Championship after every set of games are played. It could just result in you finding some odds that will give that free bet of yours a good profit.

Ante post betting is always available on the Championship. There may be no games being played but that doesn't mean there's going to be any changes in the odds being offered. The transfer window always has a big influence on the following season, so make sure you know who's signing who. This can work in two ways of course.

Some teams will be signing players left, right and centre as they try to build a team that can win promotion to the Premier League. A bet on those sides could result in a win at a price that will be a lot shorter in the months ahead.  On the other hand there are always some teams who are having problems and seeing top players join other clubs. Keep note of that and take a look at the relegation market for those teams who could be facing a drop down a division.

History of The Championship

It's full title is the Football League Championship but we know it better simply as The Championship and is currently sponsored by Skybet. Previously known as the First Division, while older football fans will know it as The Second Division. Its current name has been in existence since the 2004-05 season and previous winners are:

  • 2016-17: Newcastle United
  • 2015-16: Burnley
  • 2014-15: Bournemouth
  • 2013-14: Leicester City
  • 2012-13: Cardiff City
  • 2011-12: Reading
  • 2010-11: QPR
  • 2009-10: Newcastle United
  • 2008-09: Wolverhampton Wanderers
  • 2007-08: WBA
  • 2006-07: Sunderland
  • 2005-06: Reading
  • 2004-05: Sunderland

The Play-Offs

Finishing third in the Championship doesn't mean you automatically claim the third promotion spot. The teams placed third to sixth take part in the play-offs with two semi-finals (third v sixth and fourth v fifth) with the final being held at Wembley.  There have been 13 play-offs with the team finishing third in the table winning on six occasions, the fourth placed side being promoted twice, the team finishing fifth winning three times and the side down in sixth place winning twice.

Previous Winners are:

  • 2016-17: Huddersfield Town (5th)
  • 2015-16:  Hull City (4th)
  • 2014-15:  Norwich City (3rd)
  • 2013-14:  QPR (4th)
  • 2012-13:  Crystal Palace (5th)
  • 2011-12:  West Ham United (3rd)
  • 2010-11:  Swansea City (3rd)
  • 2009-10:  Blackpool (6th)
  • 2008-09:  Burnley (5th)
  • 2007-08:  Hull City (3rd) 
  • 2006-07:  Derby County (3rd)
  • 2005-06:  Watford (3rd)
  • 2004-05:  West Ham United (6th) 

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