Four games into the season and with the kids not even having returned to school after the summer holidays, you might think it a little early to be making sweeping predictions about which team is going to win the league. However, that is what the bookmakers are obliged to do, and the increased popularity of online sports betting means they need to keep a constant finger on the pulse.
Of course, it doesn’t just apply to the Premier League, where the world and his wife have been staring into their crystal balls from the moment Russia 2018 came to a conclusion. Followers of the Championship, League One and League Two are equally keen to place a sports bet online, and so the tipsters and bookies have never been busier, with odds being updated every hour.
As far as the Premier League goes, there has already been cause for them to change the script a little, with City proving fallible against Wolves and Manchester United looking like a team about to go into melt down. However, while it might not attract the same screaming headlines spilling over from the back pages to the front, the news from the Championship is no less compelling, for both fans and for those who enjoy online sports betting.
The point to keep in mind is that if you want to place a sports bet online as to who is going to finish any league top of the table, the earlier you do it, the better odds you will get. Let’s look at who is making the early running in the Championship.
Leeds United go favourite
Last year, Leeds were the archetypal mid-table performers, finishing 13th and never looking likely to feature in either the promotion or relegation zones. Little surprise, then, that before the season got underway, they were being quoted at 16/1, with some bookmakers offering odds that were even longer. While there was a sense of cautious optimism around Elland Road, it was guarded in nature – Marcelo Bielsa is a mystery wrapped up in an enigma, but whatever he is doing, it is working so far, and after their stellar start, United have been slashed as short as 3/1 by some bookmakers.
Will they become this year’s Championship version of Manchester City? Before you rush to join in the Bitcoin sports betting at Sportsbet.io to back them, it is worth remembering that Bielsa’s recent career has been littered with false starts. His last three jobs saw him in charge for a total of just 60 games. This is one case when it might be better to hold on to your stake, or look at some of the other options.
Stoke City playing the long game
The Potters have taken a diametrically opposing path to their northern rivals. Pre season, they were runaway favourites at 5/1. However, that opening game defeat to Leeds meant that their season has still not quite got moving, and they followed it up with draws against Brentford and Preston North End, followed by demolition at the hands of new boys Wigan.
All that saw the bookmakers odds plunge to the depths of 18/1. However, manager Gary Rowlett seemed relaxed enough, and last week’s win against Hull might be just what they needed to get their campaign properly underway.
Middlesbrough looking solid
Another team with a solid history and a reputation for flying under the radar, Boro was being described in the media as a team with “as good a chance as any” of mixing it at the top. The view from within is equally understated, but don’t let Tony Pulis’ taciturn reputation fool you into thinking he has anything less than a killer instinct.
He galvanised the team into some great performances in the latter part of last season after joining in December, turning an indifferent start into a playoff-worthy conclusion. The new season has got off to a dream start, and the 4/1 odds say it all.
Can Villa launch another attack?
Aston Villa’s progression to the Premier League seemed all but assured last year, but that Tom Cairney goal changed everything. There is no doubting that Villa has the talent to launch another challenge, the real question is whether the backroom distractions will prove too much. The team is under new ownership and is still dogged by the controversy surrounding Steve Bruce. Bookies are quoting 10/1 for Villa to finish at the top of the pile.