The English Championship is one of the most competitive and demanding leagues in world football. It is incredibly difficult for teams to get out of and many clubs have come down from the Premier League and have never made it back up.
The division is so tight that over the last two seasons it has been all about momentum and confidence as both Norwich and Southampton secured back to back promotions for League One to the Premiership.
This season, all three promoted teams will be looking to emulate that success and the relegated sides will know how key a good start to the campaign is.
Although a run of good results can put you in contention for promotion, lose a few games at the wrong time and you are looking over your shoulder.
In the last campaign only West Ham United made it back to the top flight after being relegated in the previous season – which shows how tough it is.
It is sure to be another fantastic year in the Championship and you would say that any team can challenge for the top six and no one is safe from the bottom three.
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2012-13 English Championship Betting Odds
|Team||Outright Winner Odds||Promotion Odds||Relegation Odds|
English Championship 2012/2013 Promotion Odds
The battle for promotion is sure to have plenty of twists and turns through the season but at the moment, it is Leicester who are the favourites to reach the promise land with odds of 3.50 (Blue Square).
The Foxes finished nine points off the play-offs last season but this time out Nigel Pearson will be looking for a top two finish.
They have been smart in the transfer market as well, bringing in Zak Whitbread, a player with Premier League experience in on a free after his contract expired.
Leicester have then splashed the cash on 20-year-old Frenchman Anthony Knockaert. Big things are expected from him and Nigel Pearson will be hoping that he adjusts well to English football.
With the pressure on them to deliver this season it will certainly be interesting to see how they cope with the favourites tag.
Then you have two of the relegated clubs – Wolves and Bolton who are both being offered at 3.75 (bet365).
Each of these sides will be desperate to make an immediate return to the top flight.
Bolton may be in slightly better shape than Wolves as they have a manager in Owen Coyle who has experience of being promoted from this league as he did it for Burnley back in 2009.
Coyle will play an attacking style of football and with the likes of Kevin Davies in their side, are capable of winning ‘ugly’ when it is needed.
As for Wolves, they enter a new era as Stale Solbakken takes charge at Molineux for his first season.
Solbakken is unproven in English football and will know he has a tough test on his hands, especially with Steven Fletcher likely to leave the club.
However, with Kevin Doyle, Roger Johnson and Steven Hunt all still in the squad – they have players with Premier League experience that should shine in this division.
After these three it is incredibly tough to call and as mentioned, any team will have genuine promotion hopes.
A list of five sides, including the last relegated team Blackburn and last season’s play-off final losers Blackpool can all be backed at 5.50 (BWIN).
Out of the 24 clubs in the division, 22 of them are being offered at odds of 21.00 or less to be promoted with a wide range of bookmakers.
No one is to be written off in this incredible second tier of English football.
English Championship 2012/2013 Relegation Odds
With the race for promotion likely to be very tight, it means that the battle to stay in the league is set to be another close one.
After narrowly avoiding the drop last season Barnsley are the current favourites to go down with odds of 2.65 (bet365).
With the three promoted teams all looking strong it may be a tough year for the Yorkshire club. They lost star man Ricardo Vaz Te to West Ham United during the middle of last season and have found it tough to find a replacement.
Also, Jacob Butterfield was sold to Norwich City and he will certainly be missed.
There is then Peterborough, who had a solid campaign last time out, finishing ten points clear of the drop zone.
Although they will now be confident about heading up the table, they are being tipped by many to spend the majority of it near the bottom three. You can back them heading back to League One at 3.00 (Stan James).
Darren Ferguson has brought plenty of new faces to London Road and he will know what a long, tough season this is set to be.
Bristol City, another team who were in contention to be relegated back in May, are then available at 4.00 (Betfred) and Crystal Place have the same odds despite showing signs that they could challenge for the top six earlier in the year.
As with the promotion race, there is then a whole list of teams in contention. For the relegation battle ten more teams are being offered at 10/1 or less. This includes Birmingham City, who made the play-offs last year but lost manager Chris Hughton in the summer.
Sheffield Wednesday, who have come up for League One, are also a name in this list of teams who could be looking over their shoulder.
English Championship 2012/2013 Leading Goal-Scorer
After setting League One alight last season and finding the net an incredible 37 times – Jordan Rhodes is the current favourite to take the golden boot in the Championship.
Although there is some doubt over his future at Huddersfield, it is likely that he will still be playing in this league come the new season and has odds of 17.00 (Ladbrokes) to be the leading scorer.
The Scottish international is certainly a fantastic talent that seems to have a real hunger for goals and he could be the one to watch this year.
Kevin Doyle is has the same odds as Rhodes and if Steven Fletcher is to leave Wolves, he will be the man given the task of leading the line.
Doyle has Premier League and international experience and despite not scoring too many goals over the last few seasons, should enjoy life in the Championship. It could be his season to rebuild confidence and show what a top striker he is.
Jermaine Beckford, Charlie Austin and David Nugent are then all available at 21.00 and there is actually another 13 front-men who have the same odds with at least one bookmaker.
Ross McCormack of Leeds is the highest scorer from last season that is still playing in this division. He found the net 18 times last year and has a lot of experience in this league.
This will be another fascinating battle and is extremely tough to call. In the past, the big names have not lived up to the hype and players have come from nowhere to set the league alight. As ever, anything can happen.