As we move into January, we’re already bearing down on the end of the season. We’ve gone from post-World Cup blues to the winter transfer window in the blink of an eye. Now there are less than four months left of the Championship campaign, so this seems like a great chance to take stock of the results so far.
We’re looking at the current state of play, while we’re also picking out a few betting tips ahead of the end of the campaign. We’ll be taking a look at the best value around in the Championship, and digging into key statistics from the season so far.
The Season so Far
The early stages of the Championship campaign were a free-for-all, with a gaggle of sides swapping in and out of first place. In recent months, it’s all been about Leeds United and Norwich. The pair have established themselves as the front runners for the Premier League, with Marcelo Bielsa making a key impact at Elland Road. He’s guided them to first place, four points clear of Sheffield United in third.
The second tier is notoriously competitive, and that’s been the case once more this season. There are now four sides within six points of second, and almost all of the top half have ambitions of making the play-offs. Even 15th placed Blackburn are only nine points off the top six, so we could see a surprise team come from nowhere to make a challenge for the play-offs.
At the bottom, things aren’t quite as open. Bolton, Reading and Ipswich are all considered as good as down as it stands. That’s understandable for the Tractor Boys, who are bottom with just two wins all season. They have a 10 point gap to overcome. However, Reading – five points off 21st – and Bolton – three points shy – could still make a fight of it. The bookies aren’t quite as optimistic, both are odds on for a drop into League One.
Key Championship Statistics
- West Brom have racked up 54 goals in 26 games, the most in the division.
- However, no side have seen both teams score in their matches more often than West Brom (77%).
- Preston have statistically the toughest run-in of any Championship side. Their remaining opponents have an average of 1.47 points per game, bigger than any club’s remaining matches.
- Villa Park has been the highest scoring ground in the division, averaging 4.15 goals per game.
- Rotherham have the biggest difference in home and away form – 84% of their points have come at home this term. Of their remaining 10 home matches – six are against top 10 sides.
- Meanwhile, Bristol City are the only side in the league to have picked up more points away than at home.
- Blackburn have conceded over half of their 41 goals this season in the last 20 minutes.
Championship Midseason Betting Tips
West Brom Top Two Finish
A shock loss at Blackburn Rovers last time out dented West Brom, but they still have plenty of great qualities. The Baggies are faring the best of any of the three relegated Premier League sides, with a strong margin over Swansea and Stoke. They’ve moved into the top four with some good form, while they’ve marked themselves out as the league’s top scorers. With their side packed full of great attacking talent, that’s no surprise.
West Brom are a side who look set to contend for a top two finish this season. They are chasing down Norwich – a side who have shocked everyone to leap into the top two. They’re also after Leeds, a team we’ve pointed out could struggle at the tail end of the season. With Premier League talent on board, the Baggies should have the staying power to contend with the teams around them in the race for the top flight.
We think West Brom are decent value to rally from here and claim a top two finish in the Championship this season. They’re just three points shy of Norwich, having beaten all of the top three already this season. Having made their away trips to almost all of the top eight already, we see them kicking on in the coming months. They’ve been priced up at 7/4 with BetVictor to earn an automatic promotion spot, and with that value we’re tipping them for second.
Middlesbrough Top Six Finish
Middlesbrough are a side on shaky ground in the play-offs, but they are fifth in the league as it stands. Their goal this season has been a return to the top flight, with Tony Pulis expected to improve on last season. He guided them to a play-off semi-final defeat, and we’d think that he’ll at least match that this time around.
While there are problems at the Riverside, there’s also plenty going in Middlesbrough’s favour. They have comfortably the best defensive record in the division, something which will come in handy as they look to grind out a top six finish. No side in the league has lost fewer games than Boro, who will be aiming to continue that consistency.
We see Pulis guiding them to a top six finish with his typical solid style. They may be unlikely to follow West Brom’s high-scoring push for second, but Boro have plenty of strong attributes. Regardless of who makes a push for sixth in the coming months, Pulis should get his side over the line. We expect them to maintain their consistency, so we’re tipping them to finish sixth or higher at 8/11 with bet365.