A new Championship season and a new manager in place at the Amex and we wish Oscar Garcia and his backroom staff all the very best for the 2013/14 campaign.
Having reached the play-offs last year, the Seagulls were ultimately disappointing against Palace and let’s hope they can put promotion, which must remain the sole objective, to bed before the vagaries of the play-offs next spring. The Seagulls are 11/2 to be promoted at BetVictor and let’s hope that price looks very attractive come the beginning of May.
On the playing side Albion have a similar look to last term and must have been delighted that influential midfield goalscorer David Lopez has committed for another year; he is 12/1 to be Seagulls top scorer in the Championship after managing a useful nine league goals last campaign. Leonardo Ulloa is market leader at 13/8 after nine in only 16 starts and a repeat of that form would see him have a great chance to win the overall divisional award, for which BetVictor quote 14/1.
Top Seagulls goalscorer Championship 2013/14 (prices from BetVictor):
L Ulloa 13/8
C Mackail-Smith 5/2
A Barnes 7/1
W Buckley 9/1
Albion are surprisingly friendless in the outright market, out to 16/1 from 14s for the title having been largely ignored by punters and pundits alike. That said they’ve been backed to secure another top six finish which is a 2/1 shot; and are odds on at 8/15 to end the season in the top half and that looks like buying money in a modest looking division.
Relegated QPR head the betting at 6/1 to win the Championship, although the jury is still out on Harry Redknapp’s men, especially as the manager states there will be many incomings and outgoings at Loftus Road between now and the end of the transfer window, which is midnight on Monday September 2.
The Hoops have been popular with punters in multiple wagers but the money has come for Watford, who have halved in price from an opening 20/1.
The other relegated sides, Reading and Wigan, have also caught punters’ imagination and are 8/1 and 10/1 respectively.
With many transfers still to be completed it will be fascinating to see which teams can attract significant late additions and this could also have a big effect on the Championship top goalscorer award.
After missing out on Gary Hooper, QPR will be desperate to recruit some firepower to replace the departed Jamie Mackie, who has left for Nottingham Forest, and the expected sale of Loic Remy, who looks set for a move back to the Premier League or his native France. Wigan’s Grant Holt is 12/1 after moving from Norwich and with doubts surrounding many of the leading players he should guarantee punters a run for their money.
The opening weekend is eagerly anticipated by all fans and a big crowd is expected at Elland Road when Brighton visit Leeds. Leeds are still classed as a big club and they have a huge fan base, but the current squad perhaps lacks the quality needed to challenge for the title.
The Yorkshiremen have not attracted any real support in the markets and are also 16/1 for the title.
Leeds are 6/4 for victory on Saturday with the draw 23/10 and Albion 2/1 to follow up an end-of-season success in late April. Ulloa grabbed the late winner then and is 13/2 to net first or last and 2/1 to score at any time during the 90 minutes at the weekend.
Check out BetVictor.com for all sporting events this and every weekend.
Be Lucky, Charlie McCann.