The 201/12 Championship title race is heating up as no less than four teams are firmly in contention for automatic promotion – Southampton, West Ham, Cardiff City and Middlesbrough.
West Ham United remain favourites to lift the title and make an immediate return to the Premier League under Sam Allardyce. Allardyce was handed the task of taking the Hammers back to the top flight and he has brought in some high-profile names such as Kevin Nolan and John Carew, which has, to an extent, made up for the loss of Scott Parker last summer. They have overcome some shaky results at times and it would be hard to look past them in the final months of the season.
Southampton have been the surprise package so far this season, and Saints continue to silence the doubters as they aim to finally return to the big time. The arrival of manager Nigel Adkins from Scunthorpe United hardly excited the St Mary’s faithful, but the former physio has silenced any doubters in spectacular fashion. Adkins guided Southampton to promotion from League One at the first attempt and now they are on course for a place in the Premier League. They have dropped just five points at home this season and if they can continue that home form they will certainly be in the running in March, although an improvement in their away performances would be welcomed.
Cardiff City are again in the mix, and the Welsh side will be hoping that this is finally their year after a string of near-misses. Watching bitter rivals Swansea City get promotion to the Premier League last season will have only deepened their desire to make the next step, and they will be desperate to avoid further playoff heartache by earning automatic promotion.
The other team that are currently going well is Middlesbrough and it is easy to forget that the north-east side were favourites to win the Championship this time last season. Gordon Strachan’s policy of buying Scottish players didn’t work out but Tony Mowbray has the Teesiders moving in the right direction. They have been beaten just once at the Riverside this season and if they can start picking up more wins, Boro may well find themselves rubbing shoulders with Newcastle United and Sunderland once more.
There are lots of Championship betting opportunities available, with bookmakers offering odds on the league winner, which teams will get promoted, which sides will be relegated and also Top Goalscorer.
Customers can also bet on every single Championship match and many bookmakers will offer them the chance to bet In-Play as well as before the game. Live In-Play betting is set to become very popular this season, with more people enjoying the thrill of striking a bet when the match kicks off.
Selected matches are also broadcast via the firm’s live streaming service. To watch and bet on The Championship live, every weekend:
- Go to bet365.com
- Register a new account (it's free)
- Watch and bet on the match of your choice, live!