Raising the stakes
Sky Bet's Jamie Casey runs through the betting patterns ahead of the new season
By Jamie Casey - Follow me: @skyjamiecasey
Last Updated: 02/08/13 1:01pm
The online bookmaker list Harry Redknapp's Queens Park Rangers as the favourites to win the division, though the punters aren't convinced by their 6/1 price and have had their heads turned by value elsewhere.
Perhaps surprisingly, Leeds United have attracted more outright bets than any other club, with customers seduced by the 22/1 top industry price on offer for Brian McDermott's men to win the Sky Bet Championship.
Leeds are also the most popular in the promotion market, with their 7/1 price again proving too good to overlook for the majority of punters, with only a handful predicting the opposite at 18/1 for McDermott's side to go down.
After Leeds, Watford have been most popular in the outright title betting. The Hornets blew their chance of promotion last season by failing to beat Leeds on the final day before succumbing to Crystal Palace in the play-off final, but are expected to contend once again this term.
Manager Gianfranco Zola would have liked to re-sign last season's top scorer Matej Vydra on loan again, but at this stage that looks unlikely, though they have retained a key quartet in the form of Marco Cassetti, Joel Ekstrand, Christian Battocchio and Almen Adbi.
That seems to be enough to convince the punters that Watford are worthy of a stake, particularly as they're joint-fourth favourites with Nottingham Forest at 11/1 in Sky Bet's odds, behind QPR (6/1), Reading (8/1) and Bolton (9/1).
Other than Leeds, the only major outsider to have received significant interest in the outright is Ipswich at 20/1, but Derby and recently relegated duo Wigan and Reading are very popular in the promotion market, priced at 8/1, 9/2 and 3/1 respectively.
At the other end of the table, Blackpool have proved the surprise choice of the punters, forcing their price as short as 3/1 to be relegated from the division, with only newly promoted Bournemouth (12/1) taking more bets on the drop.
Yeovil are the only side in the Sky Bet Championship to be odds-on to go down, but their 10/11 price hasn't attracted too many backings, unlike outsiders Birmingham, who have seen no shortage of interest at 9/1.
One of the most difficult markets to predict in the Championship is who will finish as top scorer.
Last season's top marksman Glenn Murray was a 33/1 outsider before the opener, with Nathan Delfouneso, Craig Mackail-Smith, Andrew Johnson, Marc-Antoine Fortune and DJ Campbell each priced the same in the build-up to the new term.
However, none of the aforementioned quintet have taken a significant amount of wagers, with Wigan's new arrival Grant Holt receiving the most number of bets to finish top of the pile at a generous 16/1.
Derby's Johnny Russell has somewhat surprisingly proved the second most popular choice at 22/1, while Brighton's Jose Ulloa isn't far behind him at 14/1. Of the major outsiders, only Charlton's on-loan striker Marvin Sordell (125/1) has attracted multiple bets to be the Sky Bet Championship's top scorer.
Incidentally, Sky Bet make Jordan Rhodes favourite to be the top scorer at 7/1, followed by 12/1 duo Charlie Austin and Adam Le Fondre.