This weekend, the new Championship season will get underway in England. 24 teams will battle it out with the ultimate prize of a place in next season’s Premier League up for grabs for three teams, while three will suffer the disappointment of relegation to League One.

It looks like being another very exciting season in what has been a hugely competitive division for many seasons now. Last season saw some real surprises with some big names battling relegation, while some more surprising names battled it out for promotion.

Norwich City and Watford bounced back into the Premier League at the first attempt last season, after suffering relegation the year before, and they were joined by Brentford who deservedly earned their place with a win in the playoffs.

On the flip side of that it was agony for Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham and Wycombe Wanderers who all dropped down into League One, replaced by Hull City, Peterborough United and Blackpool.

As always, the odds shown in this article are taken from bet365 Sport and were correct at the time of writing, but may have changed in the time since.

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Let’s now take a look at the teams set to do battle in the Championship this season.

The Championship – Preview And Tips

As you can see from the odds, there is not a huge disparity in odds in the Championship as you get in some other divisions with even the longest priced selections to win the division outright just 66/1, whereas in other divisions, the odds are at least 100/1 or greater.

That does emphasise how closely matched the teams are in The Championship this season and I can’t see a scenario where we have two teams running away with things at the top of the table as Norwich and Watford did last season.

As such, I think this may well be a close season and I can see a chance for some of those teams, especially those ranked from 16/1 to 33/1, to come through and have a good season and perhaps make their mark in the playoffs, or even in the race for promotion.

Let’s now take a look at our tips for some of the most popular markets to bet on for The Championship.

To Win Outright – Fulham – 11/2

I do think the race for the Championship trophy and top spot will be a close one this year and I think a number of teams will be in with a shout. I expect QPR, Sheffield United, Stoke City, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, Reading and West Brom all to be there or thereabouts, but I feel that Fulham have the extra bit of quality needed to secure top spot.

Losing Scott Parker as manager to Bournemouth was a blow, but they have appointed a good replacement in Marco Silva. Their squad is still very strong and has a number of players that not only have Premier League experience, but who also won promotion from this division a couple of years ago.

With Aleksander Mitrovic, in attack and very prolific at this level, I think he will help Fulham score the goals they need to be a real factor at the top of the table, and with excellent defensive players and goalkeeper, I think they should be tight at the back too.

Harry Wilson’s signing from Liverpool looks like being the final piece of the jigsaw they needed to make them real challengers this season and as a result, I am backing them to win the title and secure a quick return to the Premier League.

To Be Promoted (with Fulham) – Queens Park Rangers (7/1), Stoke City (9/2)

We have already listed some of the teams that we think will be challenging with Fulham at thetop of the Championship this season, but the two I think will join them will be Queens Park Rangers in the automatic promotion spot (2nd in the table) with Stoke City being the team to regain their Premier League status via the playoffs.

I do like what QPR have done in the off-season and they have a number of excellent players, with the likes of Charlie Austin, Andre Dozzell, Albert Adomah, Lyndon Dykes, Stefan Johansen, Moses Odubajo and Jimmy Dunne all worth noting. They also had a strong finish to last season and they also beat Manchester United in pre-season, which shows that they have the quality to mix it with the bigger teams in the division.

Stoke will have had another year of Michael O’Neill in charge and I think the Northern Irishman will have had more time to mould what was a poor squad that he inherited. He has made some quality changes to the team and after a slow start last season, they improved over the second half of the campaign and I think are ready to be realistic promotion and playoff contenders this season.

To Be Relegated – Derby County (5/6), Huddersfield Town (10/3), Coventry City (15/4)

As for the teams heading in the opposite direction, I think the financial situation at The Rams, Derby County, is a massive worry and I think Wayne Rooney could find himself in real trouble given that he has hardly been able to bring in the players he wanted to turn around Derby’s fortunes from last season. They only avoided the drop because of Sheffield Wednesday’s points penalty but I think this season they will be heading down to League One.

Sadly, as I like the teams, I think Huddersfield Town and Coventry will join them. I think both have some real issues in terms of the squad and I don’t think either is quite ready to battle it out successfully with the bigger teams in this division. A lack of funds for both teams also doesn’t help matters and as such I think they could be in for a tough campaign.

Top Goalscorer – Adam Armstrong (Blackburn Rovers) (9/1)

Aleksandar Mitrovic is amongst the favourites to land the top scorer award but I am going to go for the free scoring Adam Armstrong of Blackburn Rovers, who outside of Mitrovic and QPR’s Charlie Austin, is arguably the best natural finisher in the division. His Blackburn team is improving and I think if they can create enough chances for him, he should be good for another 25 goals+ this season.

The season kicks off on Friday night as Bournemouth face West Brom in the opening game of the season, so do remember to get any bets you want to make on these outright markets placed before then.