Championship 2016/17 tips: Newcastle so strong in title race, Terriers in trouble?
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | August 4, 2016
Championship 2016/17 tips
We’re so close to the Football League getting underway, you can almost smell it, and that means it’s time for Coral’s Championship 2016/17 tips.
It’s such a compelling division every season and this should be no exception. What do our experts think the best bets are in the outright markets? Read on to see what Championship 2016/17 tips we’ve picked out!
Why Newcastle are worthy title favourites
The mass exodus some pundits expected from Newcastle United this summer following their relegation from the Premier League hasn’t happened.
Georginio Wijnaldum’s sale was inevitable, while losing injury-prone duo Papiss Cisse and Steven Taylor pales in comparison to the recruitment funded by their and Andros Townsend’s departures.
It’s a testament to the powers of persuasion Rafael Benitez has with Magpies players, and so far they have match the Spaniard’s surprising loyalty to St James’ Park.
With spending on Tyneside set to move past £40m before the transfer window slams shut, Benitez is blessed with a strong squad. This is the chief reason why Coral make Newcastle firm 15/8 favourites for the title and that is chief among our Championship 2016/17 tips.
Also odds-on on for an immediate promotion back to the Premier League, which the Toon Army witnessed the last time their beloved team fell from grace, it is hard to look past them.
Quality signings are talk of Toon
Benitez’s new forward addition Dwight Gayle is one of three 10/1 market principals to be Championship top goalscorer, with hot-headed Serbia target man Aleksandar Mitorvic an alternative at the same price, but his temperament is an issues.
Add in the guile of winger Matt Ritchie, who played Premier League football with Bournemouth last term, and the grit of his Scotland national teammate Grant Hanley from Blackburn Rovers, and the Magpies do look like the total package.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 3, 2016
That is only rubber-stamped by the signings of Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark and Senegal midfielder Mohamed Diame, another play-off final winning goalscorer.
To this end, a couple of Coral specials may appeal. We go 7/1 that Newcastle end up with 100 points or more, and 8/1 to remain unbeaten at home in the Championship this season.
Villa worth a promotion punt
Fellow relegated side Aston Villa looked set to sink even further – before Randy Lerner was bought out by Chinese investors and they appointed Roberto Di Matteo as manager.
While there is work for the Italian to do, Villa are 11/4 to be promoted and possess proven performers in this division among their ranks, most notably Benin frontman Rudy Gestede (a 16/1 shot to be top scorer), and new arrival Ross McCormack.
As 2013/14 Golden Boot winner, McCormack is not without merit as a 10/1 joint favourite to be top scorer again and is also among suggested Championship 2016/17 tips because of those around him.
Sinclair staying essential
Winger Scott Sinclair once hit a hat-trick in the play-off final, scoring 22 second tier goals, so the Villans could do with keeping him from the rumoured clutches of Celtic. His direct support and knockdowns from Gestede should give McCormack a lot of ammo.
Deep-lying midfielder Gary Gardner, meanwhile, has impressed at this level in loan spells with Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest. New centre back Tommy Elphick has a Championship promotion on his CV like Sinclair.
If Di Matteo can restore confidence to a squad whose decline was seen from some way off, then taking Villa to go up is not without merit.
Norwich might not be so lucky this time
Alex Neil’s Norwich City are third and final side to have come down from the Premier League. Although signing Sergi Canos and Alex Pritchard to boost their creativity, the Canaries are 5/2 to make an immediate return but face stiffer competition than two seasons ago.
There’s no doubting what a talented young manager Neil is, but he has an ageing squad at his disposal. Three of the first-choice back four are 30 or older, and key midfield jobs go to elder statesmen Alexander Tettey holding and Wes Hoolahan supporting the striker.
It’s the whole experience versus energy debate with Norwich, and both are needed to earn promotion, so they may be one team best avoided in the betting unless a new striker is found to compete with Cameron Jerome and the previously out-of-favour Kyle Lafferty.
Wolves among top six contenders
Ambitious neighbours Wolves are splashing the cash following their own Chinese takeover. At 10/3 to return to the Premier League, will ex-Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga take to Football League life, though?
It looks little more than getting a big name in to Molineux as manager, though Iceland striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson benefits from that Euro 2016 campaign by joining. Wolves are shorter, but safer at 6/5 to finish in the top six and that’s another of our Championship 2016/17 tips.
Staying in the Midlands, Derby County and fellow play-off flops Brighton and Hove Albion are equal 3/1 chances to do better and go up this term. Both will come again, but there’s little difference in respective squads that fellow short last season.
The Rams are yet make a summer signing, though have changed coach with Nigel Pearson coming in. He joins Seagulls counterpart Chris Hughton as course and distance winners when it comes to getting sides up.
Owls another play-off punt
Beaten play-off finalists Sheffield Wednesday, meanwhile, are on the periphery of the promotion candidates at 9/2.
Carlos Carvalhal has added experienced pros Steven Fletcher and Almen Abdi to his attacking options at Hillsborough, while making Owls loanee left back Daniel Pudil’s move from Watford permanent.
There is value at siding with Wednesday at 11/8 for another top six finish – a slightly bigger price than Wolves among our Championship 2016/17 tips.
Top six outsiders include Tractor Boys
Ipswich Town (4/1 with us in that market) are outside shouts despite an ageing strikeforce because of wily boss Mick McCarthy, who has taken both Sunderland and Wolves up from this level before.
Wigan Athletic (3/1) and Brentford (10/3) have small squads that should find the 46-game slog stretches them, and what may be their undoing in the end.
QPR and Cardiff City are no less hungry at 4/1 for the top six when it comes to the hunt for making a Premier League return, yet neither have much of a reputation as stable sides.
Who is in danger of relegation?
While the likes of fallen giants Leeds United and Nottingham Forest, plus Reading managed now by Jaap Stam, look set for more mid-table mediocrity, Championship new boys are odds-on 10/11 favourites to be relegated straight back to League One.
Nigel Clough’s coaching has been at its best when his teams have been underdogs, and the Brewers will give the challenge their best shot.
Rotherham United, meanwhile, no longer have division expert Neil Warnock at the helm, and the Millers may well be in a precarious position at 2/1 for the drop.
Blackburn set to battle drop
Alan Stubbs isn’t the only one with a big job on his hands, with Blackburn Rovers counterpart Owen Coyle inheriting a squad stripped of star turns.
What remains at Ewood Park has plenty to prove, so Rovers have work to do before transfer deadline day to transform themselves from 10/3 relegation candidates. It’s a big ask and that’s why Blackburn to go down features as one of our Championship 2016/17 tips.
Tykes and Terriers look to strikers
League One play-off winners Barnsley are just shorter at 3/1, but Paul Heckingbottom, but the purchase of Wales capped striker Tom Bradshaw, who has scored for fun in the division below, gives some hope.
Given how much above their weight they’ve punched under Gary Rowett, Birmingham City look a little hard done by at 4/1 to go down, but there’s so little investment compared to their West Midlands rivals in this league.
Huddersfield Town look overpriced at 6/1 in the Championship relegation betting, so we include that as the last of our Championship 2016/17 tips. The Terriers have sold defender Joel Lynch and are heavily reliant on striker Nahki Wells, who could be similarly snapped up.
Check out the Championship section of Coral news throughout the season for more content.