IT’S only one day to the start of the English season and with Newcastle kicking it off at Fulham I’m putting up some Championship anteposts.
All UK leagues start up this weekend apart from the Premier League and I’m still studying League One and League Two.
I’m always reluctant to pick winners too early as sides continue to mould their squads – and I like to study the Racing Post’s excellent pullout which provides all necessary stats and analysis.
So let’s go over the sides leading the markets starting with the Premier League. It should be a fascinating season with the top three favourites all having new managers.
Punters reckon it will be a straight fight between Pep’s Man City and Jose’s Man United with Chelsea available at 6-1 with William Hill ahead of 13-2 Arsenal.
Last season of course the title was won by 5000-1 no-hopers Leicester and they are 33-1 at Betway this time.
No side is 5000-1 but Middlesbrough, Watford, Sunderland, Burnley, West Brom, Bournemouth and Hull are 1500-1 with various bookies.
Hull would be the side I’d back to go down. They start the season with serious injury problems and as yet have no manager.
In the Championship Newcastle are all the rage and it’s easy to see why. They did well to persuade Rafa Benitez to stay for a season in the second tier and they have spent £33m to buy players such as Matt Ritchie, Grant Hanley and Dwight Gayle. The Geordies are no bigger than 19-10 at sportingbet though.
Premier League dropouts Norwich and Aston Villa are 9-1 and 10-1 respectively with Derby 12-1 and Wolves 16-1 and I agree with Johnb and others that Sheffield Wednesday look good for a top-six slot.
Clear League One favourites are Sheffield Utd who are 6-1 at William Hill and Betfred with Millwall and Charlton 11-1 ahead of MK Dons at 12s. In League Two Doncaster are 2-1 jollies with Carlisle 7-2 and Blackpool 4-1.
It’s Celtic v Rangers in the Scottish Premiership with Brendan Rodgers fancied to keep the silverware at Parkhead. The Bhoys are a biggest 1-3 at bet365 with Rangers 7-2 at BetBright and Aberdeen next best at 20-1 with bet365. The Dons should win the title without the Old Firm at 4-5.
Alloa have been well backed to win League One after going through their Betfred Cup campaign with a 100 per cent records including wins over Ross County and Raith.
The Wasps are 11-4 at bet365 and should be given a run for their money by 5-1 shots Peterhead who also had a successful cup campaign.
Barry Ferguson’s Clyde are favourites at 10-2 with McBookie in League Two for the second season running with Forfar 5-1 and Arbroath and Cowdenbeath 6s.
So let’s hear your thoughts on title winners, promotion and relegation and even top scorers.
Newcastle to win Championship
Newcastle (scratch) to win handicap
Gayle ew (Newcastle) to top score
(9-1, William Hill – one quarter odds first 4)
Sheffield Wed top 6 finish
Scottish Antepost Yankee (11 bets)
Alloa (League 1)
Clyde (League 2)
(Fourfold pays 42-1, 188BET)
Griffiths (Celtic) top scorer
(3-1, William Hill)
Boden (Inverness) ew
Ross County top 6
Kilmarnock to finish bottom