WE'RE still one week away from the Premier League kick-off but clubs looking to join them next season launch their campaigns on Saturday.

It's never easy to predict the Championship winners and clubs relegated from the top flight often take time to settle.

Fulham, Cardiff and Huddersfield are the dropouts and of the trio it's the Cottagers who look best placed to bounce back at the first attempt.

Scott Parker took over too late last season to keep them up but has done decent business in the window. Their firepower is second to none having added Anthony Knockaert from Brighton and Ivan Cavaleiro from Wolves.

Even more importantly Parker has persuaded much-wanted duo Aleksandar Mitrovic and Tom Cairney to stay.

Fulham should go close in the title race and I'm backing them each way at 15-2 with Betway.

Leeds just missed out last season and should go close again having held on to boss Marcelo Bielsa.

The wacky boss has had a bit of a clearout and signed mostly loan players from Premier League clubs with his best of piece of business attracting classy attacker Helder Costa from Wolves.

Leeds are 5-1 favourites with Ladbrokes to top the table and 2-1 at Paddy Power to be promoted.

At the other end Birmingham are already up against it after being hit with a 12 point deduction for financial problems.

Garry Monk was sacked despite keeping them up last season and has been replaced by No.2 Pep Clotet and he faces a mammoth task after losing the likes of Jota to Villa and Che Adams to Southampton.

There's no form to go on but Fulham should start today with victory at Barnsley. They are 5-4 with Coral and back Brentford to add to Birmingham's misery at 8-11 with William Hill.

In League One last season's antepost favourites Sunderland couldn't live up their billing even though they had a decent season after back-to-back relegations.

It was Jack Ross' first year in English football and he'll have learned from the experience. Sunderland finished fifth but lost to Charlton in the play-off final having also being beaten by Portsmouth in the EFL Trophy Final.

So two losing trips to Wembley and no promotion had some fans calling for the head of Ross but he's survived and needs to win promotion this time.

Ross hasn't made too many personnel changes and is boosted by Aiden McGeady re-signing. If his side can turn draws into wins and make the Stadium of Light a fortress they shouldn't be far away. They are 7-2 with William Hill to lift the title and 8-13 at BetVictor to beat Oxford at home today.

Bolton and Bury are just about down before a ball is kicked after being hit with 12-point deductions and Bury in particular look in disarray with their opening game called off. You can't get a decent price on either to be relegated though.

League Two looks the most wide open with Bradford 7-1 favourites ahead of Plymouth and Mansfield.

I tipped Mansfield last season but they missed out on promotion on the final day after losing three in a row then crashed out the play-off semi-finals to Newport on penalties.

David Flitcroft was axed after that disastrous finish and replaced by John Dempster who has strengthened by bringing in Nicky Maynard and Andy Cook and they won't be far away. Back them each way at 10-1 with bet365.

Plymouth have made a good appointment in Ryan Lowe who took Bury up last season and he has signed four of the Shakers stars. They'll push Mansfield all the way so consider the Pilgrims at 9-4 with William Hill to be promoted.

Mansfield have a tricky opener at Newport while Plymouth travel to Crewe. Best bets in League Two today could be Bradford to beat Cambridge and new boys Salford to sink Stevenage.

Antepost Picks

  • Fulham ew to win the Championship
  • Birmingham to be relegated
  • Sunderland to win League One
  • Mansfield ew to win League Two
  • Plymouth to be promoted

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