Kick-off the Championship season with these three best bets

The English football season finally gets its starting orders this weekend…

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Middlesbrough to win the Championship – 13/2

They may have been as dull as their new manager’s tweets in the Premier League last season, but Middlesbrough seem to be worthy favourites at 13/2 to bounce back up as champions at the first time of asking.

It has to be said that Boro probably made their most important signing of the summer in June as they tempted Garry Monk away from Leeds with the promise of a shed load of money to spend a shot at returning to the big time.

After a close-season of clearing Premier League deadwood like Álvaro Negredo, Víctor Valdés and Cristian Stuani, Middlesbrough have bought smartly with their megabucks parachute-payment money.

Championship star names like Britt Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher, Darren Randolph, Cyrus Christie and Jonny Howson have all joined, as well as Toulouse striker Martin Braithwaite. So we expect Monk’s men to be ringing the bell at the top of the friary come the end of April.

Net some great Championship odds at PaddyPower.com

Scott Hogan to be top scorer – 14/1

A 13-goal run in an 18-match period earned Scott Hogan a money-spinning move to Aston Villa for a fee believed to be around £12m.

It’s taken him a while to get used to his new surroundings in Birmingham, but the former Brentford man has looked sharper than Steve Bruce’s tongue in pre-season.

His form, along with that of fellow Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia, could be key if we are to see John Terry celebrating promotion in his full claret-and-blue kit at the end of the season.

Hogan has been linked with an international call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad, but if he recaptures his Brentford form this season a big move and the Three Lions could be in the 25-year-old’s future.

Fulham to be promoted – 5/2

Ruby Walsh would have been impressed with the late come-from-behind finish the men from Craven Cottage served up towards the end of last season in their quest to make the Play-Offs.

Slavisa Jokanovic’s side timed their run perfectly, winning five of their last six games to get into to the all-important top six slots. Unfortunately for Fulham, however, Reading pipped them to a place at Wembley.

The may have been a bit of a surprise package last year but, with players like Oliver Norwood and Aboubakar Kamara coming in permanently, people will be expecting big things from the Cottagers in the 2017/18 campaign.

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* All odds correct of at time of posting.

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