Football tips: EFL Championship best bets – winner, promotion, relegation & top scorer verdicts

Our tipster Colin Harvey attempts to work out what's going to happen in the world's least predictable league.


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Here we go. The new Championship season is looming just over the horizon and once again it promises 46 rounds of pure, unadulterated madness. Kick-off is just days away so time is running out to get your pre-season outright bets in and, potentially, bragging rights, smugness and a nice pot of cash as well.


So, buckle up as we take a look at some of the runners and riders in the race for the title, promotion, relegation and the golden boot. Are we going to see a Premier League new boy in 2022/23 or will one of the yo-yo mob be back for another swing? Let’s take a look at the contenders as we try and eke out some all-important value.

West Brom

West Brom have just come down so, as the undisputed leader of the yo-yo club, should be nailed on to go straight back up by right. And I think they will. They’re so yo-yoey that not even the might and nous of a man with a 100% international win record, Big Sam Allardyce, could defy the laws of football and keep them up.

It’s different in the Championship, though. Very different. Slaven Bilic was the last man to take them up and this time around I think Valerien Ismael is the perfect candidate to repeat the trick. West Brom’s squad is largely unravaged and Ismael knows know to win games in the second tier after one-and-a-half excellent years at Barnsley.

To be promoted


All things being equal, Fulham should have a great chance of winning The Championship this year. They felt strangely unlucky to get relegated last season, drawing far too many games while stubbornly refusing to score any goals. Their defensive prowess will surely put them a level above most of their title challengers.

But there’s a but – and it’s a big but. But, Marco Silva. The former Everton and Hull manager is not exactly renowned for his defensively solid sides and their big strength last season could quickly be squandered. I don’t doubt they’ve got the squad capable of going up, I just think the title will be just beyond them and, specifically, Silva.



Scott Parker. Remember him? You know, from that season I literally just mentioned above? Well, for former Fulham boss is at Bournemouth now and I think he and the Cherries are going to get on like a Parker post-match interview dubbed over a Streets beat. Pure fire.

If he can bring the aforementioned defensive solidarity shown at The Cottage to the south coast, and combine it with his new side’s array of attacking talents, they’ll be hard to stop. It will be between them and Fulham for second, but I think whoever misses out will still make it through the playoffs.

Sheffield United

In terms of Paddy’s markets, Sheffield United feature quite prominently in all the upwardly mobile ones. I think they’ve certainly peaked, for the next few years at least, and should be avoided at all costs in the winner and promotion picture.

To Be Relegated


Blackpool are Paddy’s favourites for the drop and it’s very hard to argue against that. They’re short for a reason but you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll fight to the end. Well, you can’t actually because there’s no market for that. Expect this to be a learning curve for The ‘Pool and their excellent manager Neil Critchley. They’ll be back.

Bristol City

Bristol City had a great start to last season but faded in quite spectacular fashion, if such a thing’s possible, slumping all the way to 19th in the end. There’s a definite air of panic about The Robins and explosive boss Nigel Pearson will either steer them serenely to midtable obscurity or be gone by mid-September. He didn’t have the immediate positive impact I expected when he came in last season. They’re a bit of a price and could certainly struggle.


Hear me out. If Barnsley can go from relegation battlers to a playoff spot in one season then why can’t they go back the other way? Look, Valerien Ismael just got something magic out of that football club. He’s gone to West Brom and left a huge hold that Markus Schopp will surely struggle badly to fill. A big price and a bit of a punt, but things could easily fall apart for them without their totemic former boss.

The rest

I think Peterborough are far too well run, especially when compared to many of the second tier’s worst clubs, to go down. Huddersfield are a realistic contender for the drop but I thought I’d chance my arm at some bigger priced options. For Birmingham see Huddersfield.

I think Luton will do just fine again and Coventry will probably have too many worse teams below them to be in real danger come the final few weeks of the season. They’re also back in their own city after a temporary stay in Birmingham which should help. Special mention goes to the utterly shambolic Derby and incredibly unfortunate Wycombe – we still don’t know which league each of these are going to be playing in next season. A complete mess, but whichever ends up in the second tier will be short and almost nailed-on to go down, you’d think.

Top Scorer – the contenders

Aleksandar Mitrovic

With two of last season’s top four goal scorers now in the Premier League this should be a fascinating race. With teams coming down that, of course, means that we get some pretty good strikers dropping into the division as well and Aleksandar Mitrovic is one of those.

He has a great record at this level but didn’t seem to get on with Scott Parker. You have to wonder how Marco Silva will rate his pressing, if you can call it that. He might struggle to get on to the pitch and is one to avoid, I think. Just don’t tell him I said that.

Adam Armstrong

Can lightning strike twice for Adam Armstrong? He carried a poor Blackburn side under the management of Tony Mowbray with an outstanding 28 goals last term. Yes, Tony Mowbray! Clearly a decent player but if he can do it again with Blackburn then he certainly won’t be there in 2022/23. There’s a good chance he’ll leave this summer and with so many questions about, Armstrong is not the one for me, Clive.

Rhian Brewster

Rhian Brewster couldn’t break through at Liverpool and struggled in a poor Sheffield United side last season as they bombed out of the top flight. However, he knows his way around this league and scored 10 in 20 with Swansea in 2019/20. At a price I think Brewster has real value if The Blades can provide the service. One to consider, but if you fancy Brewster he’s well worth backing now at the price on offer rather than waiting for the goals to start flying in.

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Bobby Decordova-Reid (E/W)

Bobby Decordova-Reid hasn’t really scored loads of goals throughout his career. I mean, he’s a big-priced shot, but at that price, and with Marco Silva in charge, I think he’s a decent each-way bet. Silva will love his work rate and he might even play as the central striker in place of Mitrovic. With Fulham likely to boss possession everywhere they go and creating plenty of chances, maybe this season is Decordova-Reid’s time to shine?

Best Bet: Lucas Joao

I’m a little surprised Lucas Joao is as big as he is here. The Reading forward is a bit streaky – like the team as a whole – but with a prolific season under his belt (19 goals) he could explode this year. Joao was 5th in last season’s top-scorer charts and if he hadn’t missed seven games could have moved up a spot or two.

We’re not going to see another Ivan Toney-sized haul this year and I think it’s going to be a close race. With the 27-year-old settled, approaching his prime, on set pieces, the focal point of his team and looking to guide Reading into the playoffs at least, Lucas Joao is my best bet to be the Championship top scorer at a really great price.

Championship Outright tips

Winner: West Brom
Promoted: Fulham, Bournemouth
To Be Relegated: Blackpool, Bristol City and Barnsley
Top Scorer: Lucas Joao, Bobby Decordova-Reid (E/W)

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change


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