Championship Winner Odds: Relegation to Redemption and More…
The Saints face their first stint in the Championship since 2011/12. Eleven years on from life in the English Football League, a new management team will be handed the task of returning straight back to the top flight. Well, that’s if a compensation package can get over the line.
From a betting perspective, the pick of the bunch for us at the quoted prices so early on is Southampton. It’s almost impossible to call right now without having pre-season transfer activity to analyse. Regardless, we’ll have a go at dissecting the odds in front of us.
Value amongst relegated trio?
The bookmakers have a manager-less Leeds and Leicester at the front of the queue as markets start to be released on various books. And that’s despite the early move to fill the hot seat on the south coast.
An early appointment in the dugout is a solid start to life back in the EFL. Hiring one of England’s up-and-coming coaches with a clear philosophy, coupled with what’ll be an embarrassment of riches at his disposal at this level, should stand the club in good stead as a new chapter begins. Of course, it’s a similar story for the other two relegated sides. Yet, neither seem to have their ducks in a row.
Leicester’s James Maddison and Harvey Barnes will assumably follow those not retained by the Foxes; Youri Tielemans, Nampalys Mendy, Ryan Bertrand, Ayoze Pérez, Çağlar Söyüncü, and Daniel Amartey out of the door, with the duo topping many a shopping list. In Yorkshire, Leeds stutters into the summer in poor shape. Unfortunately for their fan base, they’re headed by an ownership group becoming more disenfranchised with supporters by the day. Andrea Radrizzani plotting to use Elland Road as collateral to buy Sampdoria will certainly do relationships no favours in that department.
Outside of the three Premier League behemoths dropping into the second tier next term, Middlesborough is the next most-fancied. Bet365 have Michael Carrick’s men at 11.00 in their Championship Winner odds offering:
Championship Winner Odds
Leicester @ 7.00, Leeds @ 8.00, Southampton @ 10.00, Middlesbrough @ 11.00, West Brom @ 15.00, Watford @ 15.00, Norwich @ 15.00, Stoke @ 17.00, Sunderland @ 21.00, Ipswich @ 21.00, Coventry @ 21.00, Blackburn @ 21.00
Championship Winner odds are correct as of 02/06/23 – bet365.
It’s important to note that Norwich City was in pole position in the Championship winner odds offering last summer. So, if anything, that screams to approach any early Championship outright bets with caution. The Canaries ended up finishing 13th, if you didn’t know, dropping into the bottom half on the final day.
Russel Martin is set to be announced as the new head honcho at St Mary’s following Ralph Hasenhuttl, Nathan Jones, and Ruben Selles’ stints in one dreadful campaign. It’s a move sharing similarities to Vincent Kompany last summer – a young, progressive, former player appointed in the dugout of a relegated side. Nonetheless, Southampton, like Burnley, will have the financial clout to really compete. Nathan Jones’ stretch down south goes down as the second-worst managerial record the Premier League has ever seen. Losing seven of the eight games in charge (88%) is, luckily for Jones, overshadowed by Frank de Boer’s four losses out of four (100%) at the helm of Crystal Palace.
We may not see a complete summer exodus of players on the south coast. Nevertheless, you’d expect the big hitters to vacate. Just as Dwight McNeil, Ben Mee, James Tarkowski and Maxwell Cornet did last summer – Romeo Lavia and James Ward-Prowse, to name just two, will likely find a new home elsewhere. That will unlock the necessary funds to supplement the current quota of playing staff.
A plump playing squad
The £132 million circulated into the team last season was just shy of the eventual winners, Manchester City’s outlay. Such spending must make the club-record 25 top-flight defeats in one season an even tougher pill to swallow for those involved at the football club. Yet, with those levels of investment, it could be argued that this is the optimal time for Russel Martin’s Southampton adventure to begin.
There is one glaringly obvious difference between Kompany’s Clarets and The Saints’ imminent project. Russel Martin knows the Championship. He has managed in it for the last two seasons, experiencing plenty of highs and lows at Swansea. He has done so with limited funds in comparison and has shown capable of harnessing an upturn in player performance.
Southampton’s transfer committee made 14 permanent additions to the squad last season. It added plenty of options but precisely zero minutes of Premier League experience between them.
Although incapable of stepping up last term, the youthful vigour found in Southampton could be the perfect compliment to Russel Martin’s arrival. Outside of a Sunderland team lauded for their work to reach the playoffs without many older heads, Martin’s Swansea wasn’t far off in terms of average age.
The Black Cats fielded eight of the youngest teams in the Championship last season. An average age of 22.5 against West Brom in April was the most immature. However, overlooking Sunderland, the Swans’ eleven (23.1) against Wigan in November boasted the youngest average age amongst the other 23 competing clubs.
It was a team which ended the season with ten games unbeaten. Eight wins and two draws suggest that if such form reared its head just a few game-weeks earlier, the playoffs would have been a real possibility for the young Swans in south Wales.
Eleven of the 15 most youthful Premier League sides in 2022/23 were found in Southampton. As was the youngest (23.7) of them all during a rare 1-2 away victory against fellow strugglers Leicester City.
Get these young guns on your side, and they may just fire Southampton straight back up to the Premier League.
A forward line fit for a title charge
The squad Martin will inherit looks well-equipped for Championship football. Take Adam Armstrong, for example. The former Blackburn Rovers frontman hasn’t exactly turned heads since his switch from the Championship. However, at this level, he’s proven.
Goal hauls of 16 and 28 in his previous two second-tier seasons may give an insight into what to expect with Armstrong’s drop down a division. If Che Adams stays, that could prove a fruitful partnership. Adams himself ended the 2018/19 Championship season boasting a goal every 170 minutes up top for Birmingham City (22 in 46).
Paul Onuachu arrived for a smidge over £15m from Belgium to help in terms of firepower in January. However, the Nigerian goal-getter couldn’t find the net in the Premier League. Southampton’s slide continued as Onuachu fed off scraps in the final third.
The five goals Che Adams scored was the most of any strikers in 2022/23 – three more than Armstrong (2). Those kinds of lowly figures best explain why The Saints feature in the Championship winner odds, to begin with.
Theo Walcott, also finishing the season on two strikes, is now a free agent. Though, Kamaldeen Sulemana showed against Liverpool in the curtain-raiser that he has enormous potential to be a hit in the Championship if a drop to a lower division takes his fancy.
Stoke and Burnley will venture into next season without two key faces. Will Smallbone and Nathan Tella, both incredibly influential in either side’s efforts this campaign, return to parent club Southampton.
Seventeen-goal Tella won the hearts of Turf Moor during his impactful loan spell. Time will tell whether Kompany will convince the Clarets hierarchy to flutter their eyelashes – and financial muscle – in the hope Tella can replicate more of the same following promotion. If not, that’s some addition to an already packed forward line at St Mary’s. Southampton could potentially have another attacker with Championship know-how at their disposal to drag them out of this unforgiving league.
The departing Will Smallbone will leave a hole in Stoke’s midfield. Saints’ loanee missed just 3/46 games for Stoke, establishing himself as a very handy Championship component in midfield. If/when James Ward-Prowse leaves the club, perhaps Smallbone can provide a more than trusted alternative option at this level.
In defence, although not a loanee coming back to his parent club with invaluable experience, don’t forget about Valentino Livramento. The former Chelsea man is set for a top-flight career with one of the big boys. His quality is evident, as was his impact on this Southampton side when he was injury-free.
A ‘very serious’ injury in April 2021/22 curtailed a Premier League career in its infancy. Not only that, but it restricted Livramento to just two outings in the following season.
Keep Livramento fit, and he’ll be the best-performing full-back in the league. And it’ll be by a country mile as he bombs up and down the left wing. The young (20) Englishman is influential in both defensive areas and when approaching the final third, which will prove invaluable in the Championship.
Championship Top Six Odds: Playoff-chasing, at least
Doing enough to pip Leicester, Leeds, Middlesborough, or whoever else to the title will require a seismic effort for all involved in Southampton. Whilst the Championship winner odds may be juicy enough to convince some, there’s another intriguing angle available.
Skybet’s Championship top six odds have the Saints poised as 2.62 shots to get at least a spot in the playoffs. With the squad at their disposal and the budget to supplement the current quota in the summer and January, it will be a failure not to feature in the top six.
championship top six odds
Leicester @ 1.62, Leeds @ 1.80, Middlesbrough @ 2.20, Southampton @ 2.62, Norwich @ 2.75, Watford @ 2.75, West Brom @ 2.75, Stoke @ 3.00, Coventry @ 3.25, Ipswich @ 3.50, Sunderland @ 3.50, Blackburn @ 3.75
Championship top six odds are correct as of 02/06/23 – Skybet.
That 2.62 price should be shorter come kick-off in July. So, if you think the powers that be in Southampton are capable of masterminding a summer rebound fit to venture towards the Championship summit, this may be the way in for you.
If there’s one price we’re running with from this pre-pre-season write-up, it’s Southampton in Skybet’s Championship top six odds offering.
At the other end
That plucky bunch from Plymouth understandably takes one of the bottom three positions in the Championship relegation odds betting. At 2.62 on bet365, they’re the favourites to go straight back down. League One Champions Wigan, in 2021/22, will bypass Argyle after finishing 24th and seven points off safety in the Championship.
The £12m budget for the season ahead is a sizeable upgrade on the £4.1m that won League One. However, in second-tier terms, it’s a little light. Considering that’s Argyle’s budget for wages, player accommodation, medical fees etc. Argyle will need to be shrewd.
The loan market is a must-visit, as is ensuring their current crop is strapped in for the journey. Niall Ennis has headed to Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer. That’s a blow, but Ryan Hardie and Dan Scarr have already put pen to paper on new contracts. It’s a good start. Yet, they’ll need a number of sound investments going into the new season.
That Home Park record of 20 wins in 23 games will need replicating. The green faction of Devon needs to be a fortress for any hope.
Championship Relegation Odds
Argyle @ 2.62, Rotherham @ 2.75, Huddersfield @ 3.75, Birmingham @ 4.00, QPR @ 4.00, Bristol City @ 5.00, Cardiff @ 5.00, Sheffield Wednesday @ 5.00, Preston @ 5.50, Hull @ 5.50, Swansea @ 7.00, Sunderland @ 9.00
Championship relegation odds are correct as of 02/06/23 – bet365.
Birmingham (4.00), QPR (4.00), Bristol City (5.00), Cardiff (5.00) and newly-promoted Sheffield Wednesday (5.00) are the next-lowest odds on Championship relegation in what looks like a very strong second-tier setup.
Speaking of relegation, Luton Town and Sheffield United are primed for the drop after their promotion. The Premier League may well chew them both up and spit them out. The bookmakers’ Premier League relegation odds predict that’s what will likely transpire.
Premier League Relegation Odds
Luton @ 1.36, Sheffield United @ 1.57, Burnley @ 2.62, Bournemouth @ 2.75, Nottingham Forest @ 3.75, Everton @ 4.00, Fulham @ 4.33, Wolves @ 6.00, Crystal Palace @ 9.00, Brentford @ 10.00.
Premier League relegation odds are correct as of 02/06/23.
Burnley joins Championship Playoff winners Luton and second-placed Bladed as the third likeliest to go down. But, given the brand of football and the sheer domination in the Championship, perhaps eyes will veer elsewhere in search of healthy Burnley Premier League odds.
Could Burnley replicate what Fulham have done in 2022/23? If you’re in the camp agreeing it’s a distinct possibility, it’s 9.00 for a top-half finish next term. If Fulham can do it, why not the Clarets? However, the aim in Burnley must be to avoid the drop and re-establish itself as a Championship club.
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All Championship Winner Odds selections are correct as of 02/06/23