England Championship predictions and odds

Although most punters often stick to top-flight national leagues and competitions, EFL Championship betting remains as popular as ever. It’s likely the biggest second-tier league in the world if we’re talking about football betting, and is more than worth your attention.

To that end, Betting Fellow is here with the best EFL Championship betting tips out there. We’ll also take a look at the state of the league going into the 2020/21 season – the favourites, top players, and most exciting showdowns we’ll be seeing over the next year or so.

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England Championship Predictions

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England Championship Results

History and General Information

The full name of this competition is the English Football League Championship. Now, to those familiar with the history of England’s league system, its relationship to the Premier League will be familiar. However, we’ll go over because it may be confusing to beginners.

The main ancestor of today’s championship is the English Football League second division. The Football League was founded in 1888 to create a unified national league. The Football Association Cup existed before that, but the tournament format it has was an issue for many clubs. Namely, if a team was knocked out early, they would be left with no matches for the remainder of the season.

A round-robin competition was needed, but the EFL wasn’t the only fish in the pond. The Football Alliance was a rival league which existed for a few years towards the end of the 19th century. The short-lived competition consisted of 14 teams which weren’t part of the Football League. In 1892 the Alliance was merged with the main league, finally creating a central authority for English football.

However, the EFL already had the same number of clubs. Because of the competition’s round-robin format, it would be extremely difficult to organize enough matches to allow each team to play every other team twice. As such, the Second Division was formed to accommodate most of the Football Alliance’s member clubs. Notably, a few clubs still ended up in the First Division, replacing a few former First Division teams.

The system of relegation and promotion was immediately implemented as well and remains largely in place to this day. As time went on, more divisions were added – like the Third and Fourth – because of football’s rapidly growing popularity and the increasing number of clubs who wished to join the English Football League.

As the ‘70s and ‘80s came round, football in the country was at an all-time low. Despite notable successes in international competitions and massive fanbases, even England’s greatest clubs were financially weak and unstable. Those same clubs argued for a bigger cut of the profits due to bringing in more spectators, but these complaints ultimately fell on deaf ears.

All of this came to a head in 1992. In the ongoing fight to acquire better profits and TV broadcast rights, all First Division clubs simultaneously left the English Football League on February 20. This was a seminal moment in football history, and it also defined how the English football system would work. The Premier League was formed, replacing the EFL First Division as the top flight of English football. Though it is technically a separate entity, pretty much the entire format remained intact, including the system of promotion and relegation.

As a result, every team in the EFL was bumped up one league higher – at least in the name. The former Second Division became the First Division, even though it represented the second flight of football on a national level. If you feel this sounds a bit strange, you’re probably right.

That’s why the Football League was rebranded in the 21st century. In 2004, the Football League First Division was renamed to the Football League Championship, while the Third and Fourth divisions were rebranded as League One and League Two. Also, the organization was rebranded as the English Football League in 2014 (though we referred to it as such throughout this text to avoid confusion.)

The Premier League split did greatly impact some aspects of the Football League. For starters, its member clubs reported financial issues caused by reduced viewership because the country’s most popular clubs left. Today, however, those issues were smoothed out if the numbers are to be believed. Despite not being a top-flight league, the English Championship maintains an enormous following. Reportedly, it records higher attendance than ever France’s Ligue 1 or Italy’s Serie A, which are both members of the European Big 5.


The Championship’s format shouldn’t be unfamiliar to anyone who’s ever seen a football league, except with 4 more clubs than what you might be used to. The 24 constituent teams of the Championship play against one another twice throughout a season, typically lasting from August to May of the following year. As always, one match is played home and one is played away, and points are awarded in the usual style of 3/1/0.

Despite being called the Championship, the winners of this league are not named champions. Instead, the two best-placed teams go on to the Premier League. Additionally, Championship play-offs are held to determine which team will take the third promotion spot.

Championship play-offs take the form of a mini knockout tournament. The third-placed team plays against the sixth-placed team twice, while the fourth-placed team plays against the fifth. The winners of these outings face off in single-match Championship finals, the winner of which earns a trophy and a promotion to the Premier League.

Conversely, the three bottom-placed teams are relegated to League One. League One has a similar structure to determine who gets a promotion to the Championship.

EFL Championship Title Challengers

Understanding how the teams compare to each other is arguably the most important thing you need for betting on Championship matches. Since the best clubs rarely stay in this league for long complicates things a little, though. Historically, the teams that were recently relegated have the best chances of making it back to the Premier League and vice-versa.

As such, we might want to refer to EFL Championship betting odds to get a starting picture. Since promotion is the ultimate goal of most Championship teams, we’ll take a look at how the world’s top online bookmakers have priced the Outright to Be Promoted market.

At the top of this list is Norwich City at odds of 2.50, who were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the previous season. Right behind them are Brentford with 3.00, who made it to the playoffs in the 2019/20 season but failed to secure a promotion. Next up are Watford – another freshly relegated team, whose promotion is priced at 3.25.

Here are the next few teams, listed from most likely to be promoted to the least: Bournemouth, Stoke, Nottingham Forest, and Swansea. Let’s take a look at the sportsbooks’ promotion favourites and why they are ahead of the competition.

Norwich City F.C.

The Canaries are often seen as the traditional favourites of the Championships – though they never seem to find their footing in the Premier League. They topped the table in the 2018/19 season under coach Daniel Farke, but the promotion led to a disastrous performance in the top flight.

Analysts point at their lacklustre defence as the main culprit. Even in their previous season in the Championships, they conceded a lot of goals despite placing first in the standings – 53 to be exact. To avoid such mishaps, Farke brought in players like Oliver Skipp of Tottenham to shore up their defensive abilities. That said, other major transfers for the summer include West Ham’s Jorgan Hugill and Everton’s Kieran Dowell of Everton.

From a football betting perspective, Norwich may be interesting for Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams to Score markets.

Brentford F.C.

Brentford were last season’s best-placed team if we exclude promoted teams. They lost the promotion in the play-offs but recorded a fairly successful season nonetheless. That said, such a placement was relatively surprising – The Bees have been a middle-of-the-table team for almost a decade, ever since their promotion from League One.

Overall, this club’s recent history is fairly interesting. They specialize in using football stats and analytics to find talented but underperforming players and whip them into Premier League material. For example, centre-forward Ollie Watkins joined the team in 2017 for a €2 million fee, and they just sent him off to Aston Villa for a whopping €30.80 million. They’ve recorded £120 million of profits in 5 years on transfers alone, so they’re doing something right.

The issue is that Brentford remains a stepping stone on the way to bigger and better things for most players. Still, most experts agree that this team is yet to reap the full rewards of their explosively aggressive tactics and innovative transfer model.

Watford F. C.

Back to the Championship after a 5-year stint in the Premier League, Watford seem to be gearing up for redemption. Though they spent a good chunk of the said stint near the middle of the team, the 2019/20 season was a bit of a disaster under coach Hayden Mullins. They have a new coach, though the recent transfers have some troubling indications.

A lot of solid and high-value players left over the summer. Central midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré and left-back Pervis Estupiñán are probably the most notable ones, and their replacements don’t seem to be up to the task. Still, these funds may just be funnelled into the eventual promotion, which seems to be a clear goal for the Hornets.

Coach Vladimir Ivić seems to intend to rely on a rock-solid, disciplined defence as the way forward. Either way, the overall opinion is that Watford is a Premier League team stuck in the Championship and that they won’t stay there for all.

EFL Championship Relegation Favourites

Three teams will also be relegated to League One, as always. Knowing the underdogs also has benefits for Championship betting, so let’s take a close look at some of them.

Wycombe Wanderers

The Chairboys’ promotion in last season’s promotion play-offs was historic for the team in many ways – starting with the fact it’s their best result so far. However, that means that they’re also complete outsiders to the Championship, which marks them as innate underdogs. Though coach Ainsworth’s efforts resulted in incredible improvements and deserve nothing but praise, their lineup seems woefully unprepared for the demands of the Championship. The reinforcements they had in the form of experienced players may not be enough to keep them on their upwards trajectory.

Rotherham United

Though they have more experience in the Championship than Wycombe, Rotherham’s recent league history is nothing to be happy about. They’ve been in-and-out of the league 3 times during the past 5 years. Moreover, they’ve just been promoted from League One. They have a bit of a reputation for conceding massive numbers of goals, and it will be interesting to see if the trend continues.

EFL Championship Top Players

Though world-class players don’t tend to stay in the Championship for long, there are still some outstanding examples of why this league is enjoyed by so many fans.

Ismaïla Sarr

Watford’s right-winger had several Premier League clubs interested in signing him over the summer, but the asking price was too high. Teams like Liverpool and Manchester United were after the 23-year-old’s lightning speed and incredible performance under pressure. He is most famous for scoring twice in Watford’s surprise 3:0 against Liverpool in February 2020.

Jefferson Lerma

Though Lerma’s performance in Bournemouth last year was somewhat underwhelming, he remains a world-class defender. He is a very athletic and imposing player, known for stopping attacks dead in their tracks and setting up effective counter-attacks. Critics will be quick to point at Bournemouth’s horrible concession rate in the previous season, but it should be understood that these concessions happened despite Lerma – not because of him.

Todd Cantwell

Playing for the Norwich side, Cantwell is a fan-favourite among many British fans and a perfect example of a player on the rise. Fans of the Canaries followed his journey from a promising young player fresh from the academy to and integral part of a Premier League team. He plays as an attacking midfielder and is an established member of Norwich’s starting 11 at just 22, with an even brighter future ahead of him.

EFL Championship Rising Stars

Watching young players come into their own is one of the joys of the Championship. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

João Pedro

Very little is known about this young Brazilian player before the moment he signed for Watford in January. Still, if a Premier League team were willing to sign him for a €4 million deal, you should get a clear idea of his skill and tenacity. At just 18, he is yet to see a lot of action as a centre-forward, so the upcoming season will be crucial in his career.

Max Aarons

Norwich‘s right-back is one of the most talked-about young players in recent memory. As a point of reference – Barcelona and Bayern Munich both expressed interest in adding him to their respective lineups but were denied with a “Not even for a €100!” from Farke. Aarons is noted for his incredible skill on the ball and ability to quickly transition into a counter-attack.

EFL Championship Derby Matches

M1 Derby

Though the noted showdown between Luton Town and Watford is long past its prime, it’s a storied rivalry going back more than a century. The relations between these two teams and their fans were very fiery in the 80s while both of them were in the top-flight. The teams’ fall from relevance eventually resulted in calmer showdowns, though it is still well known among football fans.

East Midlands Derby

It would be a misstep not to mention a rivalry involving Derby County, and the one with Nottingham Forest is perhaps the most notable. This is likely the fiercest rivalry outside the Premier League and dates back more than a century (though the clubs were admittedly more successful at the time.)

EFL Championship Best Stadiums


With a capacity of just under 40,000, Sheffield’s home turf is the biggest venue in the Championship. Being one of the oldest football clubs in the world, Sheffield boast a very old and storied stadium. That said, one of those stories is the infamous Hillsborough disaster, which marked football history and changed the standards for stadiums forever. Currently, there are plans to further increase the capacity to 45,000.

Riverside Stadium

Built in 1996, Middlesbrough’s home ground is an impressive all-seater stadium with a capacity of just over 34,000. It was constructed to replace the Boro’s previous stadium after the Hillsborough disaster, which sadly means that it can’t hope to match the history and charm of some other Championship teams’ stadiums. Still, it boasts modern facilities and regularly houses fierce showdowns.