There aren’t many more unpredictable sporting leagues in the world than the EFL Championship. The 24 clubs that start the season in the second-tier of English football all believe that they have a chance at promotion, but only three will have the chance to achieve that goal.
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What Does The Championship Format Work?
The first two spaces for promotion are made up of the two teams that finish in first and second, while the third team to be promoted is decided by the playoffs. The teams that enter the playoffs are those that have finished third, fourth, fifth and sixth. The season runs from August until the first week in May. The Championship typically begins on the week before the Premier League.
The playoffs take place a couple of weeks after the end of the regular season, with the team finishing in third facing the team that finished in sixth, and the teams in fourth and fifth against one another. The two winning sides from these two-legged clashes move onto the final, which is played at Wembley Stadium and is heralded as the ‘Richest Game in Football’ due to the money on offer for the winning team that heads into the Premier League.
Three teams are also relegated from the division each season, with the unlucky sides being the three at the bottom of the table. These three sides then drop down into League One, with the three promoted sides from that division coming into the Championship. The three sides relegated from the Premier League also drop into the Championship in place of the teams that were promoted. That means that there is always a fresh element to the division, which makes it interesting every season.
How to Bet on the Championship
Due to the competitive nature of the Championship, there is a wide variety of ways in which punters can win money on their betting. These can range from outright bets for the teams that will get promoted to each individual match.
Punters have a number of options to select from in the promotion betting. They can either pick a team that they believe will win the division, or they can simply wager their money on a team that will be promoted. The latter of these ensures that the punter also wins their bet should the team that they have staked their money on finishes second or goes up through the playoffs.
The Championship winning market is the most lucrative as it is tougher to pick the team that will win the division outright. It offers less room for mistake, whereas the promotion market offers you all three possible ways for the team to be promoted.
|Season||Champions||Second Automatic Spot||Playoff Winners|
|2018-19||Norwich City||Sheffield United||Aston Villa|
|2017-18||Wolverhampton Wanderers||Cardiff City||Fulham|
|2016-17||Newcastle United||Brighton & Hove Albion||Huddersfield Town|
On the opposite end of the scale, punters can also wager their money on the team that they believe will be relegated at the end of the season. The punter must correctly predict one of the sides that will finish in the bottom three places in order to win this bet.
As we have mentioned, the unpredictability of the division ensures that this could be a lucrative market, with big teams such as Sunderland, Ipswich Town and Leeds United all relegated into League One over the course of the last 20 years.
|2018-19||Ipswich Town||Bolton Wanderers||Rotherham United|
|2016-17||Blackburn Rovers||Wigan Athletic||Rotherham United|
|2015-16||Charlton Athletic||Milton Keynes Dons||Bolton Wanderers|
Individual Match Markets
The common way to bet on the outcome of a Championship match can be found in the match result or 1X2 market. The punter will simply have to predict the outcome of the match correctly. It is important to remember that this market involves regular time, which is vital when betting on the playoffs. The bet is won if the punter lays their stake on the team that wins after 90 minutes. However, the stake is lost if they predict the wrong outcome.
A more lucrative betting avenue for punters who want to predict the outcome is the correct score market. Here, punters must correct stake their money on the exact scoreline from the game. The bet will be lost regardless of if their team wins; they need to get the score right.
For instance, if a punter lays their stake on West Bromwich Albion to beat Birmingham City 2-1, then that must be the correct score when the referee blows the full-time whistle in order to be a winner.
Punters can also lay their stake on the player that will score the first goal in the game. The odds will be shorter for strikers compared to defenders, but it could be an interesting option if one of the teams have a defender that frequently scores from corners. This betting option can also be combined with other markets by virtue of the Scorecast and First Goalscorer Wincast markets.
The first of those means that the punter must correctly predict the first goalscorer as well as the outcome of the match. However, the second is merely predicting the first goalscorer and then the team that will win the match.
Both Teams To Score
One of the most popular markets for punters that bet on individual games surrounds the question of whether both teams playing will find the back of the net. Punters can put their stake on either yes, or no. If a punter stakes their money on yes, then both teams must score before the referee blows the final whistle.
It also doesn’t matter which side wins, as long as your desired outcome is achieved. However, you can combine it with the match result to add increased odds. For instance, you could bet on Leeds United to beat Brentford and both teams to score. This bet will only be a winner should Leeds win the match with both teams scoring at least once.
A lucrative way to win money on football betting can be found in the over/under markets. Punters can bet on whether there will be more or fewer cards, corners or goals than a benchmark set by the bookmaker. They will put their stake on either over and under, with the bet settled after 90 minutes.
For instance, a punter could lay a bet on a match between Huddersfield Town and Cardiff for more than 3.5 cards. For the bet to be a winner, then there must be at least four cards in the match combined between both sides. If there is less than three, then the stake is lost.
Sometimes two teams at contrasting ends of the table will come up against each other, and the only way to get increased odds in these fixtures is the handicap market. This will see a team start with a deficit or a head start in terms of goals, which they will either have to overcome or hang on to.
For instance, in a fixture between Fulham and Luton Town, Fulham may be given a -1.5 handicap. If you bet on Fulham to win with that handicap, then they will need to win by at least two goals for the bet to be a winner.
Draw No Bet
Unlike other sports, draws can be a common outcome of a football match. To combat that, punters can bet on the winning team using this market. They will pick either the home side or the away one to win. However, should the match end in a draw, then the stake will be returned to the punter.
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