Our research of the last 10 years reveals that 11 games into the season is long enough to make judgments about which teams will/won't be celebrating in May.
Cardiff are going up
Seven of the last 10 sides to top the Championship after 11 games of the season have gone on to win promotion.
Cardiff have exactly the average number of points (24) accrued by those early pace-setters so, at , are well worth backing to continue the trend.
Slow starters are going to have to do it the hard way
Despite regularly being dubbed the hardest league to get out of, the Championship promotion picture actually tends to be reasonably clear at this stage of the season.
Only three of the last 20 sides to win automatic promotion did so having been outside of the top six after 11 matches.
The unconvincing starts made by fancied sides such as Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham and Middlesbrough, therefore, means a play-off spot is now the best they can hope for.
Not all the bottom three are doomed…
Thankfully for Birmingham and Sunderland, who are 22nd and 23rd respectively, picking the teams to go down is not quite so simple.
Since 2007/08, only a third of sides that were in the bottom three after 11 games were eventually relegated.
That means they are only as likely to go down as the teams currently residing between 12th and 18th.
With 16th-placed QPR floundering, is a tempting price for them to be relegated.
…but Bolton are definitely going down
Sorry, Trotters fans.
With two points from 11 matches, Phil Parkinson’s side have made the worst start to a second-tier season since before the Second World War.
That dismal run is reflected in their price of for relegation.
League One was more fun anyway, right?
Shrewsbury won’t win the title
In the last 10 years, only four of the teams that were top after 11 games were crowned champions.
The good news for the Shrews is that only one of those sides failed to finish in the top six.
Just like Burton, Leyton Orient and Tranmere – who all punched above their weight in recent years – Paul Hurst’s side are unlikely to hold on to top spot.
But with 29 points so far – the joint-highest tally at this stage – they can justifiably shift their focus from survival scrap to promotion battle.
Blackburn’s poor start means nothing
Unlike in the Championship, a slow start in League One is not fatal to teams that are targeting promotion.
In the last 10 seasons, 13 teams have gone up despite being outside the top six after 11 games.
Eight of those were promoted automatically, including both Bolton and Wigan during the last two years.
So, despite their stuttering start, Blackburn remain good value at to become the latest side to secure an immediate return to the Championship.
Plymouth still have hope
Of the last 10 clubs to be bottom of the table after 11 games, more than half avoided relegation.
Survival has also been achieved from situations bleaker than the one Plymouth, who have only managed five points, find themselves.
In 2014/15, Crewe finished one place and two points above the bottom four, despite earning just four points from their first 11 matches.
Southampton also managed to finish seventh in 2009/10, having managed just two points at this stage after starting on -10.
The top three in League Two will all finish in the play-offs
In the last 10 years, only 2012/13 title winners Gillingham have bettered league leaders’ Notts County and Exeter’s current haul of 25 points from 11 games.
Third-placed Accrington, meanwhile, have accrued more points than any of the teams that were second or third at this stage.
With just eight of the last 30 sides to occupy a top-three spot at this stage missing out on the play-offs, all three are promotion candidates.
Considering 14 went on to win promotion, the Magpies all look decent value to go up.
And at least one of the bottom three will be relegated
Since the 2007/08 season, only eight sides have accrued five points – the current tally of the bottom three Port Vale, Chesterfield and Forest Green – or fewer by this stage, with half of them going on to be relegated.
Given they are already five points adrift of the rest, their poor starts look ominous.
So backing one of the Valiants to be relegated to the National League is a good idea.