2020/21 Championship preview: Best bets for outright markets
We assess the best picks for the 2020/21 Championship title, relegation and more ahead of Friday night's big kick-off.
Our football tips for the new Championship season cover a winner, top goalscorer and plenty else.
Norwich to win the title
If a relegated team is ever not going to suffer from a Premier League hangover, it is Norwich.
The club appeared to be planning for their return to the Championship before a ball was even kicked in the Premier League last season, acknowledging their return to the second tier as part of the wider plan.
The Canaries have completed all of their transfer business – incomings, at least – much earlier in the window than their rivals. Centre-back Ben Gibson appears to be the headline of 11 additions.
With Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey, Todd Cantwell, Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki all still on their books, there appears to be little preventing a familiar Norwich team from winning their second Championship title in three years.
Brentford to win promotion
Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma are set to become Brentford’s latest high-profile departures, but there needn’t be any concerns that the club will have a succession plan sorted.
League One’s top goalscorer Ivan Toney has already arrived for £10m, and will fit seamlessly into the side as Watkins departs, while Joel Valencia and Tarique Fosu will be competing with more new signings to replace Benrahma.
The only concern is that Brentford have been tipped for promotion in several successive summers and never yet managed it. Last season, they failed to pick up the necessary two points from their last two games, before losing to Fulham in the play-off final.
But a club that allows data and a rational approach to guide them will know that they simply cannot keep knocking on the door of promotion without soon succeeding.
Millwall to finish in the top six
Millwall have been on an upward curve since being relegated from the Championship to League One in 2015.
The Lions bounced back to the second tier two years later, and have since registered two eighth-place finishes at this level, including having a good go at the play-off positions last term.
While there were some signs of a plateau under Neil Harris at the beginning of last season, replacing him with Gary Rowett has given the club a shot in the arm.
Rowett encourages a traditional Millwall style of play but with a little more sophistication. With Ryan Woods, Jed Wallace and Troy Parrott creating and scoring, a formidable home record and an experienced manager, they are a nice bet to continue their positive trajectory and finish inside the top six.
Sheffield Wednesday to be relegated
Sheffield Wednesday would have been among the contenders for relegation this season in normal circumstances, let alone now that they start the campaign on -12 points.
Had Garry Monk’s side been burdened with the same deficit last season, they would have been relegated.
The Owls don’t score enough goals to get themselves out of trouble. They managed just five in their last 11 league games at Hillsborough last season and could only manage a 0-0 draw with Walsall in their first game of the season in the Carabao Cup.
Losing Atdhe Nuhiu, Steven Fletcher and Fernando Forestieri is unlikely to help them in that regard.
Ivan Toney to be top goalscorer
Cauley Woodrow (e/w) to be top goalscorer
It would be a massive surprise if Toney is not a hit at Brentford.
The Bees rarely get it wrong when recruiting players of any value, so are almost certain not to have miscalculated when it comes to a £10m addition.
Toney was by far the best player in League One last season, scoring 24 goals at a rate of 0.76 per 90 minutes. Spearheading an attacking team like Brentford, he should post similar numbers to the Championship’s joint-top-scorer Ollie Watkins in the 2019/20 campaign – 26 goals in 49 games.
Woodrow also looks a nice bet to continue his good form for Barnsley. The former Fulham striker netted 14 goals last season, and Barnsley are likely to be a surprise package under Gerhard Struber.
#BetYourWay: Brentford to be promoted, Sheffield Wednesday to be relegated, Ivan Toney to be top goalscorer
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