The Incredible Race for the Championship Play-Offs is Already Like no Other

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Championship Play-Offs Odds

It always takes a bold person to predict the Championship play-offs and this year is certainly set to be a Championship season like no other, as clubs down near the relegation zone are still just eight points off the top six.

Whilst there are clear frontrunners for the league title in Norwich City, Watford and Bournemouth - all of which are after immediate promotion to the Premier League - there is still just nine points between third-placed Reading and Huddersfield Town in 13th.

Here, we take a look at all the Championship play-offs odds, the outsiders, and those running alongside the three relegated Premier League teams from last season, such as Millwall, Bristol City, Blackburn Rovers and others.

Championship Play-Offs Odds

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Blackburn Rovers to finish in the play-offs odds

Blackburn Rovers have had an exciting start to the season and currently sit ninth in the league and are just two points off the play-off places as we approach the busy Christmas period.

Rovers are the top scorers in the league with 29 goals in 15 games, much to the help of former Newcastle striker Adam Armstrong, who is quickly developing into the clinical finisher that we saw glimpses of at Coventry City a few years ago. With 14 goals in as many games, Armstrong will no doubt be the key to success for the Lancashire side, as long as they manage to keep hold of him in January, as Tony Mowbray’s side chase their first play-off finish since relegation from the Premier League in 2011.

Mowbray has also managed to get great performances from the former Germany international Lewis Holtby, the former Tottenham midfielder signed on a free last season, but fans are now seeing the best of him as the playmaker is creating an abundance of chances for Armstrong to pounce on.

Rovers look to be a real contender this season and a couple January signings could be enough to see them finish in the top six, they are 1/1 to do so with Sky Bet.

Championship Play-Offs Odds

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Middlesborough to finish in the play-offs odds

In complete contrast, Middlesbrough are currently tenth in the league due to their strength at the back and inconsistencies in front of goal. In fact, Boro have conceded just nine goals in 15 games this season, with them having the joint best defensive record in the Football League.

Neil Warnock is working his magic once again and has turned Middlesbrough around from relegation concerns to play-off promises, proving that his old school tactics are still as effective in the modern game. When Warnock took over from Jonathan Woodgate last season, the club were looking destined for relegation, but the veteran manger has since steadied the ship and will now have his eyes on the other end of the table.

The 72-year-old's experience could well be integral to the play-off push at the Riverside stadium, emulating his recent success as Cardiff City manager which saw him earn his third promotion to the Premier League in 2018. Warnock now also holds the record for most promotions as a manager, with eight over the course of his career, three of which have come in the last 15 seasons.

The centre back pairing of Dael Fry and former Manchester United defender, Paddy McNair, is as solid as any in the Championship. Combine this with the experienced Johnny Howson and a brilliant goalkeeper in Marcus Bettinelli, and it's easy to see why teams are finding it so difficult to score past the northerners.

A resolute Middlesbrough is as a good as a shout as any to make the play-offs with Warnock at the helm, and they are now priced at 11/8 to place in the top six - click the link to claim this bet.

To Finish in the Championship Play-Offs Odds

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Reading Play-offs odds

New Reading boss Veljko Paunovic came to the league as an unknown manager having managed Chicago Fire in the MLS for four years after previously being the head coach of the Serbian national youth teams.

The 2017 play-off runners-up signed Lucas Joao from Sheffield Wednesday last season and the Portuguese striker has proved to be a threat in front of goal since moving to England.

However, injury concerns have stopped Joao from becoming talked about as one of the best forwards in the league, as he has never played over half of the total minutes in a season but has still managed 44 goals in his five seasons in the Championship. This season looks different, however, with nine goals in 13 games proving Joao can be the man to guide the Royals to the play-off spots and get them back into the Premier League for the first time since 2013.

Signings Josh Laurent and Ovie Ejaria are also proving to be smart business, and a couple more players in January that are of the same ilk could be enough to see Paunovic lead his new team to the play-offs at the first time of asking.

Reading are 6/4 to be in the top six.

The Championship Play-Offs Odds

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Stoke Play-off odds

Stoke's Championship life since being relegated out of the Premier League after 10 seasons has been nothing short of disastrous, with the club fighting to avoid League One more than they have done in fighting for the play-offs.

The Potters have been lacking talent across the pitch, as the 2018/19 top scorer Benik Afobe bagged just nine league goals in their first season back in the second tier, whilst the club's 2019/20 top marksman, Sam Clucas, netted just 11 a year later.

At the same time, Stoke have had seven managers since moving back into the Championship and the club have never looked like returning to the Premier League ever since. Now, however, with their 23 league goals being the fifth-highest in the Championship, Stoke having seemingly got the blueprint right this year with a blend of proven Championship talent and young, promising players with a point to prove.

Championship veteran, Steven Fletcher, has four goals already for his new club, whilst 20-year-old Tyrese Campbell is the club's top scorer this season with six, just as former Premier League start Nick Powell has four.

It's not just Stoke's turn around in talent that's been the difference, however, it's the clubs efforts against those also battling for promotion. The Potters have beaten both Reading and Bristol City already, whilst also losing to Watford by a stoppage-time goal.

Now, Stoke are priced at 11/8 to finish inside the top six.

Bristol City Play-Offs Odds

Bristol City also started the season under new management, but it was familiar face Dean Holden who took the reins. This was criticised by many at first, as it seemed to be a cheap option with many other higher profile names linked with the job. Since his appointment, Holden has proved his doubters wrong and his Bristol City side currently sit fifth in the table after 15 games.

This is all the more impressive when considering that star striker Nahki Wells has only scored five goals so far. Therefore, they are not overly reliant on the Bermudan striker, with goals coming from 11 different players so far showing that the Robins clearly resemble a well-balanced team.

Holden’s lack of experience could prove to be costly at the end of the season, which is why Bristol City are priced at 7/2 to finish in the top six.

By Tom Eaton

The Championship Play-Offs Odds

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