With 18 games left to go for most teams, predicting how the EFL Championship table will look by the beginning of May is a mug’s game. Football, particularly in the English lower leagues, is notoriously uncertain, and what are now evident facts often become untruths by the final weekend of fixtures.
But it’s these shocks and surprises that make the Championship one of the most-watched in the world with millions of global viewers. Therefore, contemplating how it will end adds excitement and anticipation to proceedings. Plus, with the right experts, the predictions might not be too far off when all is said and done. With that, here are the potential surprises according to the bookies’ odds.
Swansea City to Win the Title
Before Brentford beat Reading and went top of the table, Norwich had been undisputed leaders for 17 weeks. The idea that they might not secure automatic promotion was unthinkable, and now it’s a realistic possibility. Norwich are still second-favourites to quality for the Holy Land at 4/11, whether they finish in the top two or triumph in the playoffs.
However, the EFL Championship betting with Betfair has the Swans at 10/11 for promotion, and 5/1 to win the Championship outright. Brentford and Ivan Toney are on fire, yet a win in Swansea’s game in hand would take them to second, a point below first. And, with the congested fixtures coming up, it’s not inconceivable that the Bees and the Canaries will drop points.
Steve Cooper’s men were 7th after game 15, so it would be a pretty remarkable turnaround in a short space of time.
Relegation for Birmingham
Looking at the current table, it’s almost guaranteed that Birmingham will have to fight for their lives to survive. It’s not beyond them, but the Midlands club will have to buck up fast if they are to avoid dropping into League One.
What makes it worse is that they never suggested they were relegation candidates until recently. They were 18th on game 24, and 17th on tie 20. This doesn’t sound healthy, but there were plenty of rivals around them that appeared as if they were doomed, including Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday. However, The Guardian reported Derby were to appoint Wayne Rooney as their permanent manager and they revived their fortunes, and Sheff Wed are 20th and out of the relegation zone.
According to Betfair, they now even-favourites to go down, above teams such as Sheffield, Rotherham and Coventry.
Top Scorer Toney
Ivan Toney is 1/5 to finish as the league’s top goal scorer. How’s that a surprise? It isn’t now, but it was up until very recently when Blackburn Rovers’ Adam Armstrong was a shoo-in for the award. Not many people thought Toney could fill the boots of Ollie Watkins, not after the £33 million man left for Aston Villa.
Happy to be named POTM. Thankyou to my team mates and the staff on helping me achieve this trophy, also the fans that voted. ❤️⚽️🏆 pic.twitter.com/gllxtaJvF0
— Ivan Toney (@ivantoney24) November 13, 2020
Of course, he has done it and more, notching over 20 goals already and nine assists. There are still plenty of opportunities to bag more, too. Considering the striker came from lowly Peterborough, there wasn’t much hope, which, in hindsight, was incredibly short-sighted!
What have been your shocks of the season so far? What do you think will happen when the table is complete on the 9th of May?