Championship promotion odds: Who has the easiest fixtures?

Championship promotion odds: Who has the easiest fixtures?

Who has the easiest Championship fixtures during the run-in?

It’s getting to the business end of the 2018/19 Championship season and the race for promotion is hotting up. As many as seven clubs probably still have hopes of automatic promotion, with 12 points currently separating the top seven but with some clubs still having one or two games in hand.

Things look set to go right to the wire as the twists and turns keep on coming which has meant that no club has ran away with it in the way Wolverhampton Wanderers did 12 months ago. But who are the bookmakers tipping to go up? And who has the most attractive set of fixtures between now and the end of the season?

Norwich have the ‘easiest’ fixtures

Statistically it is Norwich City who have the so-called easiest run-in, which will come as music to the ears of Canaries fans. The average rank of the 13 teams they have left to face this season is 15th, with fixtures against Bristol City and Middlesbrough the only ones against current top six outfits.

Daniel Farke’s side currently sit top of the Championship on 63 points, two ahead of Leeds United in third but having played one game more. They also have a lethal goalscorer on their books, with Teemu Pukki now favourite to win the golden boot having netted 22 times this term. Despite currently leading the way and having arguably the kindest run-in of any, they remain second favourites to win the title with Sky Bet offering odds of 2/1. However they are odds-on to be promoted now, with Unibet offering the best price of 5/11 for them to go up.

Norwich City look to have one of the easiest run-in’s on paper.

Leeds United odds for promotion make them favourites

The team favourites to win the Championship is Leeds United, who’s odds are 7/4 to finish first with bet365. Marcelo Bielsa’s men are currently sat in third place but would go top of the table should the win their game in hand over the top two which is perhaps why the bookmakers still have them as favourites to end the campaign top of the pile.

Like Norwich, Leeds’ fixtures do not look as tough on paper as some of their rivals. They face sides ranked with an average position 14.07, but their run of games in the immediate are quite tough with games against both West Brom and Sheffield United – both at home – on the horizon. Bielsa also has plenty of injuries to contend with, the latest being striker Kemar Roofe who will be out for the foreseeable future with knee ligament damage. Bookmakers do seem to think that despite this they will still be promoted come May however.

Sheffield United odds place them third despite tough fixtures

One of the teams with tougher fixtures between now and May are Sheffield United. The Blades are still to face teams with an average Championship position of 13th, which is the second highest average behind Bristol City’s run-in. They still have to play both Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion away from home which could prove to be pivotal fixtures, whilst also taking on Bristol City at home. A Steel City derby against Sheffield Wednesday is also on the horizon, which will also be a tricky game for United.

Chris Wilder’s men currently sit in second place, ahead of Leeds on goal difference but having played a game more after thumping Reading 4-0 recently. The squad depth for Sheffield United could be key, as shown at the weekend as they scored four without their two top goalscorers in Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick. Bookmakers believe they will finish third, with their current odds to win the division being 4/1 with Betfair. They are odds on to go up though despite a tough set of fixtures, with bet365 offering a best price of 8/11.

Gary Madine opened his Sheffield United account with a brace against Reading.

West Brom’s fixtures just as tough

Like Sheffield United, West Brom face a similarly tough fixture list between now and the end of the campaign. The average position of their remaining opponents is 13.07, slightly better than the Blades, but they do face tough games against Leeds, Bristol City, Derby County and Sheffield United themselves. .

The Baggies currently sit in fourth place in the Championship, four points behind the automatic promotion places but having played a game less than both Norwich and Sheffield United. They are currently priced at 8/1 to win the title and 5/4 to be promoted – both with Sky Bet – indicating that the bookmakers think they may just miss out on going up.

Tough run-in sees Bristol City promotion odds high

For Bristol City to even be in the automatic promotion conversation is quite remarkable, considering they were way off the pace a couple of months ago. But Lee Johnson’s side have put together an unbelievable run, winning seven league matches in a row which has seen them storm up the Championship table and into sixth place. They are now 6/1 to be promoted with bet365, which is way shorter than the 28/1 you could get at the turn of the year.

That said, their promotion credentials will be seriously tested in the coming weeks. Statistically it is the Robins who have the hardest run-in of the top seven, with the average position of their remaining opponents being 11th. Indeed they still have to play all six of the other top seven clubs between now an May, with games away from home against Norwich City, Sheffield United and Middlesbrough looking particularly tough.

Lee Johnson has done a brilliant job with Bristol City this season.

Middlesbrough and Derby County’s run-ins are similar

The last two clubs in the promotion hunt are Middlesbrough and Derby County and both have a similar run-in with the average position of their opposition being 14th. Both have a couple of fixtures each against fellow top six outfits, with Boro taking on Norwich and Bristol City whilst Derby face West Brom as well as also taking on the Robins.

Despite their relatively kind run-ins both are considered as outsiders in the promotion chase, with odds of 3/1 for Middlesbrough to be promoted with Sky Bet whilst Derby are way out at 11/2 with bet365. Bookmakers obviously think that they are already too far behind the top two and do not have enough time to make up the ground lost.

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