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Championship Season Betting Preview: Big spending Leicester favourites for the title

The 2011/12 Championship season is nearly upon us and betting on who will win the league and indeed who will take the three promotion places is hotting up. Big-spending Leicester City have been propelled to the head of the betting as Bet 365 go 4/1 that Sven Goran Eriksson's side win the league, with the likes of West Ham and Nottingham Forest well fancied.

Leicester have spent big during the summer after they finished a respectable tenth last season. The board have backed Eriksson to produce the goods and anything other than promotion would be a major failure as they have brought in David Nugent, Paul Konchesky, Matt Mills, Kasper Schmeichel and Michael Johnson. They are as short as 11/8 to gain promotion.

West Ham are also well fancied to go straight back up to the Premier League after their relegation under Avram Grant last term. Sam Allardyce has since come in to replace the Israeli and he too has been busy in the transfer market - bringing in Kevin Nolan, Matt Taylor and Abdoulaye Faye. The new additions along with the experienced heads of Scott Parker, Robert Green and Carlton Cole make them a tempting bet at an industry best of 9/2 to win the league. They are 6/4 to be promoted and Allardyce has plenty of experience of guiding teams to promotion from his time with Notts County and Bolton.

It is Nottingham Forest who are third favourites to win the league at 12/1 after they appointed Steve McLaren as manager. They failed in the play-offs last term under Billy Davies but have since brought in Andy Reid, George Boateng and Jonathan Greening, and they could be in the mix again as they look to return to the top flight after 12 years away.

Interestingly, Blackpool and Birmingham, both relegated from the Premier League last year, are further back in the betting to go up. Blackpool look the better proposition at 20/1 after they replaced Charlie Adam with Barry Ferguson, and if Ian Holloway can rediscover the same spirit of two years ago they shouldn't be too far away.

Birmingham are far less straightforward as Bet365.com price them 16/1 to win the league, 4/1 to be promoted and 4/1 to be relegated to League One. It shows that no one really knows what to expect from the Blues and Chris Hughton certainly looks to have a tough job on his hands. They have lost fifteen senior players, including Roger Johnson, Ben Foster, Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson, and Scott Dann is expected to follow suit.

They look like a club in turmoil following their owners recent charge for money laundering and the freezing of Carson Yeung's assets, and a bottom half finish wouldn't be a surprise.

Elsewhere, Reading lost out in heart-breaking fashion in the play-off final last year and Brian McDermott's men are 16/1 to win the league and 9/2 to gain promotion this time. While the newly promoted South coast clubs, Southampton (16/1) and Brighton (20/1) could offer interesting punts, particularly the latter after they snapped up Peterborough's 35 goal striker from last season Craig Mackail-Smith.

At the other end of the table, Barnsley and Doncaster are joint favourites to be relegated at 15/8, although Coventry could be worth a look for that honour at 2/1 after their past five seasons yielded finishing positions of 17th, 21st, 17th, 19th and 18th.

Championship Season 2011/12 Tips

Tip #1: West Ham to win the league @ 9/2 with Bet365.com
Tip #2: Blackpool to win the league each-way @ 20/1 with Bet365.com
Tip #3: Coventry to be relegated @ 2/1 with Bet365.com

Championship Season 2011/12 Betting

Championship Winner Betting

4/1 Leicester
9/2 West Ham
12/1 Nottingham Forest
16/1 Middlesbrough
16/1 Birmingham
16/1 Reading
16/1 Southampton
16/1 Ipswich
18/1 BAR

Championship Promotion Betting

11/8 Leicester
6/4 West Ham
7/2 Nottingham Forest
4/1 Birmingham
9/2 Reading
5/1 Middlesbrough
5/1 Southampton
11/2 BAR

Championship Relegation Betting

15/8 Barnsley
15/8 Doncaster
2/1 Coventry
9/4 Peterborough
9/4 Crystal Palace
9/4 Watford
4/1 Birmingham
5/1 BAR

All odds provided by Bet365.com who provide a variety of odds and betting markets for the 2011/12 Championship season.

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