Before a ball had been kicked in the Championship last season, Sky Sports ran a season preview looking at the contenders for the Championship title and relegation. Some things they got right: They rightly predicted that Birmingham would struggle, but probably scrape through to safety. They also tipped Middlesbrough and Aston Villa to be in an around the promotion hunt, although, given their spending power, that wasn’t really going out on a limb.
Other things they got wrong: Sunderland and Hull did not challenge. The former especially made the author of the piece look a little foolish. In addition, they mentioned that Wolves might be dark horses for the season. Cardiff were not spoken about at all. It’s safe to say that the predictions were a mixed bag.
Odds released For Next Season
At the time of writing, sports betting site have already released odds for the 2019 season.
Blues have been given around 25/1 odds to win the Championship next season. However it will be a tough league next season with Derby, Villa, and Swansea all in the mix. As it stands, Stoke and West Brom (both 7/1) are the co-favourites to win the title and go straight back to the Premier League.
Birmingham stagnant in bookies’ eyes
What should Blues fans make of those odds? Well, considering they were around 20/1 at the start of last season, it suggests that the bookies think that the club have at best stood still. Yes, there were signs of improvement in the last quarter of the season – but it started with high optimism. Things will depend on the opportunity to revamp the squad over the summer, but the bookies are predicting that we won’t do enough to be considered among the challengers.
Of course, I think most Blues fans would put the goal of promotion over winning the title at the forefront of their wish-list. The odds on the Blues being in the Premiership next season are sitting around 6/1, again putting them behind around half a dozen clubs: Stoke (11/4), West Brom (11/4), Brentford (9/2), Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich (all 11/2). Of 6/1 doesn’t sound bad, but you should know that we are 6/1 to be relegated too! (Remember the odds can change).
Cardiff showed how to beat the bookies last season
So, as per the premise of the piece, what should we as fans take from the early odds? Everything, and nothing. They are in a not too dissimilar position to Cardiff at the start of last season (who were priced at 35/1), so there is certainly hope that Birmingham could surprise the bookies. The thing about early odds is that bookies make a prediction on the prediction itself, i.e. they are laying on odds on the fact that we will not do enough in the transfer window.
For the punter, the skill is to predict whether or not the bookies have it wrong. Will Blues start the season at lower odds than the 25/1 to offered? Certainly, if potential new owners are seen checking out the facilities at Wast Hills Training Ground, (I know – not much hope), a bet may be worthwhile. If not, as a long-suffering Blues fan, you will probably back us anyway!