While the fight for Premier League riches dominates the Championship campaign, there’s a huge battle at the foot of the table. Last season finished with a few sides who were lucky to survive, while there are plenty of sides who in trouble this season. When you add in three strong sides coming up from League One you’ve got an exciting relegation battle.
We’ve glanced back over recent Championship seasons and analysed this season’s sides to pick out our relegation predictions.
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Championship Relegation Key Trends and Statistics
The Championship relegation fight is an incredibly tight betting market. Nearly half of the league is currently priced up at 5/1 or shorter for relegation come May.
There are usually a host of contenders, with even relegated Premier League clubs not safe from going down. Terrible decisions from Sunderland saw them go from the Premier League to League One in 15 months. It’s a punishing league, so any mismanaged side can fall into danger.
We saw that happen last season, as Bolton and Ipswich fell apart and dropped into League One. Bolton had major financial issues, while Ipswich made a mess of recruitment and failed to replace Mick McCarthy. Rotherham put up a slightly better fight, but they went straight back down to the third tier. However, the Millers were a rarity in their one-season spell in the second tier.
Part of the reason mismanagement is so costly is the strength of the promoted sides at this level. At least two of the new boys have survived in each of the last five seasons, with just three of the 15 being sent back to the third tier. This isn’t a new trend either, as the last 10 years have seen 24 of the 30 promoted sides beat the drop, while 83% of the promoted teams over the last 20 years have stayed in the Championship.
Click here to see who we’re tipping in our Championship Winners and Promotions Predictions article.
Obviously, that success rate puts pressure onto the sides who narrowly survived last term. With promoted sides staying up, it consistently roots out the poor teams who survived. Over the last 10 years, eight sides who finished in either 20th or 21st the previous season were sent packing. In that time only 20% of all promoted sides went down, while just four teams went from a top-half finish to being relegated the following season.
Over the last 10 years, 60% of the sides relegated from the Championship finished in the bottom half the previous season. That puts nine teams in danger this time around. We’ve looked through the nine bottom-half sides, focusing on clubs who have issues on and off the pitch which make them contenders for the drop. While six seem to have strengthened, that’s left three teams in danger.
Keep up to date with all the latest Championship predictions, news, and betting tips here.
The New Boys
There’s a solid batch of clubs on the way up from League One; Luton, Barnsley and Charlton. All have the ability to establish themselves in the Championship, so this isn’t a case of a minnow bravely fighting against the drop. Many of the recent sides who went straight down looked nailed on for the drop, but this trio are set to put up a fight.
Charlton have major issues off the field, but they have the resources of a Championship club at least. Both Luton and Barnsley recruit well, which gives them the chance to match the recent trend of clubs surviving. We’ve seen all three promoted sides survive in 11 of the last 19 seasons, so 11/10 on this crop to stay up against a weak batch of clubs at the bottom seems like great value.
Hull City to Finish Bottom
Hull are a textbook example of a struggling side. They were tipped up for relegation last term, but Nigel Adkins squeezed all he could out of a limited side. He had them in the playoff picture, while the Tigers outperformed their Expected Points and Goals totals. Despite that, Adkins and Hull parted ways at the end of the season, amid deeper problems at the very top.
Assem Allam is looking to sell up, while the fans aren’t hiding their desperation for a new owner. That tension hasn’t helped Hull, but then again neither has Allam’s stewardship. He’s left them with a patchy squad, while none of their four signings gets the pulse racing. The same goes for manager Grant McCann, who is a risky choice for a difficult job. We think all of that makes them a solid pick for relegation at 5/1 with BetVictor.
Hull are also worth backing to finish bottom. We saw last season how important a solid manager is – as Ipswich dropped from 12th to 24th. Given the tension at the KC, a tough start could easily see them cut adrift. Despite that, they’re 14/1 with BetVictor to finish bottom.
Birmingham City to be Relegated
Under the watchful eye of Garry Monk last term, Birmingham were a side who spent most of the campaign in the playoff mix. While they took a hit last season with a point deduction, things were starting to look up. Monk’s sacking this summer has changed the mood quite a bit. Their failure to replace him is a major issue, as Monk’s assistant Pep Clotet has taken over. His most recent top job was a brief spell at Oxford before being dismissed, where he won just 12 of 36 games.
It’s not just Monk who has departed St Andrew’s this summer. The Blues have also lost last season’s top scorer in Che Adams, who scored over a third of their goals. Jota – their top assist provider – has also gone. With little sign of capable replacements, the Blues are in trouble. They’ve finished 19th, 19th and 17th in their last three campaigns, so a slide this season could easily take them down. They’re a well-priced option in this market at 7/2 with bet365.
Reading to be Relegated
The Royals are our final pick to go down this season. They are usually near the top in the relegation betting, making them the kind of consistent strugglers who are primed for trouble. Their odd third-place finish in 2017 defied the stats and logic, but otherwise, Reading’s last five seasons have brought two 20th place finishes alongside a 17th and a 19th.
They were 20th for the second season in a row last term, something which we know is dangerous for a club. Their squad seems primed for a relegation battle, especially after Jose Gomes lost a string of players in the summer. That’s set them up for another really tough campaign
Another thing going against Reading is their poor striking options. The lowest scorers in the league have been relegated in 11 of the last 14 Championship campaigns. Reading were fifth-lowest last year, ahead of the bottom two and another two sides who have been busy in the window. We think they’re worth backing for the drop at 16/5 with Betfair.
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