FOOTBALL LEAGUE fanatic Matt Vale (@MattDVale) highlights his favourite specials for the 2016/17 Championship campaign.
Championship | Specials
If I’d fallen asleep for a couple of years and woke to a second-tier division containing Newcastle, Aston Villa and Burton Albion; I’d have guessed Sky Sports had been put in complete charge of all things football and Tim Lovejoy now decides who plays in which division by collecting 24 golden tickets emblazoned with team names in some kind of Crystal Maze style live television spectacular.
Mind you, I’d then see that Walsall are playing the Premier League champions, Leicester AND Grimsby Town in the group stage of what was the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, and simply shake my head in disbelief that the footballing world has gone mad.
Newcastle are roughly the same price to win the league over 46 games as Accrington are to beat Doncaster at home in just 90 minutes this weekend. I do think they’ll win the title, I just can’t bring myself to back them.
We need another angle and Dwight Gayle springs to mind. It’s easy to forget Gayle has been Crystal Palace’s top scorer in each of the past three seasons.
If Newcastle do win the title, he’ll be pretty damn high in the scoring stakes so I’d be keen to back him as Top Goalscorer at 10/1 (Coral) – go each-way and you'll still have a price as good as the Toon to win the title.
There are bigger prices out there as Gavin Horsfall (@GHorsfall) has pointed out but they'll all do extremely well to top Gayle.
Elsewhere, Nigel Pearson will finally take Derby back up, Huddersfield and Preston will be better than expected and should be followed in the Season Match Bet markets to finish above Wigan and Blackburn respectively at (both 10/11 Bet365).
However, for a more eye-catching price, back Simon Grayson's side to finish as the Top North West Club at 5/2 with Bet365.
Burton will try to survive by being very, very defensive but I still think will ultimately go down and Barnsley will try to survive by being very, very attacking. And finally, Sheffield Wednesday are a very good bet for a Top Six Finish (7/4) but follow them +14 at 18/1 (Boylesports) on the handicap.
Championship – Dwight Gayle to be Top Goalscorer (10/1 each-way Coral)
Championship – Preston to be Top North West Club (5/2 Bet365)
Championship – Sheffield Wednesday +13 handicap (18/1 Boylesports)