The football season is fast approaching and serious soccer spread punters will already have begun to look beyond the big money transfers of the English top-flight to the Coca-Cola Championship, which this year, houses some of the biggest clubs since the League’s inception. After over a decade as dependable mid-table finishers in the Premiership, Middlesbrough drop into the second tier along with their North-East rivals Newcastle. There can only be a handful of St. James’ Park regulars too young to remember the days when the Magpies were challenging Man Utd for the Premiership title, but even for those who are not it must seem like an eternity ago.

The club to join them from last year’s Premier League is West Brom. Punters considering a buy of the Baggies’ season points spread will know that the club have had much more time to adjust to a season in the Championship and had already begun to make preparations back in December, despite aspiring to a brand of football more associated with the Nou Camp than the Hawthorns. It’s no surprise that Sporting Index’s football traders are playing safe and installing these three as favorites to make a swift re-entry to the Premiership, but in the last four years, of twelve teams relegated from the Premier League, only three have gone straight back up. Spread sellers will even hope for a repeat of the 07/08 and 05/06 seasons when not a single team relegated the previous year managed to force their way back onto the top table. Would be buyers of the promotion or Championship index spreads for these teams may opt to reconsider.

Shifting the spread betting focus to the other end of the table, and spread favourites to exit via the Championship trap-door in time for 2010/11 include the League One play-off winners, Scunthorpe, although the automatic qualifiers from that division are considered safer. Leicester blew the rest of their league away last year, and spread bettors who disagree that they are a team belonging of the Championship are few and far between.

Sellers of Peterborough’s relegation index spread may be put off by the fact that they were not even in contention for promotion to the Championship until the late stages of last season. Buyers of their season points however can call on several examples of clubs that have ridden high on confidence immediately after promotion – Reading’s Premier League eighth-place and 55 points in 06/07 caught out Sporting Index’s traders but made several buyers of their outright league spreads very happy indeed. Swansea narrowly missed out on a Championship play-off place last season after winning League One under Roberto Martinez in 07/08.

Spread bettors who like to wager on the individual goalscorer markets are provided with plenty of exciting new talent in the division to make up for the departure of the likes of Sylvain Ebanks-Blake. Despite scoring just eight goals last season, Obafemi Martins will attract buyers of his goal-minutes spreads throughout the year, while others will be more interested in counting on goals from those with something to prove. Buyers of Shane Long’s goal-minutes will know that the Irishman will be keen to impress new Royals boss Brendan Rogers, while punters keeping an eye on Pablo Counago’s individual spreads will be aware he scored in Ipswich’s last two games of the season immediately after Roy Keane’s arrival.

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