The English Football Championship, more commonly known as the Championship, is the second highest division in English football. It is comprised of 24 clubs, all just one step away from making it into the Premier League. It is considered to be the richest non-top-flight football league in the world but revenues are still dwarfed by the Premier League. The top two teams in the league at the end of the season are automatically promoted to the Premier League. Third to sixth then face each other in the play-offs with the Wembley winners being promoted. That play-off final is often referred to as the richest match in the world.
It's a long arduous season with 46 games played and possibly another three in the play-offs, two of which could go into extra-time. The three bottom teams end up being relegated to League One. The fierceness of the league combined with the financial incentive of promotion makes this league a bettor’s delight. Between the quality of the football, the atmosphere in the stands and the passion of the players - what more could you ask for! Throughout the season, our team of betting experts will analyze the forthcoming fixtures and give their well-researched opinions on who are going to be the winners and the losers.
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The three sides relegated from the Premier League last season are all in a good position on December 19. Burnley top the table with a six point lead over Sheffield United as they bid to make an immediate return to the Premier League. Blackburn are in third place, two points behind United. The other two teams relegated from the Premier League last season were Watford and Norwich and they are fourth and fifth in the table.
Winner: Fulham won the title last season and the other automatic promotion spot went to Bournemouth.
Play-offs: Nottingham Forest won the play-offs, beating Huddersfield Town in the final, The two semi-finalists were Sheffield United and Luton Town.
Relegated: Peterborough United, Derby County and Barnsley went down. Derby would have survived but for being deducted six points.
Promoted to the Championship: Wigan Athletic, Rotherham United and Sunderland won promotion to the Championship from League One.
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Odds taken from bet365.co.uk and William Hill.co.uk.