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West Ham Favoured for Instant Return to Premier League


Despite several lower-profile teams kicking off the 2011 Championship season with impressive starts, the betting favourite to win the division appears to be West Ham United – who were relegated from last year's Premier League for the second time in recent memory. The Hammers, who recently sold Zavon Hines to Burnley, are currently sitting in fifth place in the Npower Championship Table.


Southampton are currently topping the table, level on points with Brighton and Derby at a grand total of 9. Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and the aforementioned Hammers make up the rest of the top six. It is certainly early days and it does not appear like the bookmakers expect Palace or Derby to sustain their challenge for an extended period of time.

As it currently stands, punters will find West Ham trading at 5/2 while Leicester and Southampton are the next best-priced contenders at a 6/1 listing. The Foxes, led by Sven Goran Eriksson, are languishing in mid-table holding tight at 17th.

Brighton and Middlesbrough are both available at 9/1 listings while Blackpool command a 14/1 price to win the Championship – you'll find Cardiff priced at the same amount.

There is only one team that is odds-on for outright promotion and that's West Ham at a 5/6 listing. Leicester and Southampton are at 7/4 and 5/2, respectively.

The real test will begin once we start getting into the business end of the League Cup fixtures when Championship sides remaining in the competition find themselves battling on several fronts.

Barnsley, Doncaster and Coventry look to be the best shouts for the drop at the moment with virtually all bookmakers placing them in the bottom slots for promotion.

Leeds United don't look to be taken too seriously this year and you have to wonder whether all of the attention devoted towards Ken Bates' position at the club and the overall directly of the once-Champions League competitors.  

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