With 20 teams officially confirmed for next season's Championship and Derby almost certain to make it 21, the bookmakers have taken an early stab at who they fancy to go up and down next season. The additions of the League One play-off winner plus two from Hull, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday will obviously impact things as will a whole heap of transfer business but if you want to get in there early, here's what SkyBet make of it.
To Be Promoted
Not many surprises among the leading contenders here, where you'd expect the three remaining play-off teams to also slot in, likely behind the three relegated sides. Newcastle's strong odds are unsurprising, especially with news that Rafa Benitez is going to hang around. They're arguably in better shape this time than relegation in 2009 which then saw them win the title with ease.
From Reading's perspective, 8/1 seems about fair although I'd expect that to maybe drift to 10's territory as the other teams are confirmed. For comparison, last year you could have got 12/1 on us going up and before the 13/14 campaign we were 3/1 second favourites. There are currently 11 teams with better odds than us, with Reading joined at 7's alongside Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol City. There's then a clutch of teams on 8/1 but the only teams ranked as outsiders are currently Rotherham and Burton at 16/1.
If you fancy a play-off tilt, you can also get 100/30 on Reading to end the campaign in the top six. While if you think we're going to win it all, 25/1 are the odds offered right now.
To Be Relegated
Here's where the market is a little bit more defined and despite not tipping us to go up, the bookmakers are also pretty sure we're not going down. Despite being the same odds as Blackburn to go up, we're rated half as likely to go down as the Lancashire side. Reading have odds of 10/1 to go down, with QPR 8/1 and Cardiff 7/1 more fancied than us and only the relegated trio plus Brighton and Brighton better priced right now....
Yeah me too.
Looking at it logically, from an outside perspective the bookies seem to see us as a stable but unspectacular Championship side. Most of the teams tipped ahead of us for relegation have either been in recent relegation campaigns, have dodgy finances or have spent time in League One recently.
Here's the thing though... I actually think there's value in betting that Reading go down. I'm not saying it's going to happen but given the murmurs about the ownership, a huge overhaul of the squad and four years of decline, I don't see how Reading are in a better position than Cardiff (7/1), Wolves (9/2) or Brentford (11/2). With that being said, Reading were 12/1 to go down before the start of last season and never really looked in any serious bother.
As mentioned, these odds are going to fluctuate wildly over the next few weeks but early odds to sometimes throw up the odd good price to hop on.
So what do you reckon? Where would you put your last pound right now? Oh and please remember folks #gambleaware