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Championship: 4 things we learned from MD1

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The most thrilling, action-packed, value-riddled league is back in full swing and this weekend’s Championship matches did not disappoint.

As is customary in the second tier of English football, we had shocks, spills and a mixture of sublime and forgettable football, with Reading finding themselves on the top of the pile after the first round of fixtures.

Reading to win promotion - 11/1 with Bet365
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Out of the Fire and into the frying pan for Paunovic

Sure, very little can be read into the first few sprouts appearing of a Championship season, but Reading’s new boss Veljko Paunovic will be delighted to get an away win at Pride Park, seeing Lucas Joao score and assist in the latter stages of the first half.

Priced as promotion no-hopers at the start of the season, the Royals have squeezed up to 11/1 with Bet365 to bag a place in next season’s Premier League.

It’s early days, but a lot of pressure has been heaped on the former Chicago Fire boss. The first win is always the hardest as a new manager and the Serbian has hit the ground running.

Reading have now been pushed out to 9/2 by Bet365 to suffer relegation this campaign.

Bees losing their sting?

It was always going to take some adjusting for Thomas Frank and his Brentford outfit at the start of this season.

Not only have they moved stadiums, but the West London side have lost their top goalscorer Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa and will soon be without their creative maestro Said Benrahma.

A 1-0 opening day loss at the hands of Birmingham City is hardly the end of the world for Brentford, but their lack of ingenuity upfront and ability to penetrate the Blues defence may be cause for concern.

Ivan Toney is a fantastic signing from Peterborough and, coupled with limited changes to their impressive defence, you’d expect Brentford to warm up into this season eventually.

We don’t expect their playoff hangover to last too long and BetVictor are offering a fantastic price of 8/1 for Brentford to win this season’s Championship.

They host Huddersfield this weekend and we expect Frank’s side to pick up all three points – currently priced as an 8/13 favourite with Betfred.

Dykes filling Eze-shaped hole at QPR?

Eberechi Eze was a sensation for Queens Park Rangers last season.

The 22-year-old netted 14 Championship goals along with eight assists last campaign, earning a move south on the tube to Selhurst Park.

There were concerns that the attacking midfielder was the key to QPR’s rampant form in front of goal last season but, with new signing Lyndon Dykes scoring on debut, manager Mark Warburton will be breathing a sigh of relief.

The 24-year-old striker works extremely hard on and off the ball and underpinned the R’s performance in a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.

Dykes is a big long-shot at 50/1 with Bet365 to score the most goals in the Championship this season, but considering Warburton’s side will have to outscore their opponents to win matches with a shoddy defence, it’s surely worth a quid!

Wednesday begin their climb – can they avoid relegation?

One win down and three to go for Sheffield Wednesday to eradicate the -12 points that they have been handed at the start of the season.

That will be the thinking from Garry Monk, who is looking to guide his side to safety having started the season as 6/4 candidates for the drop to League One.

Jordan Rhodes bagged his first of the season in a 2-0 away win to Cardiff City, with the 30-year-old looking to roll back the years to his prolific spell with Huddersfield between 2009-12.

Sheffield Wednesday have now been pushed out to 9/4 by 888sport to suffer relegation this season, jostling for position with the likes of Wycombe Wanderers, Rotherham and Luton Town who are also rather unfancied by the bookmakers.

However, if Wednesday can put a run together there is no reason why they can’t escape with ease this season.

They suffered some awful post-lockdown form last campaign with nothing much to play for, but still finished 16th and way clear of the drop.

If you fancy Monk to work miracles this season, BetVictor are offering 5/2 on the Owls to scrape into the top 12.

How to take a punt on these bets for free

Sign up and bet £10 with the folks at 888sport and they’ll kit you out with a tasty £40 bonus package upon the settlement of your initial bets at odds of at least 1/2.

* All betting odds quoted were correct at the time of article publication

Lyndon Dykes top scorer - 50/1 with Bet365
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