7th May 2017 | Championship

Championship Title Tip 2016-17: Brighton & Hove Albion

They only missed out on automatic promotion on goal difference last term after a strong finish. Hughton will have kept the vibe positive while Murray returns to add goals.

Last season we successfully tipped Burnley to win the Championship title at 14/1 and this time around we’re hoping to repeat the trick at similar odds.

Brighton and Hove Albion were the nearly men of 2015-16 having agonisingly missed out on automatic promotion on goal difference despite racking up 89 points, more than enough in many other years.

The big questions are can they can bounce back from the disappointment and how strong are the opposition?

On the first point the answer should be yes. The Seagulls didn’t really throw anything away at the end of the campaign, indeed nobody finished stronger (W7 D3 L0). Chris Hughton is a wily old campaigner and a better manager than he tends to get credit for; he will have spun the positives over the summer and the seasiders should be ready to go again.

As for rivals, they know they were comfortably better than the rest who were Championship last term which leaves us with those relegated from the Premier League.

Newcastle are the biggest threat as represented by their miniscule odds of 2/1 for the title despite already losing their Friday night opener at Fulham. Keeping Benitez is a major coup but it remains to be seen how he fares in unknown territory. The Magpies’ price fails to account for that uncertainty.

Similarly Aston Villa (12/1) now have Roberto Di Matteo at the helm but how could anyone back a team who won three times last season to top a table of 24 teams this time?

That leaves us with Norwich (8/1) who are the closest fit to the Burnley model having gone up, come back down, yet kept their manager and the team largely settled. The Canaries may go close but the loss of Nathan Redmond and the lack of a prolific striker remain problematic.

In contrast Brighton have brought back former cult hero Glenn Murray on a season’s loan from Bournemouth. The former Palace striker has picked up valuable top flight experience and fired 30 goals at this level in 2012-13.

He might just make the difference and we should back Brighton at 12/1 each-way with Skybet knowing that another top three finish would still pay us out at 1/4 odds.

Odds correct at time of publishing: 07:29 7th May, 2017 but subject to change

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