The Championship sets sail this Friday when Cardiff, pumped full of Alka-Seltzer and Berocca to combat a Premier League relegation hangover, travel to Blackburn, but if the bwinbetting tipping minds are on the money, neither will be smashing through the ceiling of the second tier this season.
After identifying the likeliest lads in the battle to take the chequered flag, we’ve picked out the three value picks in the promotion mix, starting with a side who begin the season with the scent of champagne still clinging to their kits.
Wolves – 13/2 to be promoted in 2014/15
The back-to-back promotion bandwagon isn’t motoring on at the speed it was a few years back, but it’s not upturned in a ball of flames either.
Norwich skipped from League One to the Premier League in two seasons in 2010/11 and Southampton repeated the trick the next year.
Wolves are of a similar ilk to the pair; a sizeable franchise that used a spell bullying minnows on the third rung to generate confidence and surfed the waves of elation generated by their winning habit all the way into the Premier League.
A lack of significant investment may detract value from their price, but ruling them out is a dangerous move.
Reading – 5/1 to be promoted in 2014/15
Desperately unlucky to miss out on a play-off spot on the final day of the previous season, the Royals will be better prepared to prosper this season.
No side has won the second-tier title more times since its 2004 re-brand, while a squad that’s retained talented individuals such as Alex McCarthy, Jem Karacan and Sean Morrison must be in contention.
Amending their horrendous home form is crucial – they’ve won just one post-January match at the Madejski – but their promotion price remains loaded with value.
Ipswich – 8/1 to be promoted in 2014/15
With a manager as wily as Mick McCarthy at the helm, the Tractor Boys must be taken seriously in the promotion race.
Few were as formidable on their own patch as the East Anglian outfit last time around, while only four sides remaining in the division can boast a stronger defence from the previous campaign.