Harry Redknapp and QPR spent big last season in an attempt to retain their Premier League status but costly captures such as Loic Remy and Christopher Samba failed to keep the Hoops in the top flight.
Nevertheless, bookies are confident that Redknapp’s troops can negotiate a gruelling 46-match campaign to bounce straight back up so the West London outfit are BetVictor’s 6/1 Championship title favourites.
However, that price looks a touch skinny given their difficulties last term and it remains to be seen how some of their stars – the ones that remain at Loftus Road anyway – will fancy life in the second tier.
Reading (9/1, bwin) were also relegated but the appointment of Nigel Adkins towards the end of last season, when the Royals’ fate was already as good as sealed, was a shrewd move when you consider how he led Southampton to consecutive promotions.
Adkins has shown his ambition over the summer, bringing in the likes of Royston Drenthe, Wayne Bridge and USA international Daniel Williams and there’s a strength in depth at the Madejski Stadium that will serve the team well across a long season.
Moreover, in Adam Le Fondre they have a proven marksman, capable of chipping in with a significant number of goals and that arguably makes Adkins’s troops the best bet in the outright market while Le Fondre is one to consider at 14/1 in Ladbrokes’ top scorer betting.
Bolton ended last season very strongly under Dougie Freedman, just missing out on the play-offs and they should be a contender this time around. Stan James chalk up the Trotters at an enticing 3/1 to gain promotion and of the other runners, Ipswich and Blackburn could be significantly improved this season while Derby have the potential to be a surprise package.
At the other end, it’s hard not to fear for newly promoted Yeovil – 11/10 at Ladbrokes to go down – despite the quality of front man Paddy Madden but at bigger prices, the teams set to be in trouble are Doncaster (5/2, BetVictor) and Blackpool (7/2, Skybet)