We are not even halfway through the season yet and Wolverhampton Wanderers are already as low as 1/7 with some bookmakers to win the Championship.
They have been playing some sensational football after completely overhauling the starting 11 in the summer and have a four-point lead over Cardiff at the top of the table. They have scored by far the most goals in the division and have been blowing teams away with attacking, free-flowing football. They look set to be playing Premiership football next season, but there is great value available on them in the Championship.
For example, you can get 23/20 with Bet Victor, Bet Stars, Sun Bets and Betway to win away at struggling Sheffield Wednesday on Friday and that looks an amazing price.
Sheff Wed are in absolutely dreadful form and lost 3-1 to Norwich last weekend. The Canaries went into the game having taken just two points from their last seven games, but they destroyed Wednesday. The Owls have not won since November 4 and have slipped down to 15th in the table, 21 points below Wolves, and they are bereft of confidence at present. Wolves should be able to march into Hillsborough and beat them comfortably.
Wolves finished 15th last season, seven points above the relegation zone, and very nearly went down, so how did they improve so drastically in the summer? Well, first off they received a generous financial injection from rich Chinese owners Fuson, and that helps. They signed Ruben Neves from Porto in a £16 million deal and that sort of money goes a long way in the Championship. They brought in former Valencia and Porto boss Nuno Espírito Santo, and he has great pedigree. The new boss has given the team a distinctly Iberian influence as many of the players hail from his part of the world.
It is unusual for a Championship team to have so many foreign imports, and that has seen Wolves play the sort of football rarely seen in this division. They have been dubbed the Black Country Barcelona as they play tiki taka, pass and move, freeflowing exciting football, and that has seen them tear through opposition with gleeful abandon.
Sheffield Wednesday’s manager, Carlos Carvalhal, is also Portuguese, and he admires the work Santo has done at Wolves. “We play against the best team I’ve seen in the Championship in two and a half seasons,” he said ahead of the Friday night game. “Not just because they have individuals, but because they have quality. Individually they have very good players and also they have good organisation, which makes them the best team I’ve seen.”
There is a bit of rugged British influence in the team, too, in the form of John Ruddy, Ryan Bennett, Barry Douglas and Danny Batth, and that should help see them through the winter months. But the Portuguese core – Neves, Diogo Jota, Ivan Cavaleiro, Roderick Miranda, Ruben Vinagre and Helder Costa – along with Brazilian top scorer Leo Bonatini is what makes them so exciting in this division. Neves has been the player of the season by a country mile, while Bonatini should go on to win the Golden Boot.
They have won 15 out of 21 games so far this season and pundits are starting to question whether they are better than the famous Reading team that broke records in 2005/06 and the Newcastle team that romped to victory under Chris Hughton in 2009/10. If they keep up their sensational form, they can certainly be mentioned in the same breath as those Championship greats.
Come May, you would expect a Championship team of the season to be dominated by Wolves players, and they can take another stride to the Premiership by beating Sheffield Wednesday on Friday. Promotion to the top flight is worth £185 million to Championship teams nowadays and you can expect more heavy spending from Wolves if and when they make it, so they seem to be on the brink of the big time. But for now, they offer excellent value in the Championship.