On Friday evening, Hull City and Blackpool will meet at the KC Stadium in a match which will raise the curtain on another exciting and unpredictable Championship season.
The odds on the outright market suggest that West Ham and Leicester City should lead the way at the top of the table, although the bookmakers are far less opinionated on the Top Goalscorer market and there are several players who are all at similar odds.
Reading striker Shane Long is favourite with several firms (including bet365 – £200 free bets) and the best odds available on the Irishman landing the Golden Boot is 12/1 with Paddy Power. Long has been the subject of interest from West Ham and a move to Upton Park could see him heavily rotated.
The Hammers still have Carlton Cole (14/1 bet365) and Frederic Piquionne (16/1 Stan James) on their books, while Kevin Nolan should attain double figures and can be backed at odds of 25/1 (Paddy Power – £100 free betting). However, will the goals be spread too evenly for a West Ham player to win?
Despite Leicester having splashed the cash to sign nine players during the summer, it is only David Nugent (18/1 Stan James) that is among the favourites to be Championship Top Goalscorer, although Nicky Maynard (16/1 Paddy Power) remains a target and probably explains his current price.
Meanwhile, there are a couple of Cardiff forwards among the front runners and it will be interesting indeed to see how Robert Earnshaw (18/1 Stan James) and Kenny Miller (16/1 bet365) operate in tandem when the new season starts. New manager Malky Mackay is hoping they get the Bluebirds off to a flying start.
Michael Chopra is one of several players to have left the Cardiff City Stadium in the summer, with the former Newcastle forward looking to make a fresh start with Ipswich Town and he can be backed at 18/1 (Paddy Power).
However, better value can be had from backing Craig Mackail-Smith, a player who scored 35 goals for Peterborough United in League One last season and is hoping to emulate that achievement with Brighton & Hove Albion this season.
Mackail-Smith was the subject of interest from several clubs although the Seagulls seemed to want the Scottish international more than any other outfit and 18/1 (Victor Chandler) seems like an outstanding each-way price based on the fact that several listed players may yet still leave their respective clubs.
This includes DJ Campbell (18/1 Paddy Power) who appears to be nearing a move to QPR from Blackpool, although Marlon King (18/1 Boylesports) could be a lively runner for Birmingham City and the former Watford man hit a purple patch last season for Coventry City.
Southampton’s Rickie Lambert is 33/1 with Stan James to make the step up in class and Scott McDonald of Middlesbrough is on offer at the same price.