In the

wake of the fixtures being released, bookmakers have been quick to publish odds for the 2021/22 Championship season – and there is a clear pattern forming.

Following on from the theme of last season, when the teams in receipt of parachute payments dominated the division, the three relegated sides are the shortest priced sides.

Norwich City and Watford ensured quick returns to the top flight, while Bournemouth lost out in the play-offs.

Parachute payments are a hotly debated topic, with the Premier League this season keeping hold of £80m set aside for Norwich and Watford, rather than spreading that wealth across the EFL pyramid.

Worries about the dominance of parachute payments is a topic raised previously by Tony Mowbray, the disparity of the sides with and without them seemingly growing.

A bigger concern is that all three teams coming down from the Premier League have recent form of getting out of the division, Fulham having won the play-offs following a third place finish in 2017/18 and then after finishing fourth in 2019/20. They were also beaten in the play-offs in 2016/17.

West Bromwich Albion were automatically promoted in 2019/20, having been beaten in the play-offs the season before, while Sheffield United finish second in 2018/19 to get themselves promoted.

So it is no surprise to see those sides leading the way when it comes to the bookmakers odds, West Brom and Fulham leading the way at 6/1, with Sheffield United slightly further back at 7/1.

Bournemouth failed to make it a hat-trick of relegated sides to seal a quick return to the Premier League, beaten in the play-offs, but will be in receipt of second year payments.

However, there is plenty of change expected in the managerial hot-seats of the sides expected to be battling it out for promotion. Scott Parker is tipped to leave Fulham for Bournemouth, with West Brom set to appoint Valerien Ismael who enjoyed so much success with Barnsley last season.

Sheffield United will also be under new management after appointing Slavisa Jokanovic.

With so much unknown, it seems the bookies are backing those with proven Championship credentials, not put off by so much uncertainty.

Rovers’ opening day opponents, and last season’s beaten play-off finalists, Swansea City head the next set of sides, priced at 14/1, along with Cardiff City and Stoke City, sides who are dealing with the financial implications of no longer picking up parachute payments.

Nottingham Forest, who made good strides under Chris Hughton in the second half of the season, are 16/1.

Then come Rovers, ninth in the betting, a 20/1 shot to win the league, according to Bet Victor, along with Reading, QPR, and Middlesbrough.

You can also get 11/4 on Rovers to make the top six, or 7/1 for them to be promoted.

Those odds are likely to be reflected by the fact that Adam Armstrong, second top scorer in the Championship last season, is still on the books. You could imagine those odds drifting should the 24-year-old not be a Rovers player come the start of the season.

Barnsley and Preston North End are both 25/1 before a trio of teams, Birmingham City, Bristol City and Millwall, are at 33/1.

Newly-promoted Hull City are alongside Coventry City at 40/1, with Huddersfield Town and Derby County both 50/1.

The other two promoted sides, Peterborough United and Blackpool, come in at 66/1, alongside Luton Town, who despite their top half finish last time out, are unfancied at 66/1.