Middlesbrough finished second in last year's Championship.

Boro to be Premier League’s Top Promoted Team

Middlesbrough finished second in last year's Championship.

The likely fate of the three promoted teams is always a hot topic of conversation leading into an English Premier League season and one thinks that this term’s three-way battle throws up an excellent futures bet at odds against.

Last season’s English Championship title race went down to the wire before Burnley edged out Middlesbrough. Brighton missed out on automatic promotion due to goal difference, with Hull beating Sheffield Wednesday in the final of the play-offs after the Seagulls flopped in the semi-finals.

So it is Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull that will play in this term’s English Premier League, with Boro representing a sound investment at odds of +110  with Betfair and Paddy Power to finish ahead of the Clarets and the Tigers.

Middlesbrough led its English Championship rivals a merry dance for most of last season, topping the ladder at its midway point and occupying first position until drawing each of its final four matches. Middlesbrough gained promotion to the English Premier League without losing any of its last 10 divisional games, overcoming a difficult period in which, from the outside looking in, it appeared that Boro manager Aitor Karanka was on the brink of leaving the Teesiders.

Karanka, who starred for Athletic and Real Madrid during his playing career, has made terrific use of his contacts book to make a series of signings, including goalkeeper Victor Valdes, defenders Antonio Barragan and Bernardo Espinosa, midfielder Marten de Roon and striker Alvaro Negredo.

Middlesbrough’s acquisitions have improved its squad for its first English Premier League campaign after seven terms in England’s second tier and Boro chairman Steve Gibson is one of the most patient in the sport. Gibson will have Karanka’s back even if going gets tough and Middlesbrough finds itself towards the foot of the English Premier League ladder.

One is not so sure that whomever succeeds Steve Bruce as the boss of Hull will enjoy such strong boardroom backing as Karanka will get at Middlesbrough. Hull were the English Premier League relegation favourite even before Bruce quit, saying that he had leave for the sake of the Tigers. One is not Bruce’s biggest fan but, credit where credit is due, he overachieved during his four years in charge of the Tigers and one finds it hard to see them being better off without him. Hull is deservedly odds on to be relegated from the English Premier League and one would be stunned if the Tigers ended the term with more points than Middlesbrough.

Like Bruce, Joey Barton is not everyone’s cup of tea but he was influential in Burnley’s English Championship-winning side, receiving several individual awards and being named in the division’s team of the year. Barton chose not to accept Burnley’s offer of a new deal, preferring to sign a two-year contract at Scottish Premiership team Rangers. Burnley has not been as active in the transfer market as Middlesbrough and the Clarets have lost their star performer in Barton.

Bookmakers will probably trade the highlighted market for the first few months of the English Premier League season and, therefore, it makes sense to go through the early schedules of Middlesbrough, Hull and Burnley. One rates Hull’s English Premier League start as the toughest of the three elevated sides, with not very much to choose between the early programs of Middlesbrough and Burnley.

Backing Middlesbrough on its own at odds of +110  is one’s recommended wager but, with Hull making the market, one could understand backing Boro and saving on Burnley at +250  with Betfred and Totesport. Backing Middlesbrough and saving on Burnley generates odds of -200  about Boro winning the market with a full refund if the Clarets are triumphant.

Tips Summary

Middlesbrough to finish highest of the promoted teams
Premier League 2016/17 season
Odds:  +110

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