Ever since 2011, I have published an annual post sharing my predictions for the season handicap betting markets that are available every summer ahead of the new league year kicking off.
The results have not been good, but I still place the bets using the systems just to have something to follow along during the next nine months of football.
As I always do before I get to the spreadsheets' results, I'll explain what I do for the Championship down to League 2 and also a different approach I do with the Premier League.
Picking a Championship, League 1 or League 2 Season Handicap Winner
In the years that I've been doing these bets, I've always used the Racing and Football Outlook newspaper's pre-season guide, which comes out on the Tuesday before the kick off of the new football year.
Once I have a copy of the paper, I go through the writers' predictions for each team and work out how they would finish in a final table.
After doing this, I apply the average points that each position in a table has gotten over the years. For example, the average amount of points that the Championship winning team has accrued over a season is 93.
When this is done, I look through the handicap points that each team has been given by the bookmakers. I add the handicap points to the predicted points from my table to work out how the final handicap tables will look like once the season has been completed.
Picking a Premier League Team
The Racing and Football Outlook's Premier League guide comes out on a Tuesday following the start of the other leagues, so I have been forced to make different approaches over the years.
One was to blindly back the team that finished second in the Championship in the previous season. Most recently, I've ranked teams in the order of how they appear in antepost outright markets and applied the two sets of points that way to work out a winning selection.
League 2 ProjectionsThe newspaper believes that Mansfield will win League 2 and my spreadsheet has projected that Mansfield's four point headstart is enough to top the handicap table.
Here's the the predicted table I have assembled going by the Racing and Football Outlook's predictions:
And here is table with the projected points for each team's finishing position along with the handicap points.
League 1 ProjectionsPortsmouth tops both the RFO's predicted finishing table and also my handicap prediction table as the team's five point head-start added to the estimated finishing points makes it a total of ninety-nine.
Here's how I ranked the league following the predictions of the paper.
Here's the full handicap projections for League 1.
Championship ProjectionsThe Racing and Football Outlook has Preston to finish in third place of the Championship and, as a result, this means that my predicted finish table for the league has the team finishing with a predicted eighty-seven points.
Preston have eighteen points on the handicap, so - added to the projected finishing points - the spreadsheet has them winning the handicap table with 101 points.
Premier League ProjectionsI do not like how the Premier League handicap table has worked out as Newcastle United are top with ninety-three points. Forty-six of those points are from the handicap.
Crystal Palace in second place also doesn't fill me with confidence, but I'd rather take them than Newcastle!
I have placed an each-way Lucky 15 on the following teams.
Premier League: Crystal Palace +45
Championship: Preston +18
League 1: Portsmouth +5
League 2: Newport County +18
As I always state at the close of each one of these posts, this is just for fun to have something to look out for during the season.