Given the squad that Steve Bruce has control over, Villa’s promotion odds should be expected to be relatively short. Nonetheless, after an unsatisfying draw against Hull City to open the season on Saturday afternoon, seeing Villa’s current promotion odds is comforting.
While Middlesbrough is promotion’s clearest favorite at only 2/1, Villa and Fulham trail just behind at 9/4 and 5/2, respectively. Villa are 15/2 to win the Championship, behind only Middlesbrough at 13/2. Also at 15/2 are Fulham and Wolves, who hover right next to Villa in most props offered. Villa’s top 6 odds are only 10/11; probably the most reassuring of all of the odds offered on Villa at this moment in time.
Last season Villa had similar odds in August, but this season’s chances for promotion will hopefully last much longer than last year’s, when after Roberto di Matteo’s first few weeks in charge, Villa had already dropped enough points to make promotion difficult. Villa’s began last year with defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, and while Saturday’s draw with Hull City was disappointing, the potential and level of play demonstrated in this year’s opener greatly exceeded last year's. Villa’s opening few matches will be a good barometer for the rest of the season, as matches against Reading, Norwich, and Middlesbrough will set the tone for the rest of the season’s crunch matches. If Villa’s odds remain similar after that stretch of matches, optimism would be well warranted.
Villa’s next Championship fixture comes on Saturday, away to Cardiff City. Villa’s odds are longer than Cardiff’s - 19/10 compared to 6/4, with the draw at 11/5. Villa lost a scrappy match in last year's visit to Cardiff, and a victory away from home would be a good recovery from Saturday’s dropped points.