With the table starting to take shape now we’re past the halfway mark of the 2023-24 season, the Opta supercomputer has produced the latest Championship predictions for promotion and relegation.

Before any action was under way in the 2023-24 EFL Championship campaign, we analysed 10,000 season simulations via the Opta supercomputer to assess the teams most likely to win promotion, finish in the top six or be relegated to the third tier. We’re now over a third of the way through 2023-24, so after 288 matches of ‘real data’ was fed into the supercomputer, how do the projections look now?

Back on 31 July, the Opta supercomputer tried to predict the seemingly unpredictable, with the 10,000 pre-season simulations showing that only one of the 24 sides never won automatic promotion, while every single team was relegated at least once. Early season results suggested this Championship season could be one of the most unpredictable yet, with Preston North End leading the league at the first international break and Middlesbrough bottom after five games. Then Leicester and Ipswich Town decided enough was enough.

With all teams now 24 matchdays into 2023-24, we have a clearer picture of where each side is at and their chances of success or failure. Here, we run you through the key results of the Opta supercomputer Championship 2023-24 simulations as they stand before the final round of matches in 2023 on 29 December.

Championship Predictions on 27 December

Who Will Be Promoted From the Championship?

Championship Promotion Odds 27 December

Let’s face it. Leicester City are already up. The Opta supercomputer might not be confirming this yet, with the Foxes finishing in the top two places in all but 1.4% of simulations, but you know it, we know it and they know it. Start preparing for life in the Premier League again.

The big question for Leicester now is whether they can reach the 100-point mark in 2023-24. The Opta supercomputer is currently projecting an average points finish of 101.7 across the 10,000 simulations, which would make them the seventh second-tier team to reach the century across the era of three points for a win after Sunderland in 1998-99 (105), Fulham in 2000-01 (101), Reading in 2005-06 (106), Newcastle in 2009-10 (102), Leicester themselves in 2013-14 (102) and Burnley last season (101). Enzo Maresca’s side won the league title across 91.3% of the supercomputer’s latest simulations.

Ipswich drew 1-1 with the league leaders at Portman Road on Boxing Day, which was an impressive result – even more so considering the equaliser came in added time – but it was also the third successive league match they have dropped points in. Kieran McKenna’s side have suffered a bit of a festive blip, with just two points in three games since 16 December, including a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Leeds United at Elland Road on 23 December. Across the current Opta supercomputer projections, they still won automatic promotion 57.7% of the time but Southampton and Leeds are threatening.

Leeds suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Preston on Boxing Day – three days after their demolition of Ipswich looked like starting a comeback hunt for the top two places. They currently finish in the top two in 21.6% of simulations, but this is down from 26.3% when we last looked in mid-November after 16 matchdays.

The big winners across that period have been Southampton, who have jumped from 8.8% to 20.7% for a top-two finish with the Opta supercomputer from Matchday 16 to the current day with 24 games played. Across the last eight matchdays, only Leicester (20) have won more points than Saints (18), with those two the only unbeaten sides in that period. Southampton’s 18-point tally is four more than both Leeds and Ipswich (14).

It’s not ridiculous to suggest these four clubs will end the season in the top four – there is a six-point gap between Leeds in fourth and West Brom in fifth – so another interesting battle looks to be the fight for the final two play-off spots in fifth and sixth place.

West Brom finished inside the top six in 62.8% of the latest simulations by the Opta supercomputer, with Coventry, Sunderland, Hull and Watford the next most likely, but all with under a 26% chance as it stands.

Sunderland were given a 53.0% chance during the November international break, but recent form has seen that drop to 25.6%. They have won 10 points in eight games since then, with three of those coming in the Boxing Day win at Hull. Michael Beale has taken the reigns following the departure of Tony Mowbray, so we await to see the impact of their new head coach.

Who Will Be Relegated From the Championship?

Championship Relegation Odds 27 December

Since we last looked at the Opta supercomputer projections after 16 matches, no team has won as few Championship points as Rotherham (5). As a result, they have moved from third favourites for the drop to League One (74.6%) to outright favourites (93.6%), a change that could have been even more drastic had they not beaten Middlesbrough on Boxing Day.

Sheffield Wednesday have improved under manager Danny Röhl, but that wasn’t difficult, with the Owls winning just three points in 11 games before his appointment. Their 13 points in 13 games under the young German coach is more than QPR (12), Millwall (11), Rotherham (10) and Birmingham City (9) collected between 21 October and now. Wednesday were relegated from the Championship in 91.9% of current simulations.

QPR started the season as favourites for relegation with the Opta supercomputer at 62.0%. That may have increased to 64.5% after 24 matchdays of data to help make a clearer, analytical prediction, but they have at least been overtaken by both Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday. It’s also lower than when we last checked in, on 22 November (83.3%).

They ended last season terribly under Gareth Ainsworth, winning the second-fewest points of any Championship team following his appointment in February. At the time of his sacking on 28 October, they were second from bottom on eight points from 14 games and already six from safety. Things have improved since, with QPR collecting 12 points from 10 games, but just one of those has come in the last four matches and they are currently on a run of three successive defeats with Ipswich Town away next up. To make matters worse, they look like losing influential midfielder Ilias Chair to AFCON with Morocco for much of January.

Plymouth came into 2023-24 as the second favourites for relegation at 33.8%. Four months and 24 games later, they are eight points above the relegation zone and went down in just 4.6% of supercomputer simulations. Losing manager Steven Schumacher to Stoke City might have an impact, however.

Opta-Simulated Championship Table

After simulating the Championship 2023-24 season 10,000 times, we’re able to average the points total of every club across those simulations and therefore rank teams positionally. Here’s the Opta supercomputer results from those simulations on 27 December:

1st: Leicester City – 101.7 average points
2nd: Ipswich Town – 89.4
3rd: Southampton – 84.0
4th: Leeds United – 83.9
5th: West Brom – 73.8
6th: Sunderland – 68.4
7th: Coventry City – 67.9
8th: Middlesbrough – 67.6
9th: Hull City – 67.6
10th: Watford – 66.0
11th: Norwich City – 64.8
12th: Bristol City – 64.6
13th: Preston North End – 62.3
14th: Cardiff City – 62.0
15th: Blackburn Rovers – 60.3
16th: Swansea City – 59.0
17th: Plymouth Argyle – 54.7
18th: Stoke City – 53.2
19th: Millwall – 53.1
20th: Birmingham City – 52.6
21st: Huddersfield Town – 50.3
22nd: Queens Park Rangers – 43.6
23rd: Sheffield Wednesday – 37.7
24th: Rotherham United – 37.2

How Does the Opta Supercomputer Model Work?

• Opta’s League Prediction model estimates the likelihood of teams finishing in each position in the competition. We can therefore see how successful a team’s season is likely to be, whether it’s their relegation or title chances.

• The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) by using betting market odds and Opta Power Rankings. The odds and rankings are based on historical and recent team performances.

• The model considers the strength of opponents by using these match outcome probabilities and simulates the remaining fixtures in the competition thousands of times. By analysing the outcome of each of these simulations, the model can see how often teams finished in each league position to create our final predictions.

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