English Championship Preview and Betting Tips
Friday 29th September – Sunday 1st October
Match Previews and Betting Tips
A full Championship fixture list in midweek saw Cardiff City emerge as the big winners as a 3-1 victory over Leeds United saw the Welsh club move two points clear at the top of the table. Sheffield United followed up their Derby win against Sheffield Wednesday of the previous Sunday with another victory to move up to second while other title contenders Wolverhampton Wanderers saw their good recent run brought to an end and bottom of the table Bolton Wanderers chalked up an eighth defeat of the season in ten games. This weekend the Championship games are spread over Friday, Saturday and Sunday and any one of four teams could be top of the heap come Monday morning.
Friday 29th September
Queens Park Rangers v Fulham. It seems to be a case of one step forward and one step back for both Queens Park Rangers and Fulham this season as the two mid-table clubs prepare to do battle on Friday night. QPR have a tendency to play well but never seem to end up getting the win they deserve and have now drawn three of the last four matches. It is surely only a matter of time before the team turns draws into wins but it may not be this Friday as opponents Fulham have shown marked signs of improvement in recent weeks. Now up to eleventh spot, Fulham have only won two of their last five games but drawn two more and are now proving a difficult side to beat. Home advantage for QPR hasn’t really done them any favours this season and the bookies clearly fancy a Fulham victory at odds of 6/5 but yet another draw for Rangers looks the safest betting option at 5/2.
Saturday 30th September
Burton Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers. Following three wins and a draw, Wolverhampton Wanderers were moving steadily towards the top of the table before a midweek 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United halted their progress. However, that is an acceptable defeat away from home at now second in the table Sheffield United and next Saturday’s assignment at Burton Albion should provide Wolves with the opportunity to resume winning ways. Two draws and two defeats in the last five matches have seen Burton drop to nineteenth in the table and last Tuesday’s 4-0 home defeat by Aston Villa will hardly have improved the team’s confidence. Although Burton have home advantage it should be a case of another heavy defeat with Wolves a good bet at 8/11 to win with something to spare.
Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers to win
Cardiff City v Derby County. Cardiff City had one of their most difficult assignments of the season last Tuesday night when playing then joint leaders Leeds United and passed the test with flying colours. Admittedly, Leeds were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half-time but Cardiff were already leading 2-0 at that stage and never looked back in a convincing 3-1 victory. Now three points clear of Leeds at the top of the table, that was Cardiff’s second successive victory and that should become three in a row in Saturday’s home game against Derby County. Away team Derby have won just three of nine games this season and none in the last three outings. The last two games saw Derby pick up draws but against bottom five clubs Brentford and Birmingham City. A draw this weekend is the best the Rams can hope for but unlikely to achieve with a home win for Cardiff a banker bet at very nice odds of even money.
Prediction: Cardiff City to win
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield United. Four wins in five games have propelled Sheffield United up to second place and just two points behind leaders Cardiff City. This Saturday, the Blades have an away game with Nottingham Forest but should be more than good enough to record a third successive win against a Forest side that has lost the last three league matches. Forest have dropped to sixteenth place and, on league position and current form, this game should be a one-sided affair with Sheffield United taking maximum points at amazingly big odds of 9/5.
Prediction: Sheffield United to win
Preston North End v Sunderland. To say that Sunderland are having a poor season is a massive understatement. One win in ten games and six defeats sees Sunderland second from bottom of the table and looking like relegation material at this point. Four defeats in the last five games is Sunderland’s record as they prepare for Saturday’s away game with a more than decent Preston North End who have lost on just one occasion this season and sit fifth in the table. Unsurprisingly, Preston are the bookies clear favourites to win but the odds on offer of 5/6 are more than acceptable for what should be a comfortable home victory.
Prediction: Preston North End to win
Aston Villa v Bolton Wanderers. Without a single win in ten attempts, Bolton Wanderers are firmly rooted to the bottom of the Championship table and already looking doomed to League One football next season. That winless record is extremely unlikely to end next Saturday as Bolton travel to face an Aston Villa side that has rapidly improved in recent weeks. Two draws have been followed by three straight wins as the Villa have moved up to eighth place and should easily extend that winning sequence this Saturday but at extremely short odds of just 1/3.
Sunday 1st October
Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United. Despite the midweek defeat at now table-topping Cardiff City, Leeds United have been enjoying the season so far and are still third in the table just three points behind the new leaders. Aiming to bounce straight back, Leeds face a tricky away game on Sunday afternoon at Sheffield Wednesday but can be reasonably confident of victory. Wednesday’s form has dipped recently and last weekend’s home defeat by city rivals United was followed by an embarrassing 1-0 loss against third from Birmingham City in midweek. Home advantage will help Wednesday this Sunday but a third successive defeat looks likely with Leeds a great bet at 21/10 to resume winning ways.
Prediction: Leeds United to win
Hull City v Birmingham City. Hull to win at 10/11
Ipswich Town v Bristol City. Ipswich to win at 21/10
Middlesbrough v Brentford. Middlesbrough to win at 5/6
Millwall v Barnsley. Millwall to win at 8/13
Reading v Norwich City. Draw at 23/10