After a successful midweek excursion into League One, we’re back in the Championship on Saturday for another round of tips. The tightest division in English football is proving to be incredibly competitive once again with just eight points separating the top eight teams.
Brighton remain unbeaten after 17 games, and they remain joint-top with Hull. The Seagulls are making great strides under Chris Hughton, and what might have looked like an early season ‘false’ position, has now turned into a concerted push for promotion. They held Burnley to a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor over the weekend, and face a slightly easier task this weekend when they welcome Birmingham to the AMEX on Saturday afternoon. Burnley meanwhile travel to Cardiff looking to extend their eight-game unbeaten run; and Middlesbrough will also be looking to keep up the pressure on the leaders when they visit Cardiff. Those three tops sides make up our tips for the weekend, with Brighton taking the headlines.
Brighton v Birmingham
Brighton are rated at 4/51.80-1250.80-1.250.80 with Skybet, Bet365 and BetVictor to get the better of Birmingham, which is more than a fair price for a side that has won six of its eight home games.
Bobby Zamora was on the scoresheet inside the first minute against Burnley, but the Clarets quickly fought back and equalised almost immediately through an Andre Gray penalty. We tipped the draw in that match, so it was music to our ears when it remained a stalemate for the rest of the ninety.
Brighton have been superb for the duration of the season, winning nine and drawing eight of their opening 17 games. They’ve already set a club record and with confidence sky high, the squad will be keen to continue the run for as long as possible. They’ve been joined at the summit by Hull – who lead on goal difference – but they’ve successfully come through a period of tough games which included away trips to Sheffield Wednesday, Reading and Burnley. At home its been six wins and two draws from eight fixtures, and they are formidable in front of their own fans.
Birmingham, it must be said, have been one of the better away teams in the division this season, with five wins, two draws, and just one defeat from their eight road games. However, on closer inspection, they’ve been fortunate to play away games at out-of-form sides, getting wins at MK Dons, Bolton, Brentford, and Leeds. They were exposed when they visited a quality side in Hull – going down 2-0 recently – and it will be a tough ask to get anything from this Brighton team.
To add confidence to the cause, Brighton have beaten Birmingham when they visited in each of the last two seasons, and they are arguably in better form than in each of those two campaigns.
Cardiff v Burnley
Burnley also catch our eye at a big price of 13/82.63+1631.631.63-0.61 with BetVictor when they make the trip to Wales to face Cardiff on Saturday afternoon.
The Clarets are on a run of eight without defeat (5 wins, 3 draws), and currently sit in a very promising 5th position, just two points off the leaders. They are one of three clubs on 33 points, along with Middlesbrough and Derby, and every win puts pressure on those above. Away from home its been three wins and three draws from the last six, and they are starting to demonstrate the kind of quality that got them promoted to the Premier League two years ago.
Andre Gray has picked up the goal-scoring mantle that Danny Ings left behind, and he now leads the Championship scoring charts with 11 league goals to his name so far this season.
Cardiff are having an indifferent season, with form fluctuating considerably over the first part of the campaign. They’re ninth at the moment with 25 points, but their last ten record reads 3 wins, 3 defeats, and 4 draws. They’ve lost two of the last three games – away at Derby and Leeds – although home form has actually been quite good, with three wins in five (1 draw, 1 defeat). The loss came at the hands of Hull and with Burnley at a similar level to the Tigers, they will fancy their chances of snatching all three points on Saturday afternoon.
Huddersfield v Middlesbrough
Finally, Middlesbrough look a decent bet away at a struggling Huddersfield at 21/202.05+1051.051.05-0.95 with Coral
Boro are also on 33 points, sitting 3rd in the table on a run of 4 wins in five games. The one defeat was the 3-0 loss to Hull. They haven’t been incredible away from home this year, winning 3, drawing 2, and losing 3 of their 8 away games, but they have faced some tough assignments such as Hull and Reading. However, they are a quality side in good form generally, and it’s worth noting that they’ve kept clean sheets in each of their last three victories.
Huddersfield on the other hand are struggling badly at the moment, and they have already replaced manager Chris Powell with former Borussia Dortmund coach David Wagner. He will try to bring a new style of football to the club, but it will take time to effect changes and they will be given no easy ride by Middlesbrough on Saturday. The Terriers have lost four of the last five games, and currently sit in 17th position with 15 points, only above the relegation zone by virtue of goal difference. They’ve lost the last two at home – to Derby and Leeds – and there is little to be positive about at the moment, with yet another defeat last weekend at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday.
New boss Wagner has gone on record saying that his side will play attacking football, but that could very well play into Boro hands, as they are extremely solid defensively and excellent at fast-paced counter attacking.
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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