It was another profitable round of Championship fixtures in midweek as Huddersfield landed the odds by beating Villa, and Leeds secured a point at Fulham. Sheffield Wednesday let the side down as Burton ground out a draw at Hillsborough, but both Leeds and Huddersfield feature in the weekend preview as we aim for three out of three.
The headline pick this week is Cardiff, who entertain a lacklustre Birmingham side which has won just two of fifteen games since Gianfranco Zola took over as manager. Incredibly the Blues, who spent much of the season in the top half, are now just eight points above the drop zone in 17th place. Cardiff – second bottom when Neil Warnock took over – have gone in the opposite direction, and a win here would send the Bluebirds soaring into the top 12.
Newcastle’s back-to-back wins against Brighton and Huddersfield have helped the Magpies into a three point lead at the top of the table ahead of the Seagulls, and a further six ahead of the Terriers. Huddersfield do have a game in hand on their rivals though, and won’t have given up on breaking into the top two just yet. Saturday’s game at Brentford is a tough one against an in-form side, and goals could be on the menu.
Leeds are only three points behind the Terriers in fourth at present, and the Whites look nailed on for a play off place. A home win over QPR will further that cause, and Garry Monk’s men are taken to continue the good home form which has seen them win eight of the last nine at Elland Road.
Cardiff v Birmingham
Cardiff are a decent price at 17/201.85-1180.85-1.180.85 with BetVictor and William Hill to take advantage of Birmingham’s woeful run.
The Blues from the Midlands have certainly had the blues since the inexplicable sacking of Gary Rowett. It’s been just two wins in Zola’s fifteen games, and the 1-0 home defeat to Wigan in midweek was their 7th loss in nine games. The popular Italian player is not proving so popular as a manager, and he warned that his side are in danger of being dragged into a relegation battle. It’s been a dramatic fall from grace – Birmingham were level on points with 6th placed Sheffield Wednesday when Rowett was given his marching orders, they now sit 17th and just 8 points clear of the drop zone.
Cardiff were deep in the relegation mire when Neil Warnock took over, but the canny boss has overseen a similarly dramatic change in fortunes. Results have been up and down, but the Bluebirds are now 13th in the Championship table. Recent draws with Fulham and Blackburn and a 2-1 defeat at QPR means it’s now three without a win, so a return to home comforts against an out-of-form side is a great opportunity to get back to winning ways. They’ve beaten Rotherham, Preston and Burton without conceding in recent home games, and Birmingham might well go the same way.
Brentford v Huddersfield
Odds of 23/251.92-1090.92-1.090.92 with Marathonbet about over 2.5 goals appeal when Brentford welcome Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon.
The Bees have found some form in the last few weeks, beating Sheffield Wednesday, Forest and Rotherham, and taking a point from draw specialists Ipswich. What’s most notable is their tendency to score and concede week in week out, with 12 of their last 13 games going over the 2.5 goal line.
Huddersfield are still enjoying one of their finest seasons, and dreams of playing in the Premier League are not too distant. An eleven point lead over Fulham in 7th means a play off place is all but guaranteed bar and end of season capitulation, but only victories will help them overthrow the top two. Four of the Terriers last five away games have seen three or more goals, and all of the last eight meetings between these two teams would have seen the bet win.
Leeds v QPR
Finally, Leeds are worth backing at a touch of odds-against to beat QPR at Elland Road. The best price is 21/202.05+1051.051.05-0.95 with BetVictor.
The Whites are 4th in the table and could still challenge for automatic promotion with a sustained run of wins. A more realistic proposition is to maintain the play off place, and with just ten games to go, Leeds look well poised to take on of the four slots. They were 1-0 up away at Fulham on Tuesday night before the Cottagers snatched a 95th minute equaliser, but remain unbeaten in five matches. At home it’s been 8 wins in the last 9 games with 7 clean sheets to boot.
QPR are having a mini-revival with four wins in the last five games, but three of those have been at home and the other was away at a poor Birmingham side. The home wins were against Cardiff, Barnsley and Wigan, and while they come here in good heart, Leeds are a very strong team on home soil. Rangers lost at Preston and Blackburn on their last two trips to the North West, and may go home without a point again.
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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