After the thrills and spills of the international break, it’s back to the bread and butter of domestic football this weekend. The Skybet Championship is one of the most competitive divisions in English football and there are some huge games in store this weekend, not least the top-of-the-table clash between Brighton and Hull. The early league leaders face off at the AMEX stadium on the South Coast in a match that is too difficult to call. However, there are several other Championship games where a betting angle can be found, and we’re backing Burnley to continue their winning run at home to Sheffield Wednesday, while QPR and Charlton are also worth an interest on a busy Saturday afternoon in the capital.
Burnley v Sheffield Wednesday
Burnley were commended for their style of play in the Premier League last season, with Sean Dyche steadfastly sticking to the formation and tactics that earned his side an unlikely promotion the year before. Ultimately they weren’t quite good enough to stay in the top tier, but this is a well-run club that, Danny Ings apart, has retained the majority of their squad.
Burnley are quoted at +105 with BoyleSports to beat Wednesday, which looks a cracking price for the former Premier League side.
They didn’t have the best start to life back in the Championship, drawing the first two with Leeds and Birmingham, before going down 2-0 at Ipswich. They’ve started to acclimatize in recent weeks though, and have won the last two league encounters, beating Brentford and Bristol City. They’re now 9th in the table but a mere 5 points off the top, and it’s time to start looking upwards for the Lancashire club.
Sheffield Wednesday are a mid-table Championship side at the moment – probably too good to get drawn into a relegation battle, but nothing suggests they will trouble the top six either. They’re 15th in the table with 5 points, having only managed to win one of their five matches so far. That win was on the first day of the season against newly-promoted Bristol City, but they’ve drawn with Leeds and Reading, and lost to Ipswich and Middlesborough since then.
Burnley have won one and drawn one at home so far, and Dyche will be only too aware of how important home form is in this division. Wednesday have historically got a good record at Burnley, but they haven’t won a competitive game on the road since March, and this is a tough assignment.
QPR v Nottingham Forest
Another home side that catch the eye is QPR, who turn out at Loftus Road against Forest with the huge boost of having last season’s top scorer Charlie Austin still at the club.
The Austin transfer saga dragged on the whole summer long, but in the end no Premier League club was prepared to meet QPR’s valuation of the striker, and he remains a Hoops player. That could make a huge difference – both in terms of goals and the psychological boost it will have given the squad – and Rangers look poised to push for a quick return to the Premier League. It was their home form that kept them in with a fighting chance for so long last season, and they can make Loftus Road a fortress again this season. After losing to Charlton and drawing with Cardiff, they’re now on a run of three straight victories, which has seen them dispatch Wolves, Rotherham and Huddersfield.
Forest are still under a transfer embargo, but the sale of Michael Antonio to West Ham, might have given the finances a sufficient boost to have the embargo lifted by the end of the season. They’ve still managed to bring in some quality additions in the loan market, but they will have to make an immediate impact to improve upon Forest’s average start. a 2-1 win over Rotherham has been the highlight, but they’ve drawn games with Charlton and Bolton, and been beaten by Brighton and Cardiff.
QPR have beaten Forest on three of their last five visits to London (the other two were draws), and they are expected to add to that tally this weekend – particularly with the services of Charlie Austin.
Charlton v Rotherham
Finally, Charlton are a decent price to beat the division’s worst team so far in Rotherham, with Skybet offering +105 on a home win.
Charlton weren’t backed by many to have a good season this time around, but they’ve confounded expectations so far, and only suffered their first loss in the last game. They went down 2-1 at Wolves, but prior to that had beaten QPR and Hull and gained creditable draws at Derby and Forest. They sit 8th in the table with 8 points, and are in an early position to challenge for the play-offs. If they have any pretensions of promotion, they need to be winning games like this, and it will probably be one-way traffic for much of the 90 minutes.
Rotherham have had a woeful start to the year, although that shouldn’t be the biggest surprise as they only just survived last season, and don’t really have the financial clout to compete with the big boys of the division. Four defeats in the first five games and one draw has left them rock bottom with a single point, and prompted manager Steve Evans to declare that he doesn’t fear the sack. Indeed, it would seem disproportionate were he to receive his P45 after only five games, but it hardly bodes well for the club to be talking in those terms so early in the season.
Charlton have won their last three at home on the spin, scoring 8 goals and conceding just two. meanwhile Rotherham have managed just one away win in the whole of 2015 (a 2-0 victory at Huddersfield), and the Addicks can pile more pressure on the Yorkshire club on Saturday afternoon.
Burnley to beat Sheffield Wednesday
Saturday 12th September 15:00 GMT
QPR to beat Nottingham Forest
Saturday 12th September 12:30 GMT
Charlton to beat Rotherham
Saturday 12th September 15:00 GMT
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