Three more winners in midweek again from our three bets in the Championship – so I hope some of our followers made a decent profit for Christmas! Fulham and Rotherham combined for over 2.5 goals to get things started on Tuesday night, before Derby and Newcastle did the business away from home at QPR and Wigan respectively.
It was a late show from the Rams as Tom Ince’s volley gave them a 1-0 victory, but there were no such worries for Newcastle, who scored once in each half to earn a 2-0 victory that took them back to the top of the table above Brighton. Those two are forging clear in 1st and 2nd, and have opened up a gap of eight points over 3rd placed Reading. However, the race for a top six finish and a place in the play offs is wide open, with just five points separating 3rd to 10th.
Two of our tips concern sides aiming to take part in the end of season showpiece, Norwich and Leeds. The Canaries are live on TV for the second time in a week as they take on Huddersfield at Carrow Road, fresh from the 1-0 win over Villa at the same venue. Alex Neil has been under increasing pressure at the Norfolk club, but three points would take them level with their opponent, who currently occupy 4th position. Meanwhile, Leeds retained 6th place with victory over 3rd placed Reading in midweek, and the Whites look to be an outstanding bet at odds-against to get the better of struggling Brentford at Elland Road.
Norwich v Huddersfield
It’s a must-win game for Norwich on Friday night as they look to draw level with early-season leaders Huddersfield. A price of +102 with Marathonbet about the home win is worth taking.
The Terriers started the season with a great run of form against all expectations, but their form has certainly levelled out over the last ten or so games. It’s been five defeats, two draws and just three wins, although two of those victories have come in the last two against Bristol City and Burton. The quality of that form is open to question – Bristol City have dropped down the league like a stone to sit in 15th after a brilliant start, while Burton are hovering just above the relegation zone in their first Championship season. It would be fair to say that Norwich will provide a much stiffer test of Huddersfield’s credentials.
The Canaries were flying high at the start of the season, but a run of five straight defeats had some fans calling for Alex Neil’s head. They looked to have turned things around in fine fashion with a 5-0 rout of Brentford, but followed that up with a 2-1 reverse at Barnsley. Tuesday’s match against Aston Villa was a Premier League contest last season, and it was Norwich who came out on top, inflicting Steve Bruce’s second defeat since taking over at Villa Park. That compounded the Canaries decent home form, which reads won 8, lost 2 of the last ten.
Huddersfield have lost five of the last eight on the road, with one draw, and a pair of 1-0 wins at Ipswich and Burton. They’ve been beaten 5-0 and 3-0 on their last two visits here, and are expected to go home empty-handed once again.
Leeds v Brentford
Garry Monk has been quietly going about his business at Leeds since taking over, and we’ve highlighted the Whites a couple of times in this column. He has a decent squad of players at his disposal for this level, and has got them playing a good brand of football too. Leeds have won seven of the last ten games overall, and sit 6th in the table as they search for a return to the top flight. Home form has been even more impressive, with six of the last eight in front of their own fans resulting in victory. A 1-1 draw with Wigan and a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle have been the only blots on that record.
Brentford have won the last two games, but like Huddersfield, those were against an out-of-form Bristol City side, and the newly-promoted Burton. The victories were much needed too, as it took the Bees clear of the drop zone, but they are still in the modest position of 14th. Prior to the 1-0 win at Bristol City, they’d lost their previous two road games – 5-0 at Norwich and 3-2 at Blackburn.
Leeds are a very strong side on home turf, they’re in good form, and shouldn’t be odds-against for this match.
Nottingham Forest v Wolves
Regular readers will know that Forest have been a good bet for over 2.5 goals this season, although thankfully we avoided the 1-1 draw with Preston in midweek. They still have the divisions 3rd best attack and 2nd worse defence though, and three of their last four have seen at least three goals.
Wolves are not far behind having scored 26 and conceded 30, and just one win in the last 12 has left them perilously close to the drop zone in 20th. Wanderers’ last three games have all gone over the 2.5 goal line – including a 4-4 draw with Fulham – and four of the last six meetings with Forest would have seen the bet land.
Norwich to beat Huddersfield
Friday 16th December, 19:45 GMT
Leeds to beat Brentford
Saturday 17th December, 15:00 GMT
Nottingham Forest v Wolves – Over 2.5 Goals
Saturday 17th December, 15:00 GMT