The Skybet Championship is just six games old, but already the table is beginning to take shape. Surprisingly at this stage the league is headed by Brighton and Cardiff – two unfancied sides – but the three relegated teams, Burnley, QPR and Hull are all within touching distance, as are early promotion favourites, Middlesborough.
There’s an almost full fixture list over Tuesday and Wednesday, and Burnley look worth following again on home ground, after Saturday’s convincing 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday. Chris Hughton’s Brighton team have done little wrong this season, winning five out of six to lead the league by four points, and they can keep the momentum going when they welcome the division’s bottom club, Rotherham, to the South coast. Finally, Charlton are worth a second chance despite disappointing at the weekend when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by the same Rotherham side – who are still searching for their first victory of the campaign.
Burnley v MK Dons
We backed Burnley to get the better of Wednesday on Saturday, and they didn’t let us down, cruising to a relatively comfortable 3-1 win. It was their third win in a row and took them into the Championship top six, perfectly poised to push on for promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. Andre Gray, Burnley’s record £9 million signing from Brentford over the summer, scored his first goal for the club in stoppage time after David Jones and Matthew Taylor had given the Clarets a 2-1 lead.
The victory came after wins against Brentford and Bristol City, and Sean Dyche’s men can be backed again at a nice price of 5/61.83-1200.83-1.200.83 with Skybet and BetVictor to get the better of newly-promoted MK Dons.
The Dons are making a decent fist of things at this higher level, and have picked up three points from encounters with Bolton and Rotherham, but it’s been three games now since they’ve got their noses in front. The last two games have seen them go down by the same scoreline of 2-0 to Middlesborough and Birmingham, and Burnley is going to be a tough place to go to this season. MK Dons are currently 15th in the table, and the reality is that if you offered them that position in May they would snap your hand off. Survival will represent a good season in Milton Keynes, but Burnley have much higher aspirations.
Sean Dyche said after the game that his side hadn’t played particularly well, but praised the impact that Andre Gray had on the game. It’s ominous when a team wins 3-1 without playing to their best, and MK Dons will struggle to come away with anything on Tuesday night.
Brighton v Rotherham
Chris Hughton has admitted even he is surprised by Brighton’s immaculate start to the season, which has seen them take 16 points from a possible 18. The Seagull’s boss said that he had aimed to be in a position to challenge for promotion but ‘couldn’t have envisaged’ such an outstanding start. Brighton have beaten Nottingham Forest, Blackburn, Fulham, Ipswich and Hull, with the only blot on their copybook a 1-1 draw with Huddersfield.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Hull was a notable result as the former Premier League side had started to get their act together under Steve Bruce, but Tomer Hemed’s goal after five minutes was enough to separate the teams. The day was made even better for Brighton fans, as returning club legend, Bobby Zamora, also made his first appearance for the club as a late substitute as he continues to recover from injury.
A price of 3/41.75-1330.75-1.330.75 for a home win over Rotherham with Skybet, Bet365 and Paddy Power is well worth taking.
Rotherham are rock-bottom of the table, with just two points from six games, and another relegation battle awaits the Millers. They’ve only managed to gain points from a 0-0 draw with Preston and a 1-1 draw with Charlton and the sooner they get the first win on the board the better. However, there are no easy games in the Championship, and although the draw away at Charlton last week was a positive result they were a tad fortunate, and a long trip down South to the league leaders is probably the last thing they would have wanted at this stage.
Charlton v Huddersfield
Charlton will rue the missed chances against Rotherham where they had 21 shots on target, but only managed the single goal. Boss Guy Luzon insists they should have won the game, and they will be looking to atone for their errors with another home game against a relegation-threatened Huddersfield side.
The price of 7/52.40+1401.401.40-0.71 with BetVictor and William Hill on Charlton coming out on top is just tempting enough to get involved.
The Addicks have won three of the last four at home, while Huddersfield have lost five of their last six on the road. The Terriers are one place and one point above Rotherham, sitting in 23rd with three points. They are yet to win a game this season, having gained their three draws against Blackburn, Brighton and Fulham, but they’ve also been soundly beaten by Hull, QPR and Cardiff. Goals appear to be the big problem for Huddersfield with just three in the ‘goals for’ column, giving them the joint-worst scoring record in the division along with Bolton and Preston.
Charlton have been relatively consistent, with their only defeat coming away at Wolves. They’ve taken three points from QPR and Hull, as well as a point each from Derby, Forest and Rotherham. They dominated the ball against Rotherham, and with 21 shots on goal, they really ought to have found a winner. If they can get their shooting boots back on they should win, and they’re worth backing at a big price to do so.
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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