There’s been no let up in the Championship schedule over Christmas with plenty of sides having played two games in two days over the traditional festive period. One team that has had a suitable breather though is Middlesbrough, whose match at Blackburn on Boxing Day was called off due to a water-logged pitch. That extra rest has given them a distinct advantage over other teams, and they will look to make it pay when second-placed Derby visit the Riverside on Saturday.
We’ve had a great run of results with four correct tips out of four, and one still to ride (at the time of writing) on over 2.5 goals in the Fulham v Rotherham game on Tuesday 29th. We’ll be aiming to continue the winning sequence with three cracking bets for this weekend’s ties. Despite winning their last two home games 4-0, Burnley are still a touch of odds-against for the visit of Ipswich; and meanwhile we’re going to continue following Fulham as a side that consistently produce games with plenty of goals. If you’re wallet has taken a bit of a battering over the Christmas break, it’s time to earn a little back on this weekend’s Championship.
Middlesbrough v Derby
Derby County will be no easy opposition, but with home advantage Middlesbrough are worth siding with at 5/42.25+1251.251.25-0.80 with Ladbrokes, Coral and William Hill
Boro have been incredible defensively recently, and recorded their 7th Championship clean sheet in a row with the 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday on Monday evening. Moreover, they’ve won six of those seven games, and it’s left them two points clear at the top of the table. Saturday’s opponents Derby could leapfrog them with a midweek win away at Leeds, where the Elland Road club’s decision to ban the Sky cameras has dominated the headlines.
Regardless of the result in that game though, this will be a top-of-the-table clash and one which will be fiercely contested. Middlesbrough’s game against Blackburn on Boxing Day gave them an unexpected but welcome extra rest ahead of the game against Sheffield Wednesday, and with Derby playing a full 24 hours later on Tuesday evening, the Smoggies also have an extra day’s preparation for this one. The Rams beat Fulham on Boxing Day, and this match will be their third in seven days, which will test the fitness of their squad.
Derby have got a decent away record – with the only defeat in the last ten coming at Nottingham Forest – but Middlesbrough dispatched previous leaders Brighton 3-0 the last time they met one of the divisions top teams, and they are fancied to do so again here. With extra rest and home advantage, along with that brilliant defensive record, they will be a tough nut to crack for a Derby side who have lost in 8 of the last 9 visits to Boro.
Burnley v Ipswich
Burnley have made us plenty of money this season, as they seem to be constantly underestimated at home, and the 11/102.10+1101.101.10-0.91 on offer with BetVictor, Skybet and Betfair about them beating Ipswich looks well worth a punt.
The Clarets are currently 5th in the table and they’ll be looking for a play-off place at the very least this season. While their away form has been a little bit sketchy, they’ve done little wrong at home by winning 8 of the 12 matches in front of their own fans. The last two have been 4-0 wins over Charlton and Bristol City, with top scorer Andre Gray netting his first ever football league hat-trick in the latter game. Neither of those sides have the same quality as Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich, but nonetheless the home side are worth following on Saturday.
It is true that Ipswich have won their last four away games, and have one of the best away records in the division, but recent results don’t really stand up to scrutiny. Those four wins have come at Fulham, Charlton, MK Dons and Rotherham – four sides in the doldrums. Previous away games had seen them lose at Hull, Reading and Blackburn, and they appear vulnerable against good quality teams. Burnley are certainly one of those at this level, and they’ve beaten the Tractormen on their last three visits here.
Ipswich have worked their way into 6th in the table, just four points behind Burnley, so it will be a well-contested game, but there is still a feeling about the Suffolk side that McCarthy has got them punching above their weight a little. A repeat of last season’s play-off place would be classed as a success, and they are well within touching distance. Whether they can further that ambition with points at Burnley though, is an entirely different matter.
Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday
Our final tip for the weekend is on Over 2.5 goals in the Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday match at 17/201.85-1180.85-1.180.85 with Bet365 and Coral
Wednesday came up against a superbly well-drilled Middlesbrough team on Monday evening, but there was something quite impressive about the way they battled for an equalizer towards the end of the game, and it wouldn’t have been completely undeserved if they’d snatched a point. However, it completed a run of six without a win on the road, and that has been the achilles heel this term. They remain in 7th place though, just a point outside the play-offs and how Fulham would dearly love to swap places.
The Cottagers are 19th in the table and find themselves just three points above the drop zone. They have a game to play at home to Rotherham on Tuesday evening (which we have also marked for over 2.5 goals), but they are 9 games without a win going into that one, so there are no guarantees of a positive result. Fulham’s last five games at home have featured 22 goals, while Wednesday’s last five away’s have rendered 14 goals. Both team’s will fancy their chances of taking three points here, which ought to lead to an open and attacking game.
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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