Reading won at very nice odds for us in the Championship last week, and the Royals feature among our bets this weekend. Leeds made it a nice double by beating Rotherham in the Yorkshire derby, but Newcastle let the side down with an uncharacteristic 1-0 home defeat to Blackburn.
Rafa Bentitez opted to rest six players in that match ahead of the EFL Cup tie with Hull, but he may now regret the decision after they were dumped out on penalties against the ten-man Tigers. What’s worse is that there is little recovery time after that grueling 120 minutes, because the Magpies are back in action on Friday night away at Nottingham Forest.
We’ve highlighted the case for backing teams with new managers recently, and Derby have been on fire under the returning Steve McClaren in recent fixtures. They travel to another side with a new gaffer in Wigan, who secured a first win under Warren Joyce by beating Huddersfield on the road last Monday. We’re siding with the Rams for this one though, who are surging up the table into promotion contention.
Reading are another club on a winning run – five games to be exact – which has propelled them up the table, and they make the short trip to West London to face Fulham. Another victory may well be on the cards, but the Cottagers can be a tough nut to crack on home soil and the smarter play might be to back goals.
Nottingham Forest v Newcastle
It’s back to a regular bet for this season, with over 2.5 goals in a Nottingham Forest game. Take the -120 on offer with 188Bet about the Friday night match with Newcastle featuring at least three goals.
Forest combined with Barnsley to produce a seven-goal thriller last Friday night, beating the Tykes 5-2 as Henri Lansbury helped himself to a hat-trick. That continued a regular theme of Forest games beating the over 2.5 goal line, and we expect more of the same against Newcastle. Although a lowly 17th in the league, Notts Forest are the division’s second highest scorers with 32 goals. The Championship’s top scorers? Newcastle with 36. The clear difference between the sides is the goals against column – Nottingham have let as many as they have scored, but the Magpies have conceded just 14 times all season. eight of the last ten home games have had at least three goals for Forest, and the other two finished 1-1.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez will be looking for a reaction from his squad after they suffered two defeats in a week. Taking Hull all the way to penalties away from home isn’t necessarily a bad result, but the 1-0 home loss to Blackburn last week most certainly is. However, they’d won 8 on the spin before Blackburn and are still two points clear at the top of the league. It’s tough that this match comes so soon after Tuesday’s 120 minutes at Hull, so any enthusiasm for backing Newcastle to win is tempered, but there ought to be goals aplenty.
Wigan v Derby
Steve McClaren is much maligned among Newcastle and England fans, but he was (relatively) successful at Derby prior to the ill-fated switch to the Magpies. His return to the Rams has coincided with an upturn in form that has seen them win the last four games on the bounce. The run has taken them up to 9th in the table, just three points outside the play off zone, and it looks like a promotion challenge is on the cards.
Wigan sacked Gary Caldwell in October with the club deep in the relegation zone, and replaced him with Manchester United Under-21 coach, Warren Joyce. His tenure couldn’t have got off to a worse start, as he saw his side concede twice in the opening five minutes in a 3-0 home defeat to Reading. However, he earned his first point with a 0-0 away draw at Barnsley, and followed that with his first victory last week at Huddersfield. Wigan remain in the relegation zone and it’s shaping up to be a battle for survival this season.
That win will have instilled some confidence, but the Latics still look vulnerable and a 2-3-3 home record means that Derby have little to fear. The Rams have won on their last two Championship visits here (2013 and 2015), and have enough quality to come away with three points again.
Fulham v Reading
Finally, it’s another over 2.5 goal bet in the match between Fulham and Reading at -108 with Marathonbet.
The Royals came good last week, beating Bristol City 2-1, and Jap Staam’s side have risen to third in the table off the back of a five-game winning run. The temptation is to back them again when they visit an inconsistent Fulham side, but the Cottagers aren’t too far behind in 10th place, and they’re unbeaten in three at home against some good sides.
Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield have all failed to take three points at Craven Cottage – the former two teams held to draws, and the latter thumped 5-0. Four points outside the play off places, Fulham are still in contention given a good run, and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Reading’s recent turnaround has seen them bag 15 points from five, with eleven goals scored and just one conceded. However, the opposition were Rotherham, Nottingham Forest, Wigan, Burton and Bristol City. That’s four of the Championship’s bottom eight, plus an out-of-form Robins side which is dropping down the league like a stone.
Each of the last six meetings between these sides has exceeded the 2.5 goal line, and we’ll take them to share another open game on Saturday.
Nottingham Forest v Newcastle – Over 2.5 Goals
Friday 2nd December, 19:45 GMT
Derby to beat Wigan
Saturday 3rd December, 15:00 GMT
Fulham v Reading – Over 2.5 Goals
Saturday 3rd December, 15:00 GMT