Leeds came from behind to beat Burton Albion on Boxing Day to make it four Championship wins in a row. The Whites have forced their way into the play-off reckoning and are our headline tip this weekend to bag another three points away at Birmingham.
The Yorkshire club has been absent from the English top flight for several years now and has only occasionally threatened to earn promotion. However, Leeds are currently 5th and just five points behind Bristol City in second place. They visit a Birmingham side on Saturday which has lost four of the last five games and has only one win in twelve.
Millwall fought back to earn a brave draw against league leaders Wolves on Boxing Day, and the Lions can go one better on Friday night with a win over QPR at the Den. Millwall have been keeping their heads above water this season in the Championship and have rarely been drawn into trouble. Their position in 16th place is largely due to home form, where they have gathered 21 of their 27 points. QPR are two places back in 18th but on the same number of points as their London rivals. However, Rangers have been equally poor on their travels, winning just once in twelve away matches this season.
Our final bet of the weekend in England’s second tier is in the match between Nottingham Forest and Sunderland, where over 2.5 goals is the order of the day. Both sides suffered 3-0 defeats on Boxing Day – Forest lost at home to Sheffield Wednesday, while Sunderland were beaten by the same scoreline away at Sheffield United. Only one of Forest’s last five games has seen less than three goals and Sunderland are desperate enough for points to make this an open game.
Birmingham v Leeds
Leeds are the first bet to get three points at Birmingham at odds of +140 with BetVictor.
The Elland Road club are on a fine run of form which has seen them beat QPR, Norwich, Hull and Burton in succession. They are unbeaten in six games since losing 4-1 at Wolves, and have won the last three away matches on the trot. Rising to 5th in the table, Leeds are well-poised to make a push for promotion and will look to pile further misery on the Championship’s bottom club.
Birmingham lost 2-0 at home to Norwich on Boxing Day – another side completely out-of-form. That made it four defeats in five matches and Blues’ fans have only witnessed two league victories since September. The Midlands club is rock-bottom of the table with just 17 points and faces an uphill struggle for the rest of the season to drag themselves out of the relegation zone. Leeds won 3-1 here back in March in last season’s corresponding fixture and they are strongly fancied to repeat the trick.
Millwall v QPR
Millwall are a tough nut to crack at home and are backed to get the better of weak-travellers QPR at odds of +115 with BetVictor.
The Lions home record in the Championship reads 6-3-3 and they’d be 10th on home results alone. It’s vital that the Den remains a fortress if Millwall are to stay up because they’ve only managed six points on the road from twelve away games. They’ve beaten Middlesbrough and Sheffield United in two of their last three at home prior to the 2-2 draw with Wolves, and that is very good form in the context of this match.
QPR have a similar profile to Millwall, in that they are a better home than away side. Rangers had to wait until the 16th of December for their first away win, at Birmingham, although they followed that up with a creditable 0-0 draw away at Ipswich on Boxing Day. However, they lost the previous three road games at Preston, Derby and Forest without scoring a goal, and they may be up against it in Millwall’s ferocious Den.
Nottingham Forest v Sunderland
Finally, Forest and Sunderland are backed to combine for over 2.5 goals at odds of -111 with 888Sport.
Nottingham Forest have continually featured in high-scoring games, Boxing Day’s 3-0 defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday no exception. Four of their last five games have had three or more hit the back of the net, although three of those have resulted in defeats. The Midlanders will be much more comfortable back on home soil where they have a better record, and they will fancy their chances of getting the better of a Sunderland side which is still in the bottom three.
The Black Cats turnaround under Chris Coleman was short-lived and they were brought back down to earth with a bump after the 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United. They are 22nd with 19 points and deeply embroiled in the fight for survival. The high points of Coleman’s tenure so far have been a 0-0 draw at Wolves and a 1-0 home win over Fulham. Sunderland cannot afford to let too many more points slip away, and that urgency may help to create an open game against a Forest side which loves to attack.
Leeds to beat Birmingham
Saturday 30th December, 15:00 GMT
Millwall to beat QPR
Friday 29th December, 19:45 GMT
Notts Forest v Sunderland
Saturday 30th December, 15:00 GMT
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