All eyes will be on the Champions League on Tuesday night, but there is also a full fixture list in England’s second tier to help top up those accas! Many of the opening games in the UCL are highly one-sided affairs and decent odds are hard to come by. Not so in the Championship where there are a good number of competitive games with nice prices on offer for us punters.
At the top end of the table one side that has continued last season’s good work is Leeds, and the Elland Road club find themselves in second place after the first six games. Garry Monk took the Yorkshire side close to the play offs last term, and new boss Thomas Christiansen has carried on with the resurgence. Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing of Burton Albion was their third win in a row and they remain unbeaten in all competitions this season. Harry Redknapp gave six players debuts against Norwich on Saturday, but the 1-0 defeat was their third straight loss. The wily manager is attempting to build a new side at Birmingham, but he is doing so with his team perched just above the relagation zone.
Aston Villa and Middlesbrough have both competed in the Premier League in the last two seasons, and this match can give a good indication of both clubs chances of bouncing back into the top flight. Villa have had a muddling start to the campaign, underlined by a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Brentford over the weekend, and Steve Bruce’s side are closer to the bottom than the top of the table. Boro have fared better so far and are well-positioned for a promotion challenge in 6th place.
The other game that takes the eye is Sheffield Wednesday’s home game to Brentford, with the Owls starting to look a bit more like the side which made the play offs last season. Saturday’s 3-1 win over Forest means they are unbeaten in five since the opening day, while the Bees are yet to win a game so far and remain second from bottom.
Leeds v Birmingham
First up Leeds are a decent price at 4/51.80-1250.80-1.250.80 with BetVictor, Ladbrokes and Coral to continue the good work and take three points from the visiting Birmingham.
The Elland Road outfit have beaten Sunderland, Nottingham Forest and Burton in the last three, as well as thumping Newport 5-1 in the Carabao Cup. They are the Championships joint-top scoring side with 12, and have the joint-best defence having conceded just two goals. At present, with 14 points, they are two behind the early table-toppers Cardiff.
Redknapp is trying to integrate 14 new signings into his Birmingham squad, but building a side from scratch takes time and there is precious little of that in the cut and thrust of the Championship. They’ve lost consecutive games to Burton, Reading and Norwich, scoring just a single goal in the process.
This is one side in form and scoring goals against a team out of form which struggles to hit the target. A home win should be on the agenda for a Leeds side on the up.
Aston Villa v Middlesbrough
Has this game been priced on reputation? Middlesbrough have the more recent top-flight experience and arguably the better squad. A chance is taken that they will beat Villa on their own ground at 21/103.10+2102.102.10-0.48 with Ladbrokes and Coral.
Big things are expected of Garry Monk at Middlesbrough this term and the club have given him the ammunition in terms of budget and players. Britt Assombalonga was on target twice in the 3-0 win at Bolton last time out, in what was Boro’s third win from six this season. It broke a long winless run on the road for the side from the North East, and they have a fair chance of following up away at a vulnerable Villa.
Steve Bruce made some eye-catching signings by bringing in John Terry and Robert Snodgrass, but those two amongst others have not brought about the desired improvement. Villa have only won one game this season, and although unbeaten in three, draws with the likes of Brentford and Bristol City don’t scream promotion material. The Midlands club sit 18th in the table and appear to be struggling for confidence. Villa don’t lose many on home turf but it’s worth taking the chance about Middlesbrough at a big price.
Sheffield Wednesday v Brentford
Another good value bet is Sheffield Wednesday to beat Brentford at 23/202.15+1151.151.15-0.87 with BetVictor.
The Owls lost out in the play offs last season, but aren’t showing too many signs of a hangover at the start of this campaign. They were held to draws at Hillsborough earlier in the season by QPR and Sunderland, but gave the fans something to cheer with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Forest at their famous stadium on Saturday. That win propelled them into the top half of the table, and a repeat of last year’s 4-0 win over Brentford here will push them closer to the top six.
The Bees are having to cope with the loss of some influential players and are yet to get a win this season. Draws against Wolves and Aston Villa have been decent results in the last two games, but don’t bank on a third 0-0 stalemate in a row against a Wednesday side which has found it’s scoring boots.
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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