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Newcastle Can Extend Lead at Top of Championship
Eric Roberts 2017-02-24 in Football Tips
The Championship has been a happy hunting ground for SBO over the last few weeks, and there are some very good odds on offer this weekend. Newcastle haven’t quite been a standing dish this season, but they’ve returned a profit more often than not, and find themselves at the top of the pile again after a 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
The Magpies are on home soil again this Saturday against a Bristol City side which has been on a woeful run of form. The Robins are now teetering on the brink of the relegation zone, but went down with a whimper in their latest 0-2 home defeat to Fulham. Brentford put the mockers on our midweek bet on Sheffield Wednesday by beating the Owls 2-1 at Hillsborough, but rather than be bitter we can take the opportunity to recoup losses when the Bees host Rotherham on Saturday afternoon. The Millers are nailed on to be relegated and their latest 5-0 defeat at Cardiff has left them 15 points adrift of safety.
Finally the bookies are taking a chance on over 2.5 goals when Wigan and Nottingham Forest meet in a relegation six-pointer. Forest have been one of the division’s highest scoring and conceding sides all season, and while Wigan have been more conservative, the Latics have had to come out of their shell as they chase survival. Odds-against about the pair combining for three or more goals seems very generous in the circumstances.
Newcastle v Bristol City
The more reserved punters among you can back Newcastle and Brentford at odds of around 1/21.50-2000.50-2.000.50 for the straight win, but backing both to beat a -1.5 Asian Handicap is much more appealing. The Magpies are 7/52.40+1401.401.40-0.71 with BetVictor to beat Bristol City by two goals at St James Park.
Newcastle have only lost once in the last ten matches, winning six and drawing three. Their recent home record includes six victories in the last eight, with only Sheffield Wednesday and QPR escaping with something from their visits to the North East. Five of those six home wins have been by two or more goals – the victims Forest, Birmingham (twice), Rotherham and Aston Villa. Now top of the table with 69 points, Rafa Benitez will see this as the perfect opportunity to maintain a one point lead over Brighton in 2nd, and a five points lead over Huddersfield in third.
For Bristol City the early season highs have long since faded, and they have dropped like the proverbial stone down the league table. The Robins are 21st on the ladder, and just two points clear of the bottom three. The poor form extends as far back as mid-October, with City winning just four times in 25 matches since then. The last two matches have ended in defeat away at Leeds and at home to Fulham, and overall they’ve lost ten of the last thirteen on the road.
Brentford v Rotherham
Brentford are also attractively priced to beat a -1.5 handicap when they welcome Rotherham to the capital. Odds of 69/502.38+1381.381.38-0.72 with 32Red are worth taking.
The Bees are in that awkward mid-table position where they are unlikely to trouble the top six or the bottom three, and that can often lead to a drop off in performance. However, Brentford had been playing well in defeat prior to Tuesday’s surprise win at Wednesday, and they can take confidence into this match. One thing that they do have in their favour here is goals – The Bees have scored 12 in their last five matches, despite selling top scorer Scott Hogan in the January transfer window. The last two home matches have resulted in a 3-0 win against Villa, and a 3-3 draw with Brighton.
Rotherham were thumped 5-0 by Cardiff last weekend, their ninth away defeat in a row. They’ve lost five of those by a two-goal margin or more, and have failed to find the net in seven of the nine games. With 30 goals for and 73 against, Rotherham are the division’s lowest scoring and highest conceding team.
Wigan v Nottingham Forest
Finally odds of 131/1002.31+1311.311.31-0.76 with 188Bet about Wigan and Forest combining for three goals appear to be on the generous side.
Forest have regularly competed in high-scoring games this season – there have been 17 in their last four games, at an average of more than four per game. The last three of those have ended in defeats at good sides in Sheffield Wednesday, Fulham and Norwich, but this is a true relegation six-pointer as both sides look to avoid the drop.
The Midlands club are 18th in the table, but only six points above Saturday’s opponents Wigan and the relegation zone. They’ve also played more games than some of the teams below them, most notably Blackburn who are in the bottom three, seven points adrift of Forest, but with two games in hand.
Wigan are occupying 22nd position and need points to catch the likes of Burton, Bristol City and Wolves above them. Two of those sides have played less games though, and a win on Saturday would drag Nottingham Forest right into the mix. The Latics have approached this season with a hard-to-beat strategy in search of survival, but they’ve spent most of it in and around the bottom three. They’ve every chance of staying up in a congested bottom half of the table, but wins are needed. Three of the Latics last five have had three or more goals, and they really ought to be viewing this as a must-win game.
With both sides expected to show attacking intent in search of a valuable three points, this match could easily see more than a few goals. It’s worth noting that when the two teams met in the reverse fixture way back in August, it resulted in a 4-3 victory for Forest.
Newcastle -1.5 to beat Bristol City
Saturday 15th February, 15:00 GMT
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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