It’s been a very profitable few weeks in the Championship, and there’s no let up with a succession of fixtures during the week. All eyes will be on the Champions League of course, but for clubs in the English second tier promotion and relegation battles are much more important.
Sheffield Wednesday are looking to return to the Premier League after an absence of seventeen years, and after a run of four wins in a row, they welcome Brentford to Hillsborough. The Owls are 6th in the table but a healthy seven points ahead of next-best Norwich, and victory on Tuesday night could establish a ten-point gap over the chasing pack. Three points would leave Wednesday closer to the top of the table than 7th place, and give them a strong chance of finishing at least in the play off spots. Brentford are having a much less remarkable season – languishing in 15th place. The Bees look to be in no immediate danger of relegation but are much too far from the play offs to have any hope of catching up, and have little left to play for.
Derby County looked like one of the sides which would contest the end-of-season finale since Steve McClaren returned to the club, but they’ve slipped alarmingly away from the top six. A run of three without a win in the league has seen them fall to 11th place – 11 points behind Sheffield Wednesday. Tuesday night sees them play a local derby against Championship newcomers Burton, and it has all the makings of a hugely entertaining game.
Meanwhile, QPR and Wigan meet at Loftus Road on the same night, with the former needing points to secure Championship status, and the latter desperate for points in a bid for survival. Rangers are relatively comfortable in 16th place, but Wigan are deep in trouble in 22nd position – two points adrift of safety.
Sheffield Wednesday v Brentford
Sheffield Wednesday are a decent price at 19/201.95-1050.95-1.050.95 with William Hill and Betfair to beat Brentford at Hillsborough.
The Owls have only lost twice in the last thirteen games – a 2-1 defeat at Brighton and a 3-0 loss at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup. The last four matches have resulted in victories, with Blackburn, Forest, Birmingham and Wigan the victims. At home they’ve won six and drawn one of the last seven, keeping five clean sheets and conceding just two goals. It’s fifteen wins in 19 games in front of their own fans, who continue to turn out in big numbers. Wednesday can boast average gates of over 26,000 this season, making them the 5th best supported club in the division behind Newcastle, Villa, Derby and Brighton. Interestingly, the Owls have played three night matches under the lights at Hillsborough this season and won all three of them – Birmingham (3-0), Barnsley (2-0) and Bristol City (3-2).
Brentford have won just once in seven, and despite some decent performances they’ve been let down by poor defending. Ten goals have been shipped in the last three matches versus Reading, Preston and Brighton, and unsurprisingly the Bees have garnered just a point from those games. Away from home it’s been four straight defeats in all competitions, and they were thumped 4-0 when they visited Sheffield in February last year.
Derby v Burton
Local derbies are often tough to call, but over 2.5 goals looks a stand out bet at 6/52.20+1201.201.20-0.83 with Marathonbet.
Derby have hit a little rough patch of form at just the wrong time, and the winning ways of those above them has seen a large gap develop over the course of a few fixtures. With a huge eleven points to make up to reach the top six, Derby are in the position whereby they have to throw caution to the wind to an extent, in search of three points in every game. The same applies to Burton, but for very different reasons. The Brewers are competing in the Championship for the first time and are acquitting themselves well. Nigel Clough’s men sit in 20th place, and the 2-1 win over Norwich at the weekend has given them four points of breathing space.
The Rams are winless in four games across all competitions, but it’s the goals against column causing alarm. They conceded three against Leicester in the FA Cup, before letting in three against Bristol City and four against Cardiff. The latter two games were both at home, and it’s four games now since the Rams kept a clean sheet in front of their own supporters. Overall, five of Derby’s last six have had three or more goals.
Burton’s 2-1 win against Norwich on Saturday was the fourth game in their last five which has seen over 2.5 goals. The Brewers have one of the worst defensive records in the division (conceded 46 goals), and haven’t kept a clean sheet in 17 games. They will be fired up for this game and busting a gut to put one over their more illustrious neighbours. With both sides chasing points and local pride, there could be plenty of goalmouth action at Pride Park.
QPR v Wigan
Finally both teams to score at Loftus Road is a fair bet at odds against. Prices of 27/252.08+1081.081.08-0.93 are on offer with 32Red and 888Sport.
This bet would have landed in each of QPR’s last five home games, and once again the need for points can force teams to come out of their shells. Rangers have lost a surprising seven of their last ten at home, but will feel that they should be beating teams below them in the relegation battle on home soil. Ian Holloway has a reputation for attacking football, and no doubt his side will be sent out with instructions to take the game to their opponent.
Wigan are in the relegation zone for a reason, but away form has actually been slightly better than home form this season. They’d be 14th in the Championship ‘away’ table, and have good recent form too – winning two of the last three road games at Wolves and Burton. They’ve found the net in each of their last three away league games, and are fancied to get on the scoresheet against a leaking QPR defence.
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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