The focus of football this week will centre on two things – the end of the January transfer window and the full fixture list in the Premier League in midweek. The Championship takes something of a breather but there are still four games on Tuesday evening which each presenting us with decent betting opportunities away from the glare of the spotlight.
With the FA Cup in full swing over the weekend there were only a few Championship matches, but each was significant in its own right. Birmingham crept into the top six with a 0-0 draw away at Bristol City, Charlton thumped relegation rivals Rotherham 4-1 away from home to move to within a point of safety, and Cardiff secured an excellent 3-2 away win at Huddersfield to move within touching distance of the play-offs.
On Tuesday night Derby, fresh from the FA Cup defeat at the hands of Manchester United, take on another local side in Preston. The Rams had been in superb form up to Christmas, but they’ve only managed a single win since then – a 2-1 away victory at Hartlepool in the FA Cup. They’ll be looking to maintain their position in the top six, but Preston have proven to be a tricky customer for many Championship sides this season. Sheffield Wednesday – unbeaten at home since August – take on a Burnley side which is firing on all cylinders and looking to challenge for automatic promotion. That one promises to be a cracker. Meanwhile lowly Bolton face a tough trip to Wolves with Championship survival on their minds, but the Wanderers of Wolverhampton are chasing their own target of reaching the play-offs.
Derby v Preston
Three competitive matches, but we start at Derby where the value looks to be on the double result, with Preston or Draw quoted at 11/102.10+1101.101.10-0.91 with Ladbrokes, Coral and Skybet
The Lily Whites have made a good fist of it after promotion last term and they currently sit in 16th place with a comfortable 10 point cushion above the relegation zone. Key to their success has been a relatively tight defence which has been more evident on their travels than at home. They’ve conceded just 14 goals in 14 games on the road, and on away results only they would be 11th in the table. They’ve recently lost three on their travels, to Leeds, Huddersfield and Peterborough (in the FA Cup), but they’ve also beaten Burnley and Bristol City, and grabbed a point at Ipswich on their last away day.
Derby had that superb run of from throughout November and December which catapulted them into title contention, but they ‘came down with the Christmas decorations’ in January with a series of poor results. In fairness they’ve faced some tough opponents in losing to Manchester United (FA Cup), Middlesbrough, Burnley and Birmingham, but they’ve also been held to draws by Leeds and Reading to bring up a run of just one win in seven. Even that victory was only over League Two Hartlepool in the cup.
Manager Paul Clement will view this as an opportunity to get back on track, but Preston are no pushovers, and at a decent price are worth taking on the double chance.
Sheffield Wednesday v Burnley
With the records that these two sides have posted, this game has that typical feel of ‘something has to give’, but both may have to settle for a point in their respective promotion challenges. The draw makes plenty of appeal at 9/43.25+2252.252.25-0.44 with Bet365, BetVictor and Totesport
Wednesday may have lost out to two late goals at Shrewsbury in the FA Cup at the weekend, after leading 2-1 at the 85 minute mark, but they are unbeaten since August at Hillsborough, and that was at the hands of title-challenging Middlesbrough. Of the 13 games at home since they’ve won 10 and drawn 3, with the last five in a row resulting in victory.
Burnley’s away form has also been generally decent this season without being spectacular. They’ve won 5, drawn 5, and lost 3 of their last 13 away trips – but it’s worth noting that the three defeats were at Hull, Middlesbrough, and Arsenal (FA Cup). Sean Dyche has positioned his side very well in third place in the table, and although they have a four-point gap to make up on Boro in 2nd, they have every chance of achieving automatic promotion.
However, it’s difficult to back either side to lose this game, and it is one of those that could easily end in a stalemate. The draw would be a reasonable result for both sides.
Wolves v Bolton
Finally Wolves are worth following to get their own season back on track with a home victory over toothless Bolton. 3/41.75-1330.75-1.330.75 with Bet365, BetVictor and Betfred
The Lancashire club remain in financial trouble and they have long been rock bottom of the Championship table. The last-time-out 3-1 home win over MK Dons gave them a little hope and brought them to within five points of safety, but there is still a huge amount of work to do to sustain their Championship status, especially with the threat of a points deduction looming. Each of their three recent victories (Eastleigh FA Cup, MK Dons and Blackburn in the League) have come at home, but they remain winless in 15 on their travels. They’ve lost 11 and drawn just four of those.
Wolves are 12th in the table and a poor recent run has seen them drop to 9 points behind the play-off pacesetters, but with 18 games to play there’s still plenty to fight for. Inconsistency has been the issue, with back-to-back home wins against Fulham and Reading followed up by a 3-1 home defeat to in-form Cardiff the weekend before last. One thing in Wolves favour is the fact that they have had the whole weekend off while Bolton were losing 2-1 at home to Leeds in the FA Cup. That extra rest and extra little bit of fitness should give them the edge over the Trotter’s small squad, and the home win is the confident call here.
Preston or Draw
Tuesday 2nd February, 19:45 GMT
Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley to Draw
Tuesday 2nd February, 19:45 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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