We go back to domestic football this weekend after another dramatic week of European fayre, and the Championship offers a host of great punting opportunities once again. The hectic Christmas period is just around the corner, and with the division set to play midweek and weekend games until the 2nd of January, it’s six league games in the space of less than a month.
The festive period will go a long way towards shaping the table for the remainder of the season, and it can be a make or break time for those clubs angling for promotion. This weekend features a number of top-of-the-table clashes, and QPR will be hoping the arrival of Jimmy Flloyd Hasselbaink will inspire them to a home victory over fellow relegated side, Burnley. Brighton are still unbeaten and flying high at the top of the Championship, but they face a very tough game up at Derby. Moving further down the table, there’s good reason to back against Fulham, as the West London club continue their long-winded search for a new manager. Those are our three matches for the weekend, and we’ll start with QPR who look a good price to give Hasselbaink the perfect start.
QPR v Burnley
The home side are 16/112.45+1451.451.45-0.69 with 888Sport and Unibet, which looks more than generous considering Burnley’s recent poor form.
QPR are currently 12th in the table with 26 points – three points outside the play-offs. Hasselbaink’s task for the rest of the season will be to climb the table, and if he can’t secure automatic promotion, the bare minimum expectation will be a place in the top six. Those are lofty ambitions, but for a club of QPR’s stature anything less than promotion will be seen as failure. Jimmy has already proven his ability as a manager by getting Burton promoted to League One, and leaving them at the top of that division when he joined QPR. He has made all the right noises about keeping hold of Charlie Austin in January and developing team spirit, and the former Chelsea man could be just the tonic the squad needs.
Neil Warnock has taken temporary charge of the club for the last four games since Chris Ramsey’s dismissal, and he has led them to a pair of 1-0 wins in the last two. Austin was on target in the home victory over Leeds, while Nedum Onuoha notched a last-minute winner in the most recent win against Reading. Those results should have instilled a little confidence in the side, and players often raise their performance levels in a new manager’s first game in charge as they attempt to impress the new boss.
Burnley have hit a rocky patch over recent weeks, and if QPR are fired up for this they could well take advantage. The Clarets worked their way into the top six with a great run of five wins in six games, but they’ve failed to win the last four and went down 2-0 at home to Preston last weekend. Prior to that they’d drawn with Wolves, Brighton and Cardiff, and they could be a little vulnerable to a QPR side in full flow. The R’s won this match 2-0 when it was a Premier League clash almost exactly a year ago, and they are fancied to do the same again on Saturday.
Derby v Brighton
Despite Derby’s excellent recent form, the Brighton or draw double chance at 87/1001.87-1150.87-1.150.87 with 888Sport, BoyleSports and Unibet looks worth taking on a side that are yet to beaten in this year’s Championship.
Brighton have already broken the club record for an unbeaten league run, and it’s now 19 Championship games without defeat. They’ve won eleven of those, and currently sit top of the pile with 41 points. They’ve won three of the last four, with victories coming against Charlton, Birmingham and MK Dons, and an impressive draw away at Burnley. They will surely lose a game before the end of the season, but while they’re in such superb form it has paid to follow them.
Derby have hit a great patch of form themselves in recent times, with 10 wins from the last 14 games, and only one defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest. However, they’ve been held to draws by Burnley, Blackburn, and Sheffield Wednesday (last weekend), so Brighton are more than capable of getting some sort of result here. Away from home the Seagulls have won three and drawn six of their nine matches, so the stalemate could well be on the cards, but we’re happy to hedge our bets on the Brighton or draw double chance at a more than reasonable price.
Fulham v Brentford
We’ll follow the same tactics when the Brentford visit Fulham, with the Brentford or draw double chance rated a standout 4/61.67-1500.67-1.500.67 with Bet365
The Bees had a terrible start to the season but they’ve slowly turned it around, and they’ve now only lost once in the last nine games. Six of those have been victories, with two draws, and that’s helped them move up to 10th in the table just a point outside the play-offs.
Fulham have been in the doldrums since before they sacked manager Kit Symons, but things seem to have gotten worse with more than one man turning down the job. Their latest decision is to appoint Stuart Gray as head coach while they search for a new boss, but that just adds to the uncertainty and instability around the club. They are winless in five games, with three defeats and two draws, and there’s every reason to think that Brentford can get at least a point out of this game, and maybe even all three. The double chance offers a bit of extra security at a decent price.
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.
SBO.net Bookie Selector
Our Bookie selector is designed to find the perfect place for you to bet. Simply answer a few quick questions and we’ll choose the best online bookmaker for you.