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Match Previews

Sky Bet Championship Boxing Day preview

24 December 2014

All the odds for Friday's football

Brentford v Ipswich Town
Two teams at the top of their game currently as they sit second and third in the Championship. Sky Bet make the Bees 5/4 favourites on the back of two successive wins where they scored three goals on both occasions. Ipswich can be backed at 21/10 with the prospect of going top of the league as they ride a nine-match unbeaten run thanks in part to the goals of striker Daryl Murphy. The draw is 12/5 but Murphy’s partner up front David McGoldrick is getting closer to top form and is fancied to find the target at Griffin Park.
Top tip: David McGoldrick to score anytime at 7/4
Charlton Athletic v Cardiff City
Cardiff nearly pulled a result out of the fire against Brentford but their late rally came up just shy in a 3-2 defeat at the weekend. They are narrow favourites over the hosts at 7/5 with Sky Bet to claim a first victory in three games. You have to go back five games for Charlton’s last win and they are 2/1 to end that streak. But with both sides matched on points and even on goal difference, the draw at 11/5 with Sky Bet looks a viable option.
Top tip: Back the draw at 11/5
Birmingham City v Derby County
New boss Gary Rowett continues to work the oracle at Birmingham and they notched up another victory at the weekend. That said, they are 11/5 outsiders here with Sky Bet as they entertain a Derby side that missed out on three points after Norwich twice came from behind last Saturday . The Rams can be backed at 6/5 with the draw 12/5 as Steve McClaren’s side go for a first win in four games in all competitions. The experienced David Cotterill is bidding for three goals in three games for the hosts and he looks of interest at 7/2 to achieve that feat.
Top tip: Back David Cotterill to score anytime at 7/2
Bolton Wanderers v Blackburn Rovers
The bookies are expecting a closely-fought Lancashire derby at the Macron Stadium with hosts Bolton priced as marginal 8/5 favourites to  pick up all three points and Blackburn 17/10 The draw is 23/10.  The Trotters thrashed Rovers 4-0 in this corresponding fixture towards the end of the last campaign but you can get 66/1 on a repeat scoreline this time around. As unlikely as that is, Bolton are in good form with four wins and three draws in their last seven and they come into this clash on the back of a 1-0 victory at Millwall which pulled them well clear of the drop zone. Jordan Rhodes scored twice last time out in a 2-0 win over Charlton and is 9/2 joint-favourite with Rudy Gestede to strike first on Boxing Day, with both men priced at 5/4 to score anytime. Craig Davies is Bolton’s best hope at 6/1 and 7/4 respectively in the same markets.
Top tip: Draw and under 2.5 goals in the match 3/1
Bournemouth v Fulham
Christmas number one team Bournemouth are unsurprisingly hot favourites at 8/13 to beat mid-table Fulham on Boxing Day while the Cottagers are 4/1, with the draw priced at 3s. The free-scoring Cherries hit Blackpool for six at the weekend to take their goal tally to 50 from 22 games which is 10 more than second highest scorers Derby. That explains why over 2.5 goals in this game is as short as 8/13, while it’s only 21/10 that the home side again score three or more. This is probably one for the both teams to score coupon at 4/7 considering Fulham netted four times against Sheffield Wednesday last time out although only their most die-hard fans will expect the visitors to become the first team since Derby at the end of the September to beat the Championship leaders. Callum Wilson is 7/2 to score first and 10/11 to net anytime.
Top tip: Over 3.5 goals in the match at 6/4
Brighton & Hove Albion v Reading
Brighton haven’t got much to be happy about this Christmas but despite their poor results this season which led to the departure of Sami Hyypia this week, they head into the Boxing Day clash with Reading as 11/10 favourites to pick up a welcome three points. The Seagulls, who have won just three times in the Championship this season, last tasted success when they beat Wigan at the start of November while mid-table Reading aren’t exactly high on confidence after back-to-back defeats which include a 6-1 thumping at Birmingham. The Royals are 13/5 for victory and 23/10 to pick up a point. Both sides have mustered just two goals between them in the last three rounds of fixtures so under 2.5 goals in this one is 4/6 (over is 11/10).
Top tip: Draw and under 2.5 goals in the match at 11/4
Leeds United v Wigan Athletic
United’s form has been patchy of late with two wins and three defeats in the last six, but they’ll be hopeful of a result against a Wigan side with six defeats in their last seven games. The bookmakers can’t separate the sides with the hosts are 8/5 with Sky Bet to get three points, the Latics available at the same price and the draw 11/5. Despite Wigan’s poor form, five of their last six defeats have been by only one goal; a one-goal win for Leeds here  is 100/30. Both teams have scored in 10 of Leeds’ last 12 games and seven of Wigan’s last nine. It’s an 8/11 shot here that both sides find the net
Top tip: Both teams to score at 8/11
Middlesbrough v Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest are 100/30 chances to end a run of three straight draws with victory at 3/4 favourites Middlesbrough on Boxing Day. The draw is 12/5 and may be the value call in a match that sees the fourth-place side against the ninth. Boro have drawn three of their last six. Middlesbrough are even-money to get promoted to the Barclays Premier League this season, while Nottingham Forest are now 12/1 chances in the same market. Britt Assombalonga is third in the Sky Bet Championship scoring charts with 12, and can be backed at 6/1 to score the first goal or 7/4 anytime in this one.
Top tip: The draw at 12/5
Norwich City v Millwall
Norwich appear to be heading in the right direction as they followed a win at Wigan and thrashing of Huddersfield with a decent point Derby on Saturday lunchtime. The Canaries are 8/13 to make it three wins out of four against 4/1 chances Millwall, while a stalemate is 13/5. Backing goals could be the route to profit in this one, with seven of Norwich’s last eight featuring over 2.5 goals and four of those clearing 3.5 goals. That said, Millwall have tightened up with a 1-0 win and a 1-0 defeat in their last two games after a run of five over 3.5 goal games in their previous six.
Top tip: Over 2.5 goals at 5/6
Rotherham United v Huddersfield Town
Rotherham are on a four-match unbeaten run ahead of a Yorkshire derby against a Huddersfield side that has suffered three defeats in their last four. The Millers are 5/4 jollies for a home win, with the visitors 19/10 and the draw 23/10. Huddersfield have scored just one goal in their last five games, while Rotherham have not scored more than twice in a game since October. Nahki Wells is considered the most likely first goalscorer at 6/1 for the visitors, while Alex Revell, Paul Taylor and Johnson Clarke-Harris are the same price for Rotherham in the same market.
Top tip: Under 2.5 goals at 5/6
Sheffield Wednesday v Blackpool
Blackpool head into this one on the back of a 6-1 defeat against promotion-chasing Bournemouth and will be keen to bounce back quickly; they’re 4/1 to leave Hillsborough with all three points, and 13/5 to come away with one. The Owls are 8/13 to get back to winning ways after successive recent defeats to Wolves and Fulham. Both games between these two sides last season ended in 2-0 home wins - a scoreline that can be backed at 13/2 in this one. Sheffield Wednesday have drawn five of their 11 home games, while Blackpool have five draws from 11 on the road – might the draw offer a decent value bet here at 13/5?
Top tip: The draw at 13/5
Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers
The Hornets now sit in a Sky Bet Championship play-off spot after responding to a four-match losing streak with three straight wins. They’re 5/6 to make it four wins in a row against Wolves on Boxing Day. The visitors can be backed at 14/5, with the draw 5/2. Troy Deeney has five goals in his last three games for the home side and is understandably prominent in the goalscoring betting. He’s evens to score during the match, 4/1 for the first goal, 5/1 to net twice and 25/1 to score a hat-trick after his treble earlier in the month at Fulham. Two of Watford’s three straight wins have been to nil - an outcome that can be backed at 9/4 here.
Top tip: Troy Deeney to be first goalscorer at 4/1

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