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Match Previews

Sky Bet Championship preview

9 January 2015

All the odds ahead of Saturday's game

Ipswich Town v Derby County
It promises to be a cracking Saturday lunchtime clash at Portman Road as second-placed Ipswich host a Derby side hoping to leapfrog their opponents with a victory, for which they are priced at 17/10. The Tractor Boys are favourites at 6/4 to pick up a valuable three points while the draw is 12/5. These two sides drew 1-1 back in August and a repeat scoreline is 5/1 although punters should remember Derby have won their last three games to nil (a 4/1 chance this time), including last week’s 1-0 success over Southport in the FA Cup. Ipswich drew 1-1 in their FA Cup trip to Southampton and won their previous three Championship games before that –indeed, they haven’t lost any of their last 11 in the league.  Ipswich hotshot Daryl Murphy is 5/1 favourite to score first and 11/8 to net anytime while Derby striker Chris Martin is 11/2 and 6/4 in the same respective markets. 
Top tip: Daryl Murphy and Chris Martin both to score at 11/2.
 
Birmingham City v Wigan Athletic 
Improving Birmingham are 13/10 favourites to continue their climb up the Sky Bet Championship with another three points against second-bottom Wigan on Saturday. The Blues may sit only 14th but they are fourth in the form table following a run of four wins in their last six and have improved since the appointment of Gary Rowett at the end of October and survived a wobble against Blyth Spartans in the FA Cup last weekend. The arrival of Malky Mackay at Wigan has yet to see an upturn in the club’s fortunes having registered just one win and one draw in his eight games in charge, including a 1-0 defeat at Bolton in the FA Cup last weekend. They are 2/1 to beat the Blues and 12/5 to take a point back to Lancashire. Birmingham’s Clayton Donaldson is 5/1 favourite to score first and 11/8 to net anytime while Wigan’s best hope in the first scorer market is Marc-Antoine Fortune at 7/1. 
Top tip: Clayton Donaldson to score first at 5/1.
 
Blackpool v Millwall 
If Blackpool are to mount a great escape then beating fellow relegation candidates like Millwall is a must and they are 19/20 to do just that on Saturday. The rock-bottom Seasiders have just 14 points from 24 games which is nine fewer than the Lions, but their form is gradually picking up thanks to a win and four draws in their last seven Championship outings. Lee Clark’s men only lost 1-0 at Aston Villa in the FA Cup while Millwall drew 3-3 at home to Bradford and head into this fixture on the back of four defeats in their previous five league games. The Lions are 6/4 to win this clash and 21/10 to earn a draw. Given both teams’ struggles up front, it’s  8/13 about there being under 2.5 goals while a goalless draw can be backed at just 7/1. 
Top tip: Draw and under 2.5 goals in the match at 5/2.
 
Bolton Wanderers v Leeds United 
Bolton’s recent resurgence hit the buffers with a 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield in their previous Championship outing but an FA Cup triumph over Wigan last weekend ensures morale will be high when they host Leeds. The Trotters are 21/20 favourites to claim their seventh home win out of eight in all competitions  while struggling Leeds are 5/2 to end a six-game winless run with a victory. The draw is 12/5. United’s most recent four defeats, including their 1-0 loss at Sunderland in the FA Cup, have come without scoring a goal so there’ll be some punters tempted by the 5/2 about Bolton winning this encounter to nil. Wanderers striker Craig Davies is 5/1 favourite to net first while Mirko Antenucci is regarded Leeds’ best hope at 13/2 in the same market but veteran Eidur Gudjohnsen is in fair form and could represent a value bet to net for the home side. 
Top tip: Eidur Gudjohnson to score anytime at 6/4.
 
Bournemouth v Norwich City 
Sky Bet Championship leaders Bournemouth are 19/20 favourites to make it six league wins on the bounce when they host a Norwich side – set to be under new management - looking to get back into the play-off places. The Cherries also thrashed Rotherham 5-1 last weekend to reach round four of the FA Cup while Norwich’s exit at the hands of Preston was Neil Adams’ last game in charge. There was little wrong with the League form of the Canaries though – they had won three, including 5-0 and 6-1 victories, and drawn one of their last five league games. Nevertheless, despite that form, Norwich are 13/5 to claim victory on Saturday and the same price to take a point. Considering Bournemouth are top scorers in the division on 54 goals, with Norwich third on 44, this could definitely be one for the ‘both teams to score’ accas at 8/13. 
Top tip: Callum Wilson to score a brace at 5/1.
 
Brentford v Rotherham United 
Brentford are 4/5 to arrest a blip in their form with victory over struggling Rotherham on Saturday as they look to maintain their grip on a potential play-off spot. The Bees have lost their last three in all competitions, including a 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Brighton last weekend, but before then they had chalked up seven wins in eight so they’ll have plenty of backers against the Millers, who are 14/5 for victory and 13/5 to earn a draw. That said, apart from their FA Cup mauling at the hands of Bournemouth, Rotherham are themselves unbeaten in their last six Championship games and although only one of those was a win, they are evidently not an easy team to beat. A repeat of the 2-0 scoreline in Brentford’s favour from earlier in the season is 17/2 this time. 
Top tip: A draw and under 2.5 goals in the match at 7/2.
 
Cardiff City v Fulham 
Cardiff are 11/10 to follow their FA Cup victory over Colchester with a first Sky Bet Championship success in six when they take on Fulham. The Cottagers are 11/5 with the draw a touch bigger at 13/5. Fulham have failed to score in three straight games since a 4-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday; the Bluebirds are 3/1 to win to nil here. By contrast, goals have been a feature of recent Cardiff games, with over 3.5 landing in four of their last five. It’s a 7/4 shot for a fifth in six. Cardiff beat Fulham home and away in the Premier League last season, while the sides drew 1-1 at Craven Cottage in August. 
Top tip: Over 3.5 goals at 7/4.
 
Charlton Athletic v Brighton & HA 
Mid-table Charlton are 2/1 to bag the three points in this one, with their visitors 7/5 favourites despite starting the weekend outside the bottom three only on goal difference. The Addicks have drawn six of their last 11 matches(four of last six at home) which may tempt some to get involved on the 11/5 for a stalemate in this one. The Seagulls have picked up successive 2-0 away wins against Fulham and then in the FA Cup against Brentford, but had drawn four in seven before that. This will be the first Sky Bet Championship League match for the away side since the appointment of Chris Hughton. 
Top tip: The draw at 11/5.
 
Huddersfield Town v Watford
This looks a tough match to call and that’s reflected in the prices with Watford the slenderest of favourites at 6/4, with Huddersfield 13/8 and the draw 5/2. Town have been consistently inconsistent all season and, fittingly enough, have a win, draw and a loss to show in their last three games. Watford, meanwhile, have hit back with four Sky Bet Championship wins out of their last five following a run of four straight defeats. During that run they’ve scored five at Fulham and four at Cardiff, so plenty of goals could be the order of the day in this one. Despite the fact that Sky Bet don’t see much between the sides here, the odds for promotion reflect their seasons so far, with Watford 3/1 and Huddersfield out to 66/1. 
Top tip: Over 4.5 goals at 9/2.
 
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday 
These sides are separated by just one place and three points in Sky Bet Championship mid-table, but there’s no doubt about which team is in better form. The Owls (5/2) have won four of their last five in the league, while 21/20 shots Forest have now gone six without a win. It’s 12/5 for a draw in this one. Goals have been hard to come by for Forest of late, with just four in their last seven, while Wednesday’s last two victories have both been by a 1-0 margin. Forest won 1-0 at Hillsborough earlier in the season. It’s 11/2 that they register a win by same scoreline at home. 
Top tip: Under 1.5 goals at 2/1
 
Reading v Middlesbrough 
Promotion-chasing Middlesbrough are 6/5 to leave the Madejski Stadium with all three points on Saturday afternoon, with a home win and the draw both available at 23/10. Boro have lost just one of their last 11 league games – and that was at high-flying Ipswich – while Reading’s form is more varied: two wins, two draws and two defeats in the last six. Middlesbrough have kept four clean sheets in their last five games and could prove hard to break down, even if Reading have definitely shown improved form of late, including in last weekend’s FA Cup. 
Top tip: One or both teams not to score at 5/6.
 
Sunday
 
Blackburn Rovers v Wolverhampton Wanderers 
Blackburn have been a tough side to pin down this season, starting the campaign seeming to alternate between victory and defeat before a run of four wins and six draws in 11 games gave way to three defeats in four. They’re reasonably warm favourites for Sunday’s clash, though, at 23/20 with Wolves 12/5 and the draw 23/10. For their part, the visitors have registered three wins and a draw in their last four Sky Bet Championship games after five straight defeats previously. Wolves won the return fixture 3-1 back in August – and a repeat of that scoreline is 28/1 here - but a closer game looks on the cards this time. 
Top tip: The draw at 23/10.

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