We’re only four weeks into the new Football League Championship season and things are already shaping up quite interestingly. Huddersfield town currently lead the pack from the likes of Brighton and Wolves while Blackburn sit bottom of the pile.
There are some cracking games in store this weekend with the match between Newcastle and Brighton catching the eye while the top of the table clash between Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanders should make for interesting viewing.
Friday 26 August
Burton 26/10 | Draw 47/20 | Derby 21/20
Nigel Clough will be happy enough with the start that his Burton Albion side has made to this season’s campaign. They earned a draw at Ewood Park against Blackburn at the weekend following a late Tom Naylor header. The draw moves Albion up to 18th place on the standings after their shock 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday. They’ll be relishing the opportunity at claiming another big scalp this weekend.
Derby really haven’t got their 2016/17 campaign brightest of starts. That said, they have had one of the more difficult opening sequences this season having taken on the likes of Brighton and Aston Villa in their first four games. They head into this encounter with Burton Albion knowing that they’re susceptible to dropping points against the division’s smaller teams. Burton have conceded nine and scored nine in their opening four games – both teams to score (yes) at 19/20 is a gift, get on!
Saturday 27 August
Cardiff 27/20 | Draw 22/10 | Reading 2/1
Paul Trollope would have been bitterly disappointed having seen his Cardiff side concede so late on against unbeaten Fulham at the weekend. The 2-2 draw was arguably the game of the weekend with the Londoners opening the scoring thanks to a scrappy effort from 16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon before the Welsh side stormed into a 2-1 lead thanks to a pair of fine strikes from Joe Ralls and Anthony Pilkington. There was to be late drama, however, as Kevin McDonald popped up with an 86th-minute equaliser.
Reading will have been reasonably happy with their 2-2 draw against one of the pre-season favourites, Brighton and Hove Albion. Goals from John Swift and Paul McShane were enough to earn the Royals a valuable draw with the Seagulls. Joey van den Berg had a day to forget after putting through his own net in the first half before he was sent off in the 90th-minute for a rash challenge on Tomer Hemed. While only one point separates these two sides, I think that Cardiff have more in their locker in terms of ability. Back the Welsh team at 27/20 here.
Huddersfield 11/10 | Draw 47/20 | Wolves 49/20
Huddersfield Town weathered a second half storm from Barnsley before grabbing a 92nd-minute winner to claim top spot on the Championship standings after five games. Nobody really gave Town a chance at the start of the season, however, a convincing win this weekend against a Wolves side who are mixing it up at the top of the standings could have Town fans dreaming of a possible promotion push.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have started the season well and a win this weekend could see them move to the top of the Championship provided other results go their way. The Black Country side went a goal down against Birmingham this weekend before a storming second half saw them score three unanswered goals to claim their second win of the season. This is another game that looks too close to call – that said, both teams have been scoring for fun so both teams to score (yes) at 9/10 looks a solid bet.
Ipswich Town 23/20 | Draw 22/10 | Preston 24/10
Ipswich Town will be happy enough with their showing in the East Anglia Derby at the weekend against Norwich City. Cameron Jerome opened the scoring with a fine effort from the edge of the box before the hosts drew level thanks to a Jonas Knudsen who smashed the ball into the bottom of the corner with aplomb. On the balance of things, Ipswich probably deserved to win, but Mick McCarthy will have been happy enough with the draw.
Preston finally opened their account with a win away at QPR at the weekend. Jermaine Beckford put Simon Grayson’s side ahead before Nedum Onuoha’s own goal capped off an afternoon to forget for the Loftus Road faithful. That performance would have given the Lilywhites some much-needed confidence in what will surely be a long old season for the Lancashire club. That said, they’re unlikely to find much joy away at Portman Road. Ipswich are tipped to win comfortably at 23/20.
Birmingham City 26/10 | Draw 23/10 | Norwich City 21/20
Hopes were high at St. Andrews on Saturday afternoon following Che Adams’ 24th-minute debut goal. However, a barnstorming second half performance from Wolves – in which they scored three unanswered goals – ensured that the Blues’ fans and players went home with their tails between their legs. Things won’t get any easier this weekend as they welcome Norwich City to the Second City.
After retaining the services of nearly all of their players following relegation from the Premier League, Norwich look to be one of the favourites to top the league come May next year. The Canneries are undefeated to date having drawn 1-1 away at their fiercest rivals this past weekend. Norwich shouldn’t have too many problems against one of the division’s more underwhelming teams. Back the away side at 21/20.
Wigan 14/10 | Draw 22/10 | QPR 39/20
Wigan had their hearts broken on Saturday afternoon in what was another potential contender for the match of the season after Thomas Lam’s 93rd-minute winner claimed all three points for Nottingham Forest. Will Grigg – the viral sensation from the European Championships – managed to bag two goals for the Latics while Michael Jacobs also managed to get his name on the score sheet. It wasn’t to be enough though, as Forest ran out 4-3 winners in a cracking game.
QPR were rubbish in their 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Preston at the weekend. Jermaine Beckford opened the scoring for the hosts before Nedum Onuoha diverted Callum Robinson’s cross into his own net. This past weekend’s defeat is just what QPR needed to wake them up following a promising start to the season. Take Rangers on the double chance at 5/10.
Brentford 7/4 | Draw 22/10 | Sheffield Wednesday 15/10
Brentford were handed their second defeat of the season last weekend as they went down by a solitary goal against Rotherham. The Bees have actually made a pretty good start to the season – especially when you consider how many pundits were tipping them to get walloped this term. They face their sternest test of the season so far when they welcome a wobbling Sheffield Wednesday to Griffin Park.
Following a solid start to the season, Sheffield Wednesday have just started to wobble a bit. Back-to-back defeats against Burton Albion and Leeds United – two of the division’s weaker sides – have left the Owls languishing in 20th position. They will need to start picking up points soon if they are to make their way back up the table and this Brentford side presents a perfect opportunity to do just that. As much as I’d love to tip Brentford on the double chance, it’s only a matter of time before Wednesday start flying toward the top of the table. They’re decent value here at 4/10 and should be backed as such.
Nottingham Forest 11/10 | Draw 47/20 | Leeds United 47/20
Nottingham Forest were involved in their second 4-3 win of the season when Thomas Lam lashed home a 93rd-minute winner to follow up on their opening day win over Burton Albion by the same scoreline. That result means that Forest have now scored eight and concede 10 in just four matches – that’s a massive 18 goals in just four matches.
Leeds head into this game off the back of a confidence-boosting 2-0 away at a very strong QPR side. The win comes a week after they smashed Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 at the Hillsborough. Gary Monks’ club have now managed to score in each of their last three games as well as claiming two massive wins against some of the division’s stronger sides. Leeds have momentum here and should be backed at 47/20.
Blackburn 21/10 | Draw 23/10 | Fulham 5/4
Blackburn yet again showed their ineptitude at the weekend after twice being pegged back by Burton Albion to draw 2-2 in front of a frustrated Ewood Park faithful. Things aren’t looking good in East Lancashire with rumours already doing the rounds with regards to Owen Coyle’s future at the club. My opinion: they should get him out and bring someone in who actually has a successful track record. Let’s hope the hierarchy (Venky’s) at Blackburn get it sorted out.
Fulham also played out to an entertaining 2-2 draw against Cardiff City this past weekend. The Londoners have actually made quite a bright start to the season, especially when you consider that their best players from last season have all left the club for supposed greener pastures. Fulham should be too good here, back them at 5/4.
Bristol City 31/20 | Draw 22/10 | Aston Villa 17/10
Bristol City have started the season reasonably well having claimed six points from their opening four games. They went down last time out against Newcastle after Dwight Gayle struck his fourth goal in as many games to kick-start the Toon’s season. They have it all to do again this weekend as they welcome a determined Aston Villa side to Ashton Gate.
Villa have actually started the season reasonably well if you consider how poor they were in the Premier League last time out. New management and a bit of player clear-out have left the side looking refreshed and rejuvenated. They earned a good 0-0 draw last weekend against Derby at the iPro and are tipped to go one better and win at Bristol.
Barnsley 9/10 | Draw 49/20 | Rotherham 29/10
Barnsley are another small side who have started the 2016/17 season with a bit of a bang. Two wins and two defeats sees the Tykes occupying ninth place on the log. They were unlucky to lose last time out to the current pace-setters, Huddersfield Town, who snatched a win in the 92nd-minute thanks to a Jonathan Hogg strike.
Rotherham picked up a valuable three points last time out against Brentford Town at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. Danny Ward picked up the game’s only goal as he coolly slotted the ball past the on-rushing Daniel Bentley. Barnsley are the better side here and should be backed confidently at 9/10.
Newcastle 21/20 | Draw 47/20 | Brighton 5/2
Newcastle finally appear to have gotten their spluttering Championship campaign underway with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bristol City. The win takes them to six points and eases the pressure that was beginning to grow on Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle playing staff. Dwight Gayle has been the star man for the Toon so far this season, netting four goals in as many games, he will need to be at his best against the team with the most miserly defence in the league.
Brighton have started this season in a positive manner and currently occupy second-place on the league standings. The cornerstone of their promotion push was always this season was always going to be built on a solid defence. The Seagulls have only conceded two goals so far this season and look good value here against Newcastle. I’m leaning toward Brighton here but I’m not entirely convinced. Take Brighton on the double chance here at 7/10.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.