The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (20th & 21st August 2022)

The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (20th & 21st August 2022)

Just like that, another round of EFL fixtures is upon us! For the sides who performed well, either at home or away, during the week, they have a chance to repeat the feat this weekend. For the sides who didn’t perform so well, they have a chance to right the wrongs of midweek in front of their home or travelling fans. For Coventry City and their fans, sigh.

In the Championship this weekend, Norwich City will be looking to build on their midweek victory over Huddersfield Town when they face Millwall on Friday night. Sheffield United take on the early pace-setters Blackburn Rovers in a tasty looking fixture at Bramall Lane and the Severnside derby between Bristol City and Cardiff City rounds off the EFL weekend on Sunday.

Here are our six picks from this weekend’s games in the Championship:

TNP says: Blackburn’s 100% record was put to the sword by a rampant Reading on Wednesday night and we’re predicting more pain for Rovers’ travelling fans. Sheffield United have won 11 of their 15 regular season Championship home games in 2022 and they’ve already beaten Millwall and Sunderland at Bramall Lane this season. We’re also tipping up Hull to beat West Brom at The Hawthorns. Shota Arveladze’s side are 2nd in the embryonic table, while the Baggies are yet to win in the Championship this season. On Friday, Sky Bet were offering 6.50 on Hull City, which just seems to go to turn down!

Reading’s Lucas Joao was back with a bang on Wednesday night; coming off the bench to score the third goal in the Royals’ 3-0 win over Blackburn. Despite missing plenty of games, Joao has scored 29 league goals in the last two seasons and, as things stand, Middlesbrough have the leakiest defence in the second tier. We wouldn’t be surprised if Joao started and scored on Saturday. We’re also backing Grant Hall to score for Rotherham against QPR. ‘Why?’ we hear you ask. Well, Hall spent five seasons at Loftus Road and Rotherham have enjoyed a positive start to the season, but they haven’t quite hit their straps in terms of attacking set pieces.

Only one of Birmingham’s and Wigan’s games in the Championship this season has gone over 2.5 goals, so we think it will be a cagey affair in the second city on Saturday. On the other hand, Stoke and Sunderland’s eight league games to date have seen 26 goals scored. They’ve both conceded two or more goals in their last two games and, with the likes of Dwight Gayle, Lewis Baker, Ellis Simms and Ross Stewart, both teams are more than capable of finding the back of the opposition’s net.

In League One, leaders Ipswich Town travel to Shrewsbury, Bolton Wanderers meet Sheffield Wednesday and free-scoring Exeter City host Cheltenham Town.

Here are our six picks from six games in League One:

TNP says: Ipswich are top of League One, they’ve won their last three league games and their underlying numbers are very impressive. We believe that Kieran McKenna’s side will have too much for Shrewsbury. We’ve also been really impressed by Bolton Wanderers’ start to the season. The Trotters are outsiders to beat Sheffield Wednesday at home on Saturday – something which we don’t agree with. Wednesday have flattered to deceive so far this season and they had a difficult night in Peterborough during the week.

Jonson Clarke-Harris has scored 34 goals in his last 49 League One games. Lincoln City will do well to stop JCH on Saturday! Harry Kite added another goal to his collection on Tuesday night. With Exeter hosting Cheltenham (the side they beat 7-0 in the Carabao Cup just over a week ago), we’re backing Harry to deliver the goods once again.

In terms of our goals bets, Fleetwood and Derby have scored seven goals and conceded six goals between them in eight third tier games so far this season. Both sides played out goalless draws during the week, so we would be surprised if their game on Saturday was a high-scoring affair. If you want goals then Charlton might just be the team for you. The Addicks put five past Plymouth at The Valley on Tuesday night and they’ll be hoping to repeat the trick against a Cambridge side who have conceded three or more goals away from home seven times in League One last season.

In League Two, table-toppers Salford City face Doncaster Rovers, Leyton Orient take on Colchester United and Northampton Town travel to the Mornflake Stadium to do battle with Crewe Alexandra.

Here are our six picks from six games in League Two:

TNP says: Pete Wild’s Barrow have enjoyed an excellent start to the season and we’re backing them to add to their home wins over Bradford and Walsall with another victory against Harrogate, who have enjoyed a mixed start to the season and have done a lot of travelling this week. The Sulphurites previous game was a 2-0 victory at Gillingham on Tuesday night. Despite sitting 20th in the table, Neil Harris’ Gills have been priced up as favourites to beat Michael Flynn’s Walsall; a stance that we’re happy to get against.

Harry McKirdy scored his first goal of the season of the season during the week. We reckon that ‘Box Office’ Harry will fancy his chances of scoring against managerless Rochdale, who parted company with Robbie Stockdale on Thursday. Mansfield Town’s on-loan defender Riley Harbottle already has two goals to his name this season. The Stags have the highest xG from set plays in League Two (1.89) and we’re backing Riley to make it two goals in a week against Stockport on Saturday.

Finally, we believe that Colchester v Leyton Orient will go under 2.5 goals. Colchester’s last two league games have ended 1-0 (one for and one against), while Orient have only conceded one goal in their first four league games. On the other hand, we’re backing Crawley’s game against AFC Wimbledon to go over 2.5 goals. Wimbledon have scored four goals in their last two matches, but they’ve conceded seven in that time. Meanwhile, after blanking in their first three league games, Crawley finally found their shooting boots; scoring twice against Northampton. Unfortunately for Kevin Betsy’s men, they conceded three!

If you are placing a bet this weekend, please be gamble aware. Do not bet more than you can afford to lose and do not chase your losses. For more information, please head to the Be Gamble Aware website.

(Photo Creds – Alex Taylor)