The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (17th & 18th September 2022)

The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (17th & 18th September 2022)

Be honest, you missed it, didn’t you?

This weekend, there is a full slate of games in the EFL. You need to make the most of it though, because the first International break of the season is just around the corner.

In the Championship, leaders Sheffield United face a trip to Preston North End, Norwich City will be looking to make it seven wins in a row when they take on West Brom and Huddersfield Town begin life without Danny Schofield at home to Cardiff City.

Here are our six picks from six games in the Championship:

TNP says: There aren’t many firm favourites in the Championship this weekend, so we’ve gone for the leaders, Sheffield United. Paul Heckingbottom’s side are stronger at home, but they’ve won their last two away games to nil and we believe that they will have too much for Preston. There were quite a few underdogs that were keen to get with in the second tier, but we’ve chosen Birmingham who take on Coventry at St Andrews. The odds feel like a hangover from last season because Coventry have had a poor start to this campaign. The Blues also looked very impressive going forward in their victory over West Brom on Wednesday night.

Speaking of West Brom, their backline was at sixes and sevens during the week. With Teemu Pukki returning to form, a trip to Carrow Road could be the last thing the Baggies need! Elsewhere, Blackpool struggled to deal with balls into the box in their defeat to Rotherham. The Tangerines also have the highest set play xG against in the Championship; a weakness that will no doubt be exploited by Millwall at The Den. We couldn’t chose between Charlie Cresswell or Jake Cooper, but we felt as though Jake is due a goal so we went for him!

After watching Bristol City’s 3-2 defeat to Norwich, we’ve gone back to backing goals in City’s games! Nigel Pearson’s side are the top scorers in the Championship, but their defending in East Anglia was pretty abject. Burnley have also only blanked once in the Championship this season. We’re also backing goals in QPR’s game against Stoke. With the likes of Ilias Chair, Chris Willock and Lewis Baker on show, we can see both defences being breached.

It’s a big weekend for the teams at the top of League One. Leaders Ipswich Town travel to 4th-place Sheffield Wednesday and 2nd-place Portsmouth host 3rd-place Plymouth Argyle.

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

TNP says: Despite showing signs of improvement against Portsmouth, we believe Burton will fall to another defeat down in Exeter. Just like in the Championship, there were plenty of outsiders who we wanted to get with, but we plumped for Cambridge who welcome Barnsley to The Abbey. Cambridge have been poor on the road, but they’ve won their first four home games and they’re currently 6th in League One, compared to Barnsley who are 11th.

Morecambe have had a poor start to the season and they’ve got a crunch game against Forest Green this weekend. Last season’s talisman, Cole Stockton, is yet to score this campaign, but he’s a big game player and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t turn up on Saturday against a side who are yet to keep a league clean sheet in 22/23. Elsewhere, despite terrorising Derby’s defence during the week, Jack Diamond is only the seventh favourite to score in Lincoln’s game against Bristol Rovers. We reckon he’s worth a punt!

In terms of our goals bets, both Port Vale and Shrewsbury have a tendency to keep things tight at the back. After being involved in a five-goal thriller on Tuesday, we can see Steve Cotterill’s Shrews reverting to type on Saturday! Another team who are infamously hard to break down are Kieran McKenna’s Ipswich. We may be mad but we’re backing their game against Darren Moore’s Sheffield Wednesday to go over 2.5 goals. Quite simply, there are so many talented players on show and it would be a real shame if there weren’t any goals!

In League Two, leaders Leyton Orient welcome Walsall to east London, Stevenage travel to Bradford and Barrow take on Newport County.

Here are six picks from six of this weekend’s League Two fixtures:

TNP says: Sutton United are enjoying another excellent season in League Two. Matt Gray’s men have won their lost three home games and we believe they will have too much for 23rd place Hartlepool, who have picked up just one point on the road. Despite their excellent start to the season, Barrow are long odds to beat Newport. The high-flying Bluebirds haven’t been quite as impressive on the road as they have been at home, but they’ve still won at Stockport and AFC Wimbledon and the Exiles have hardly been pulling up trees on their own patch.

Sam Hoskins has scored eight goals in eight league games this term, so it seems only right that we back League Two’s top scorer and Player of the Month for August to bag against lowly Rochdale. AFC Wimbledon’s defending of first and second balls into their box continues to leave a great deal to be desired. No side in League Two has conceded more goals from set plays than the Dons and, even if Nik Tzanev is replaced between the sticks, we wouldn’t mind having a couple of pounds on someone like Jon Mellish to score on Saturday.

Colchester v Grimsby has all the makings of a tight, cagey affair. Grimsby have only conceded five goals in their first seven games, but they’ve only scored seven – the same amount as Col U. Finally, we’re tipping Stockport v Harrogate to go over 2.5 goals. County contrived to end up on the wrong end of a five-goal thriller at Crawley on Tuesday night, while Harrogate need to turn things around after losing four in a row. Over the last year or so, Simon Weaver’s Sulphurites have shown that they know where the back of the net is, but they can be found wanting in defence.

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.