The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (1st & 2nd October 2022)

The Near Post’s EFL Weekend Preview (1st & 2nd October 2022)

The International break is over and there’s a full slate of games in the Championship, League One and League Two. Welcome to a month and a bit of uninterrupted EFL action!

In the Championship, leaders Sheffield United host Birmingham City, Norwich City travel to Blackpool and Slaven Billic begins life at Watford with a trip to Alex Neil’s Stoke City.

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

TNP says: If you’re looking for a home banker in the Championship, then you can’t really look past Sheffield United. The Blades are top of the league and they’ve won all four of their league games at Bramall Lane this season. Birmingham have won their last two on the road, but we think Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades will be too sharp for the Blues. If you’re looking for a bit of value this weekend, then backing Swansea to beat West Brom may be the way to go. The Swans were impressive last time out and, despite the Baggies being 21st in the Championship and having won just one league game all season, Russell Martin’s side were 4.75 on Friday morning to leave The Hawthorns with all three points.

Norwich’s Teemu Pukki rediscovered his goalscoring touch before the International break and he also scored for Finland against Romania, so we fancy him to bag against Blackpool. After Paul Warne’s departure from Rotherham, there’s going to be an emphasis on senior players to step up when the Millers take on Wigan this weekend – none more so than club captain (and one of the interim managers!) Richard Wood. The 37-year-old centre half has already scored four goals in the Championship this season and he will be desperate to add to his tally on Saturday.

In terms of our goals bets, we’re backing both teams to score in the Friday night game between Hull and Luton. Hull have conceded 11 goals in their last four games and, after blanking in their last three, we’re hoping Óscar Estupiñán & co can remember where the goal is in front of the Sky cameras. Elsewhere, we’re anticipating a tense affair between Coventry and Middlesbrough. Both sides have experienced difficult starts to the campaign and their last games before the International break finished 0-0. With Coventry missing Callum O’Hare and Gus Hamer, we can see this game going under 1.5 goals – possibly in favour of the visitors.

In League One, leaders Plymouth Argyle face Wycombe Wanderers, Ipswich Town take on Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday travel to Port Vale.

Here are our six picks from six of this weekend’s fixtures in League One:

TNP says: Ian Evatt’s Bolton were in good form before the International break. The Trotters had won three in a row and they’ve also won four of their five league games at home. Despite Lincoln’s eye-catching victories over Derby and Bristol Rovers, we can see the Imps coming unstuck in this one. Last week, we backed Plymouth to upset the odds and we’re backing Steven Schumacher’s men to do it again! The Pilgrims travel to 17th-place Wycombe, who have been disappointing so far this season. Plymouth aren’t quite as good on the road, but they’re top of the league for a reason and we were surprised to see them as outsiders for this one.

We’re backing Marcus Harness to haunt his former club, Portsmouth, on Saturday. It was a toss up between Harness and Conor Chaplin (who also used to play for Pompey!), but we’ve gone for the player with the slightly longer odds and a more recent association with the visitors. Elsewhere, we’ve been really impressed with Deji Oshilaja’s performances since Dino Maamria took charge of Burton. Oshilaja has been a real threat in the opposition box; registeing a goal and an assist in his last two league games. Burton face Forest Green this weekend who, quite frankly, were a mess against Exeter last time out.

Despite Barnsley’s recent hot streak in front of goal, we’re tipping their game at Fleetwood to go under 2.5 goals. The Cod Army have only conceded eight goals in there nine league games and three goals in their five home league games. We also believe that Accrington’s game at home to Morecambe will go under 2.5 goals. Derek Adams’ Shrimps have been porous at the back this term but, despite all of their efforts on goal, John Coleman’s Stanley have struggled to find the back of the net. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if this one wasn’t a one goal game either way.

In League Two, the imperious Leyton Orient host Newport County, Northampton face a trip to Swindon and Steve Evans takes his Stevenage side to one of his former clubs, Crawley Town.

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

TNP says: Nine wins from ten league games, five from five at home, a record-breaking start to the season… who are we to bet against Leyton Orient racking up another win on Saturday? If you’re looking for a bit of value though, Grimsby are a fairly long price to beat Salford at The Peninsula Stadium. Paul Hurst’s side have the second best away record in the fourth tier and, despite starting the season well, Salford haven’t won either of their last two home games.

Andy Cook may have let us down last week, but we’re more than happy to go back to the well – especially when Harrogate are the opposition. The Sulphurites have upset Bradford in the past but they’ve lost four of their last five league games and we believe that Bradford will simply have too much for them. We’re also backing Stevenage centre half Carl Piergianni to get on the scoresheet against a hapless, injury-ravaged Crawley. Piergianni gets more looks at goal than most defenders in the EFL and Crawley’s issues at the back leave them open to an attack or two from Pidge!

If you want goals, then Gillingham aren’t the team for you. The Gills have only scored twice in their ten league games. At present, the Kent club a very poor side, but one of their redeeming features is the fact that they don’t concede too many. We can see their game at home to Sutton being a narrow victory for the visitors. Finally, we’re tipping up Swindon v Northampton to go over 2.5 goals. While the home side hardly scream goals, they have gone over 2.5 in two of their last three games and Cobblers are the divisions top scorers, having scored 21 goals in their ten league games to date.

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)