Happy FA Cup 1st Round weekend! All 48 League One and League Two sides are in cup action, leaving the 24 Championship teams to battle it out for league points.
In the Championship this weekend, leaders Burnley travel to Bramall Lane to take on Sheffield United, while 2nd-place Blackburn Rovers host Huddersfield Town.
Now, we may know a lot about League One and League Two, but we aren’t experts on the National Leagues (and below!) so, when it comes to our picks, we’ve chosen to focus solely on the Championship.
TNP says: We fancy Swansea to beat Wigan. Russell Martin’s Swans have won their last four home games and all is not well at Wigan – both on and off the pitch. The Latics have won four of their eight away games in the Championship this season, but they’ve lost their last five league games. We’re also happy to get with Birmingham who travel to Stoke. For the first time in a long time, the Blues are a genuinely good side and 3.60 feels like a very generous price – especially when you consider the fact that Alex Neil’s Potters have lost their last two home games to Rotherham and Coventry.
Speaking of Rotherham, the Milers have conceded ten goals in their last four games and we’re backing Teemu Pukki to add to that on Saturday. Each of the Finn’s last three Championship goals have come on the road. We’re also tipping up Sunderland’s Danny Batth to get on the scoresheet against Cardiff. Mark Hudson’s side have looked very susceptible from set pieces and, standing at 6’3, Batth could be the man to make them pay this weekend.
In terms of our goals bets, we wouldn’t be surprised if Friday night’s game between Reading and Preston turned out to be a bit of a war of attrition. These two sides are the lowest scoring sides in the top half of the Championship and they also have 17 clean sheets between them so far this season (11 for Preston, six for Reading). With Championship players tiring as a result of their pre-World Cup schedule, it feels as though exciting, expansive football has been in short supply of late; however, Blackpool’s last three home games have seen 14 goals scored. The Seasiders host Luton who have only scored once in their last three games, so they’re due a goal or two!
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)