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Match Previews

Sky Bet Weekend Betting Preview

17 April 2015

Norwich City v Middlesbrough


Norwich are even-money favourites to beat fellow promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough on Friday night and climb to the top of the Championship – for the time being at least. The second-placed Canaries are a point behind leaders Bournemouth but only one point ahead of Boro in fourth so with just three games remaining it’s fair to say defeat would be a hammer blow to either side’s aspirations of a top-two spot. Norwich have won their last five and not lost in eight while Middlesbrough, who are 11/4 to triumph and 23/10 to earn a point, come into this clash on the back of two straight victories, but they have suffered defeat twice in their last six. Boro thrashed Norwich 4-0 at the Riverside earlier in the season and another victory ‘to nil’ is 11/2. Cameron Jerome is 5/1 to score first and 11/8 to net anytime while visiting counterpart Patrick Bamford, who has struck six times in their last seven games, is 6/1 and 7/4 in the same respective markets.


Top Tip: Patrick Bamford to score first at 6/1.


Wolverhampton Wanderers v Ipswich Town


Wolves simply must beat Ipswich to keep alive their play-off hopes and are 11/8 to do so in front of the Sky cameras on Saturday lunchtime. The Molineux club looked on course for a top-six spot after a run of four successive wins but back-to-back away defeats to Birmingham and Middlesbrough mean they are now three points behind Town, who are 19/10 to pick up three crucial points and 23/10 to take a draw. The visitors had stuttered recently but two straight victories, scoring six goals in the process, have put them back in a strong position. At home, Wolves have won five of their last six and those games have featured 24 goals so there may well be plenty of bets on over 3.5 goals being scored in this one at 5/2. Wolves striker Benik Afobe is 9/2 to score first and 5/4 to net anytime while Ipswich hotshot Daryl Murphy is 11/2 and 6/4.


Top Tip: Over 3.5 goals at 5/2.


Blackburn Rovers v Nottingham Forest


The best position either of these sides can now hope for is ninth and it’s the incumbents of that spot Blackburn who are favourites at evens to pick up all three points. Although Nottingham Forest enjoyed a good run of form when Dougie Freedman first took over as boss at the start of February, they’ve now only tasted just one victory in their last seven and have lost four of those. They are 11/4 to bounce back to winning ways at Ewood Park and 23/10 to draw. Rovers have been inconsistent all season and the fact they’ve won two, drawn two and lost two of their last six tells its own story. The prolific Jordan Rhodes has netted twice in his last four, including one against Birmingham last time out, and he’s 9/2 favourite to score first on Saturday and 5/4 in the anytime market. Forest’s Dexter Blackstock is 13/2 and 2/1 in those markets.


Top Tip: Jordan Rhodes to score anytime at 5/4


Blackpool v Fulham


Relegated Blackpool are now 15 games without a win but they can be backed at 3/1 to end that wait in their home clash against a Fulham side who could seal their survival this weekend. The Seasiders were thrashed 4-0 at promotion-hunting Derby last time out but narrowly lost to Ipswich 3-2 before that and drew the three games prior to that 1-1. Another draw is priced at 11/4, with the 1-1 scoreline available at 11/2, while the visitors are 5/6 to register their fifth away win of the campaign. Both teams have scored in each of Fulham’s last four games while this bet would have also paid off in four of Blackpool’s previous five matches so it’s unsurprising to see the price as short as 8/13 for this encounter at Bloomfield Road. Fulham striker Ross McCormack has found the net in each of the last four games and he’s 9/2 to strike first on Saturday and 5/4 to score anytime, while Blackpool’s Gary Madine is 15/2 and 5/2.


Top Tip: Ross McCormack to score first at 9/2


AFC Bournemouth v Sheffield Wednesday


Championship leaders Bournemouth are 1/3 favourites to continue their promotion charge with victory over mid-table Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. The Cherries head into the latest round of fixtures one point clear of Norwich and should be confident of taking another step to the promised land having won seven and drawn two of their last nine, scoring 23 goals along the way. Bournemouth won the previous meeting between the sides 2-0 and a repeat scoreline is 4/1. Wednesday have been inconsistent of late with two wins, two draws and two defeats in their last six and are therefore 8/1 to pull off a shock victory and 4/1 to earn a point. Callum Wilson, who has netted each of his last three games, is 7/2 to score first and 10/11 to strike anytime while the Owls’ best hope is Stevie May at 11/1 and 4/1 respectively in the same markets.


Top Tip: Bournemouth to score two or more goals at 4/9.


Brentford v Bolton Wanderers


The Bees remain right in the hunt for a place in the play-offs and are 16/1 to gain promotion to the Premier League with Sky Bet. They are odds-on here at 8/15 to claim another valuable three points in their quest with in-form Alex Pritchard 5/1 to open the scoring and 2/1 to find the target at anytime. Bolton are not quite mathematically safe but just about assured of their place in the division next season and can be backed at 5/1 here with the draw on offer at 3/1. Striker Adam Le Fondre has scored in their last two games and he is 8/1 to score first and 11/4 in the anytime market. The Trotters were 3-1 winners earlier in the season and a reasonable shout here looks for both sides to score at 4/6.


Top Tip: Both teams to score at 4/6


Cardiff City v Millwall


Cardiff are one of a handful of teams to be safe in mid-table with nothing but pride and the prospect of climbing a few places left to play for. They are even-money here with Sky Bet for a home win, but arrive on the back of a 3-1 loss at Ipswich. They played well though for good periods of the game though, and will take some encouragement from that performance as they face a Millwall side battling for survival. The visitors are 11/4 here but remain in the relegation places and five points from safety despite suffering just one defeat in their last five games. Two late goals saw them get the better of Wigan in midweek – a strong finish that is coming a bit of a habit. The draw is 12/5 at Sky Bet but a more tempting offer is to go for two goals to be scored in the second half.


Top Tip: Back two goals in the second half at 11/4.


Charlton Athletic v Leeds United


Two teams safe in mid-table meet at The Valley. The visitors have picked up just one point from their last five outings while the Addicks have had to settle for three straight stalemates. The latter are favourites with Sky Bet at 11/10 and three points could potentially take them inside the top 10 while the visitors can be backed at 5/2. The pair shared the points in a 2-2 outcome at Elland Road back in November and it may be worth chancing that Leeds can snap their poor run of results and take something from the game.


Top Tip: Back the draw at 23/10.


Huddersfield Town v Derby County


The Terriers have found their feet since an impressive Easter Monday win at home to Ipswich and they have followed up with four points from a possible six on the road at Nottingham Forest and Brighton. That has guaranteed their safety but not favouritism back at home here – the promotion-chasing Rams are 19/20 at Sky Bet with Chris Powell’s side available at 13/5. Derby have won two and drawn two recently to get back in the play-off picture but could be given a good test here by a side that can go out on to the field with some freedom. 


Top Tip: Back the draw at 13/5.


Watford v Birmingham City


The Hornets are one of the four teams best placed for automatic promotion and even the title, and Sky Bet make them 8/13 to go up this season and 7/2 to be crowned league champions. They are one of the shortest-priced teams on the coupon this weekend at 2/5 to keep up the momentum against mid-table rivals. Since losing to Ipswich, Watford have won three and drawn one but the visitors having been going well of late also, with just one defeat in four games. Birmingham can be backed at 13/2 to spring a surprise with the draw 7/2 but the wager that really appeals is over 2.5 goals.    


Top Tip: Back over 2.5 goals at 4/6.


Wigan Athletic v Brighton and Hove Albion


The Latics sit second bottom with some ground to make up if they are to avoid the drop and Sky Bet have priced them up at 8/5 to collect three points. The Seagulls are not totally safe but any sort of result would be helpful and an away win is 17/10 with the draw 9/4. They have not won in four games but a repeat of their 1-0 victory on the South Coast would be ideal – that outcome is priced up at 13/2. The match could well be very tight and a low-scoring contest looks on the cards.  


Top Tip: Back under 2.5 goals at 4/6.


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