Derby County v Nottingham Forest
Derby won this fixture 5-0 last season, in what was their biggest win over their East Midlands rivals in 116 years, and they are 7/10 to get the victory again against a Nottingham Forest side struggling for goals. Forest have scored just four times in their last eight matches and while Derby are pushing for automatic promotion, Stuart Pearce’s team are looking to halt a losing run stretching to four matches. Current form can prove an unreliable guide in the heat of a local derby, but County will be bitterly disappointed if they can’t see off an out-of-sorts Forest here. Derby to win by 3 goals or more can be backed at 5/1, but those expecting an improved performance from the visitors will be well rewarded – it’s the same price that Forest can find the net in both halves of the match.
Top Tip: Derby to win at 7/10
Brighton & Hove Albion v Brentford
Brentford are flying high in the Sky Bet Championship while Brighton are hovering just above the relegation zone, but the recent FA Cup tie between the two clubs turned league form on its head. Brighton won 2-0 thanks to two late goals and that win was part of a sequence which has seen the Seagulls, under new management, win three away games on the spin. Perhaps their fortunes have taken a turn for the better and considering Brentford haven’t won on any of their last four trips to Brighton, it’s easy to see why Sky Bet quote the home side as 6/5 favourites tag. However, there is no denying that Brentford have simply been the better side for most of the season and at the prices, they could offer value to avenge those two late goals in the Cup.
Top Tip: Brentford to win at 11/5
Fulham v Reading
It’s 18th versus 17th in the Sky Bet Championship and, to be frank, neither team arrives here in particularly good form. Reading should come here the fresher side as while they had their feet up in midweek, whie Fulham were thrashing it out with Wolves over 120 minutes and penalties in the FA Cup in the snow. At least their shootout victory sent them home from the Midlands happy. Reading are unbeaten in their last four games and they won at Huddersfield in the FA Cup and drew at Brighton in their last two away fixtures. It’s not too long since they were thrashed 6-1 at Birmingham, though, and keeping it tight will still be the first objective, with Fulham capable of scoring goals. This is tough to call.
Top Tip: The draw at 12/5
Leeds United v Birmingham City
Birmingham are on a good run at present after winning five of their last six but they are also capable of throwing in a poor effort, as the 4-0 home defeat to Derby and the 1-0 loss at Blackpool have shown recently. Leeds will be hoping they catch the Blues on an off day, as the West Yorkshire side desperately need the points as they bid to consolidate their Sky Bet Championship status. At least the return to Elland Road after three consecutive away fixtures should give them fresh impetus, and although they have lost twice at home since seeing off Derby at the end of November, Leeds perhaps deserved more when drawing at Bolton and they have a good recent record against Birmingham with two wins and a draw from their last three encounters.
Top Tip: Leeds to win at 6/4
Middlesbrough v Huddersfield Town
Middlesbrough have lost just one of their last 11 home games against Huddersfield and they are 7/10 to take three points again on Saturday. ‘Boro are right in the promotion race and they haven’t conceded a goal in their last four games, so Huddersfield, who are struggling on the road, are really up against it. The Terriers haven’t won away from home for eight games, but they did register a good home win over Watford in their last match. They’ll take confidence from that, but this is a really tough test and Huddersfield will have to cut out the mistakes at the back if they are to go back to West Yorkshire with any points.
Top Tip: Jelle Vossen to score first at 9/2
Millwall v Ipswich Town
Millwall are languishing in the bottom three while Ipswich are a point off top spot and the Tractor Boys will fancy their chances of notching up another Sky Bet Championship win on Saturday. Millwall are really struggling at home and have lost to Bournemouth, Bolton, Middlesbrough and Brentford in their last four home Sky Bet Championship League matches, while an FA Cup defeat against Bradford in midweek will hardly have inspired morale. Despite losing out narrowly to Southampton in the Cup on Wednesday, this contest surely represents a considerable drop in class and they can justify odds-against quotes. The visitors’ Daryl Murphy – 5/2 market-leader to end the season as the Championship’s top scorer - is favourite to net the first goal of the match at 9/2, with Lee Gregory and Ricardo Fuller shortest-priced for the Lions at 13/2 in the same market.
Top Tip: Ipswich to win at 5/4
Norwich City v Cardiff City
New Norwich boss Alex Neil takes charge of his first home game having watched from the stands as the Canaries shocked Bournemouth last time out and they are 4/6 to make it two wins in a row against Cardiff on Saturday. The hosts are one point adrift of the play-off spots but six ahead of 11th-placed Cardiff, who are 4/1 to pick up all three points and 14/5 to earn a draw. The Bluebirds have only tasted success once on the road in the Championship this season and are looking to avenge the 4-2 defeat they suffered at the hands of Norwich earlier in the season. A repeat of that scoreline is 50/1. Cameron Jerome is 9/2 favourite to score first and 5/4 to net anytime while Gary Hooper, who also netted at Bournemouth on Saturday, is 5/1 and 11/8. Cardiff’s best hope is considered Kenwyne Jones at 7/1 and 12/5 in the same respective markets.
Top tip: Cameron Jerome and Gary Hooper both to score at 5/1
Rotherham United v Bournemouth
Sky Bet Championship leaders Bournemouth are 10/11 favourites to get back to winning ways when they visit Rotherham on Saturday. The Cherries suffered their first league defeat since the end of September when they were beaten 2-1 at home to Norwich last time out while the Millers, who are 14/5 to win and 13/5 to take a point, also head into this clash on the back of a defeat. Callum Wilson is 4/1 to score the opening goal of the match and evens to find the net anytime.
Sheffield Wednesday v Bolton Wanderers
Sheffield Wednesday are 11/10 to make it three wins in succession when they host Bolton on Saturday as they chase a Sky Bet Championship play-off spot. The Owls won 2-0 at Nottingham Forest last time out to move to within four points of sixth-placed Watford while Bolton’s climb up the table was halted slightly following a 1-1 draw at home to Leeds. The Trotters are 13/5 to pick up their third away win in the league this season and 9/4 to draw. The last meeting between the sides was 0-0 back in September and you can get 15/2 about a repeat scoreline at Hillsborough. Wednesday are the second-lowest scoring side so far in the Championship and Bolton have only netted seven on their travels so its little surprise to see under 2.5 goals priced at just 8/13.
Top Tip: Draw and under 2.5 goals in the match at 5/2.
Watford v Charlton Athletic
Play-off hopefuls Watford are 8/13 to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat at Huddersfield last time out with a victory when they host a sliding Charlton side who haven’t won since early November. The Addicks have lost four and drawn four of their last eight Sky Bet Championship games and were also beaten by Blackburn in the FA Cup – a run which saw the end of Bob Peeters’ reign in charge. New boss Guy Luzon is 9/2 to win his first game in charge and 14/5 to come away from Vicarage Road with a point while a repeat of Charlton’s 1-0 victory over the Hornets earlier this season is 12/1. Watford duo Troy Deeney and Matej Vydra are 7/2 joint favourites to score first and 10/11 to net anytime.
Top Tip: Troy Deeney to score a brace at 9/2
Wigan Athletic v Blackburn Rovers
Wigan are 13/10 to arrest a disappointing run of form when their host local rivals Blackburn in a Lancashire derby on Saturday. The arrival of Malky Mackay at the DW Stadium has yet to see an upturn in the club’s fortunes, his side having managed just one win and one draw in his nine games in charge in all competitions, including a 3-1 defeat at Birmingham last weekend. The second-bottom Latics face a Rovers side who are on the fringes of the play-off race and the visitors can be backed at 21/20 for victory and 23/20 to take a point. Blackburn won the reverse fixture 3-1 at Ewood Park earlier in the season and a repeat scoreline this time is 28/1. Jordan Rhodes found the net on that occasion and is 5/1 alongside strike partner Rudy Gestede to score first on Saturday and 11/8 in the anytime market.
Top tip: Draw and under 2.5 goals in the match at 11/4.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Blackpool
Wolves turn their focus back to the race for a Sky Bet Championship play-off spot this weekend after their heartbreaking FA Cup exit at the hands of Fulham in midweek and they are 4/7 favourites to pick up all three points against rock-bottom Blackpool. Kenny Jackett’s men are on a six-match unbeaten run, including four wins, in the league which has taken them up to eighth but punters shouldn’t expect a one-sided affair considering Blackpool’s recent resurgence. The Seasiders, who are 5/1 for a second straight victory and 14/5 to draw, need to keep winning if they are to get out of the relegation zone but they’ve now only lost two of their last eight league games and were unfortunate to go down 1-0 at Aston Villa in the FA Cup. Indeed, they’re now down to 6/1 to escape relegation having been a considerably longer price a month or two ago.
Top Tip: Both sides to score during the second half at 11/4.
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