Middlesbrough v Ipswich Town
Middlesbrough are 10/11 favourites to beat fellow promotion hopefuls Ipswich in a crunch clash in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Saturday lunchtime. Boro are one of four teams level on 66 points at the top of the Sky Bet Championship while their opponents, who are 3/1 to claim victory at the Riverside and 12/5 to draw, lie seventh but only five points further back. Both sides have shown stuttering form in recent weeks, with Aitor Karanka’s men only winning two of their last six games while the Tractor Boys head into this fixture on the back of a three-match winless run, including two away defeats. Ipswich won the reverse fixture 2-0 back in December and it’s 18/1 for a repeat scoreline in Town’s favour and 7/1 that Boro manage it. Patrick Bamford is 9/2 favourite to net first and 5/4 to score anytime while Ipswich hotshot Daryl Murphy is 13/2 and 2/1 in the respective markets.
Top Tip:The draw at 12/5
Birmingham City v Huddersfield Town
– 16 points adrift of the play-offs but 15 above third-bottom Wigan – and although the Terriers are three places lower in the table, there’s little chance of them ending up in a survival dogfight. Birmingham have taken seven points from their last three games and are therefore 11/10 favourites to win this encounter while Huddersfield are 23/10 as they look to bounce back from three successive defeats. The draw is 5/2. City’s last two home games finished 1-0 while they also beat Huddersfield by this scoreline earlier in the season. A repeat result is 13/2. Clayton Donaldson, who netted in the sixth minute of stoppage time to salvage an unlikely 2-2 draw for Birmingham at Derby last weekend, is 5/1 to score first and 11/8 to net anytime while Huddersfield’s Nahki Wells is available at 6/1 and 7/4 in those markets.thThere’s not too much to play for when Birmingham host Huddersfield in a game between two sides lying comfortably clear of the relegation zone. The Blues are 14
Top tip: Clayton Donaldson to score anytime at 11/8
Bolton Wanderers v Millwall
Millwall can be backed at 11/4 to win at Bolton in Neil Harris’ first game in charge following the departure of Ian Holloway this week. The Lions sit second-bottom of the Sky Bet Championship with an eight-point gap to safety. Bolton are the odds-on favourites at 19/20 for the three points and the draw is a 5/2 chance. Millwall are winless in their previous six outings but Bolton are also not in the best form with just one victory in six. This Macron Stadium contest is tough to call with the Lions’ change in leadership so it could be worth looking at the draw.
Top tip: The draw at 5/2
AFC Bournemouth v Blackpool
Top meets bottom at the Goldsands Stadium on Saturday and it’s little surprise to see Bournemouth priced at 1/5 to beat Blackpool on home soil. Two straight victories, including a thumping 5-1 win at Fulham last time out, have helped the Cherries climb back to the Sky Bet Championship summit although only a superior goal difference keeps them above Derby, Watford and Middlesbrough. Blackpool, who are 12/1 to claim a shock triumph and 11/2 to escape with a draw, look almost certainties for the drop as they now languish 17 points behind fourth-bottom Fulham following four successive defeats. A repeat of the 6-1 victory for Bournemouth at Bloomfield Road in December is 50/1 although punters might be keen on the 13/8 about the hosts winning by three or more goals. Callum Wilson is 3/1 to score first while Yann Kermorgant, Brett Pitman and Matt Ritchie, who have both netted braces in recent games, are 7/2, 4/1 and 9/2 respectively. Blackpool’s best hope is Gary Madine at 12/1.
Top tip: Bournemouth to score three or more goals at 10/11
Brentford v Cardiff City
Brentford remain firmly in the promotion hunt and can be backed at 17/20 to see off mid-table Cardiff on Saturday. The Bees are currently sixth and only one point above Ipswich, who they drew with last time out, but just four points adrift of leaders Bournemouth and they head into this fixture looking for their fourth victory in six games. Inconsistent Cardiff, who have won two and lost two in their last four, have little to play for and can be backed at 3/1 for victory and 13/5 for a draw. Brentford won the reverse fixture 3-2 in December and a repeat result is priced at 28/1 although punters expecting a home triumph may prefer a safer bet like a victory margin of 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 at 15/8. Andre Grey hasn’t scored in his last three appearances but is 4/1 to bounce back with the first goal in this clash and evens to net anytime. Cardiff striker is 7/1 and 12/5 in the respective markets.
Top Tip: Andre Grey to score anytime at evens
Brighton and Hove Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves still harbour ambitions of achieving a play-off spot but having drawn with automatic promotion hopefuls Watford and losing at leaders Bournemouth in their previous two games, they’ll be eager for victory at Brighton on Saturday. The visitors, who lie eighth and four points below sixth-placed Brentford, are 11/5 for victory and 23/10 to draw while the Seagulls are favourites at 5/4 despite lying 19th in the table. That said the hosts hold a comfortable nine-point buffer over third-bottom Wigan and head into this fixture having won their last three home games against Birmingham, Leeds and title contenders Derby. The last meeting between the sides was 1-1 and a repeat scoreline on Saturday is 9/2. Wolves striker Benik Afobe, who has scored in his last two games, is 11/2 to net first and 6/4 to strike anytime while Brighton frontman Leon Best is available at the same prices.
Top Tip: Benik Afobe to score first at 11/2
Charlton Athletic v Blackburn Rovers
Charlton are the outsiders at 19/10 for a sixth victory in seven games when they host Blackburn at The Valley on Saturday. Rovers have been priced up as Sky Bet’s 9/5 favourites and the draw is on offer at 23/10. Blackburn are also a side in good spirits with two Sky Bet Championship wins and an FA Cup draw at Liverpool in their last three matches. Jordan Rhodes netted the only goal of the game in Wednesday night’s 1-0 win over Bolton and the Scotland international is available at 11/2 in the first goalscorer betting. Charlton duo Tony Watt and Igor Vetokele are on offer at the same price and Blackburn’s Rudy Gestede heads that market at 5/1.
Top tip: Jordan Rhodes to score first at 11/2
Leeds United v Nottingham Forest
There is an intriguing clash in prospect at Elland Road between two teams that have both endured bad runs this season but are now in fine fettle. Leeds have won seven of their last 10 games and Nottingham Forest six of their last eight, so something has to give. Forest are Sky Bet’s favourites at 6/4, with Leeds 9/5 and the draw 23/10. Games involving Forest have consistently produced goals. Their last eight have all produced over 2.5, with Forest alone scoring 22 in that time. Leeds games have generally been lower-scoring, but we only have to go back a fortnight to find a game ending 3-2 against Watford.
Top tip: Over 2.5 goals at evens
Norwich City v Derby County
This is an absolutely massive game in what promises to be a cracking race for promotion from the Sky Bet Championship. These sides are both odds-on in the promotion betting at 8/13 and 4/6 respectively; while it’s 13/2 they occupy the top two spots in the table when the music stops. Derby are three places but only one point above the Canaries in a congested top five with Norwich 11/10 to win this one at Carrow Road and leapfrog the visitors in the table. Derby are 23/10 and the draw is 5/2. It’s certainly the home side who come into this one in better form having won seven of their last eight while Derby are without a win in their last three. Jonny Howson, who netted twice in last week’s 4-1 win at Millwall is 11/4 to net in this one.
Top tip: Draw at 5/2
Rotherham United v Wigan Athletic
Victory at Huddersfield last weekend took Rotherham nine points clear of Wigan, who currently occupy the final relegation spot. Victory for the Millers in this one would all but ensure another season in the second tier. They’re 11/8 to get the three points. Wigan need wins if they are to beat the drop and are 19/10 in this one. The draw is 12/5. Rotherham’s recent home form is decent, with three wins and a draw in the last five, while Wigan have won their last three on the road, including a victory at in-form Norwich. ‘Both Teams To Score – No’ has landed in six of Wigan’s last seven and three of Rotherham’s last five.
Top tip: Both teams to score – No at 5/6
Sheffield Wednesday v Fulham
Sheffield Wednesday are even-money chances to pick up three points in this one against 14/5 shot Fulham, with the draw 23/10. The hosts have found some decent form in recent weeks with three wins in their last four seeing them comfortable in mid-table as we reach the season’s closing straight. Fulham, on the other hand, are still looking a touch nervously over their shoulder although, with an eight-point cushion over 22nd-placed Wigan, should have enough to retain their Sky Bet Championship status; they’re 1/20 to stay up and 8/1 to go down. The Cottagers have scored one goal in their last five, while Wednesday have three clean sheets in their last six.
Top tip: Under 2.5 Goals at 4/6
Watford v Reading
Watford are one of four teams locked on 66 points at the top of the Sky Bet Championship table and will be confident of taking three points against Reading. The Royals sit 16th after Tuesday’s win over Brighton and could be forgiven for having at least one eye on the upcoming FA Cup quarter-final replay against Bradford. A home win is 8/11, with the draw 14/5 and Reading 7/2. Troy Deeney has scored in five of his last six games for Watford and is 5/4 to net anytime in this one. For the visitors, Jamie Mackie has five goals in his last five games and can be backed at 7/2 to find the target again.
Top tip: Both teams to score at 4/6
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