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The Championship returns this weekend as we get going for the 2018/19 season – as always, our trading team take a look at the best of the games.
Friday 3rd August
Reading v Derby 20.00pm kick off
This game throws up stats that we have used in the past and must continue to use until it changes. The two sides have met in the league twelve times in the last six seasons and remarkably there has been just one home win, five draws and six away wins. Derby have won four and drawn two of their last six trips to Reading. Both teams have scored in five of the last six meetings today and three of the last four have been Over 2.5 goals. There is clearly a huge buzz behind Derby at the moment with new manager Frank Lampard the subject of huge scrutiny, and he will have the Rams fired up for a quick start to the season. I think his addition of youth and pace up front, which has looked good in recent friendlies, should prove too strong for Reading. I’m not too keen to take the 2.40 (7/5) on offer and would prefer the 4.00 (3/1) for Derby HT/FT as they should come out firing but the best bet may be the 1.83 (5/6) available for Both Teams To Score.
Saturday 4th August
Bristol City v Nottingham Forest 15.00pm kick off
This is one of those games where the “hunch” is stronger than any stats so many of you may not feel like getting involved. Bristol City have won the last four meetings today between the two at home but have had a very average pre-season. Forest have looked strong and have strengthened the squad and defeats of Bournemouth and Malaga show them to be a decent side. Manager Karanka looks to have recruited well and they appear to have goals in them which will be crucial/ I’m going to chance Forest at 2.80 (9/5) for the win.
Preston v Queens Park Rangers 15.00pm kick off
Preston are my dark horses for this season and can get off to a flyer here against QPR whom they have beaten in the last four meetings today. QPR have not won in seven head to head and as with some other sides, may take a while to “click” and despite both sides playing well in recent friendlies, Preston played stronger opposition and if they can turn last season’s home draws into wins, they will go well. They should be too strong for QPR and I fancy them to win at 2.00 (Evs).
Sheffield Utd v Swansea 17.30pm kick off
The two have not met since 2011 so all we can go on is current form, although the previous five meetings today prior to that were all home wins. I think Sheff Utd at home are strong and are unbeaten in pre-season friendlies giving them confidence. Swansea will take some time adapting to this level and have not had a good pre-season, so we must take them on here and 2.30 (13/10) is a solid price for the home side and we can trade out to leave the profit on them if they lead.
Sunday 5th August
Leeds v Stoke 16.30pm kick off
Probably the game of the weekend with two new managers from totally different backgrounds, facing up to each other. There will be great expectations at Elland Road this season, however it may take Bielsa a few games to understand the Championship and Stoke could hit the ground running. Rowett is still tinkering with the Stoke squad and has hinted at more departures, but they look a strong enough unit to do well this season and more likely to gel as a team straight away. The sides have not met for twelve years so recent friendly form is all we have to go on and neither have really sparkled. Under 2.5 goals is a real player with both sides liable to give nothing away but I am tempted by Laying the home side as the pressure will be on them more. Rowett has lots of experience at this level and is tactically sound and I can see Stoke getting a draw or hitting Leeds on the break for a win. At around 2.79 Leeds are worth a small Lay with a view to trading out if Stoke take the lead.
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