EFL: The EFL returns to action this weekend with action across all three divisions for the first time since before the World Cup. We preview four of the matches below, alongside some of our favourite BETDAQ bets.


CHAMPIONSHIP

Sunderland v Millwall – Saturday 12:30

The only Championship fixture of the weekend sees Millwall make the long trip to Sunderland on Saturday lunchtime. The Black Cats picked up an impressive 2-1 victory away at Birmingham City in their last game to pull away from the relegation zone, and are now the same number of points adrift from the playoff positions as they are from the drop.

Despite this, Tony Mowbray’s side possess the third worst home record in the division, picking up just ten points from their nine games at the Stadium of Light this season, and welcome a Millwall side on Saturday who have lost just one of their last five games on the road. The Lions are in decent nick, having won five of their previous eight league games, a run which has seen them slot into the last playoff position coming into the weekend.

There may be a bit of rustiness to shake off, with both sides’ last games coming three weeks ago, but it should be a tight affair nonetheless. That being said, we’re boldly backing the away side at 3.05 to add to Sunderland’s woes in front of their home supporters.

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LEAGUE ONE

Plymouth Argyle v Port Vale – Friday 19:45

League leaders Plymouth Argyle host tenth-placed Port Vale in one of six League One fixtures on Friday night. Argyle had to settle for a point against Burton Albion thanks to Adrian Marriappa’s 97th minute equaliser last week, making it two draws in succession for Steven Schumacher’s men, though they remain four points clear at the summit.

On Friday they welcome Port Vale, who responded well to a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Oxford United by beating Charlton 1-0 in their most recent fixture. The Valiants have however found winning with consistency difficult during their campaign, failing to record back-to-back victories in the league at all this season, with a trip to the league leaders hardly instilling confidence that that run will end anytime soon.

Argyle seem good value here. They remain one of two sides across England’s top four divisions to win all their home league games – the other being Premier League leaders Arsenal. Port Vale will understand the significance of a win – with three points potentially taking them to within a point of the playoff places – but the Pilgrims should have too much quality. Backing Plymouth at 2.32 is the pick for this one.


Derby County v Sheffield Wednesday – Saturday 12:30

One of three lunchtime kick-offs on Saturday sees third-placed Sheffield Wednesday travel to Derby County. The Rams’ last outing draw them take home a well-earned draw at Fratton Park, making it five games unbeaten for Paul Warne’s men as murmurs of a promotion push begin to circulate around Pride Park.

On Saturday they welcome a Sheffield Wednesday side who they haven’t lost to at home to in 13 games, a run stretching all the way back to 2006. The Owls however possess one of the best away records in the division, picking up 19 games from their nine games on the road and conceding only five goals across those fixtures.

Darren Moore’s side have won their last three games on the bounce, a run which has seen them narrow the gap on leaders Plymouth to just three points, and look good value to extend their impressive away record at Pride Park this weekend. Backing Sheffield Wednesday at 2.34 is the selection here.


LEAGUE TWO

Leyton Orient v Bradford City – Saturday 12:30

League Two leaders Leyton Orient will return to Brisbane Road for the first time in four games when they host Bradford City on Saturday. Successive away wins for Richie Wellens’ men has extended the gap between them and Stevenage in second to five points and they look good value for a first League One appearance since the 2015 season.

Their visitors on Saturday are however in good nick, especially away from home. Bradford are unbeaten on the road in seven league games stretching back to August, winning six of those, giving them the third best away record in the division. With the Bantams in the knowledge that a win could see them leapfrog Barrow into fourth position, Mark Hughes won’t allow performance levels from their run on the road drop in their trip to Brisbane Road.

Bradford have only beaten Orient once in five League Two games since the turn of the century, and with Orient so strong at home – conceding a league-low four goals in front of their own fans – it may be a bridge too far to expect Hughes’ men to pick up a result. Backing Orient at a generously priced 2.38 is the pick for this one.


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