EFL TIPS: With the new EFL season now well underway and the third round of fixtures just around the corner, we’ve taken a look at the best bets from the key fixtures to watch out for across the Championship, League One and League Two this weekend.
Huddersfield v Stoke – Saturday, 15:00 BST
While West Brom’s season has yet to really get going, Huddersfield’s is going in reverse. The Terriers were just 90 minutes away from the Premier League when they lost to Nottingham Forest in the Championship play-off final in May, but if they continue the season the way they’ve started it, it’ll be League One they’ll be worrying about. Huddersfield sit bottom of the table with two defeats from two, while they were given a 4-1 thumping in the Carabao Cup by Preston in midweek. Carlos Corberan’s departure during the summer has obviously had a major effect on the team and Stoke will feel like they’re facing a trip to the John Smith’s Stadium at just the right time. While Stoke lost their opening game against Millwall, they looked a far better outfit against Blackpool last weekend and backing Michael O’Neill’s team at 2.84 looks to be the way to go.
Blackburn v West Brom – Sunday, 15.00 BST
Two games into the Championship season and we’re down to just one team that still boasts a 100% record: Blackburn Rovers. Whether they’re still there at the end of the season is another question (a play-off spot could be the more realistic outcome for the Lancashire club), but life under new manager Jon Dahl Tomasson has certainly got off to a fine start. Including an additional game in the Carabao Cup, Rovers have three wins out of three to their name, with eight goals scored and none conceded – so they will be on a high when they return to Ewood Park to face West Brom this weekend. In contrast, the Baggies have yet to claim a win in the league, with two draws to their name, and have so far failed to live up to their tag as early favourites for promotion. With that in mind, the value bet here looks to be laying West Brom at 2.78 with their wait for a first league victory set to continue.
Cambridge v Exeter – Saturday, 15:00 BST
We’re only a few games in, but it’s not been a bad start for Exeter. Fancied by many as prime League One relegation candidates following an underwhelming summer of transfer business, Matt Taylor’s side certainly haven’t looked as such so far this campaign. After two games they sit second in the League One table, picking up four points, while they have also advanced into the second round of the Carabao Cup this week. If you take a closer look you’ll see they’ve notched a mammoth 11 goals in their last two games without conceding – beating Port Vale 4-0 in the league before swotting aside Cheltenham 7-0 in the cup, so they will very much be in the mood for the trip to Cambridge this weekend. Cambridge are also favourites for many to get relegated this season and come into this one off the back of a 1-0 loss to Oxford United, so backing Exeter at 3.8 makes plenty of sense here.
Walsall v Stevenage – Saturday, 15:00 BST
Two teams with 100% records collide in League Two on Saturday as Walsall and Stevenage look to keep those records intact at the expense of the other when they meet at the Bescot Stadium. Michael Flynn’s Walsall side have looked the superior of the two, netting seven goals in three games (including a Carabao Cup win) without conceding. Although Stevenage have three wins from three themselves across the league and cup, they’ve only won each of these tight contests by a goal, with their winners remarkably coming in the 84th, 95th and 89th minutes. It seems as if their luck could finally be up heading into this weekend. With Walsall having home advantage and having looked hugely impressive at the Bescot Stadium last time out in the league, despatching of Hartlepool 4-0, the smart money looks to be backing the Saddlers at 2.75.