EFL TIPS: The EFL action is heating up and we preview the best of the fixtures below with our favourite bets.
SHEFFIELD UNITED V NORWICH CITY: SATURDAY 15:00
Sheffield United made it five successive league games without a win or a clean sheet after Martyn Waghorn’s 87th-minute penalty condemned the Blades to a 1-0 defeat on Wednesday. The September international break seemed to cease the good momentum Paul Heckingbottom’s men were building up in their first ten league games. Since then, the South Yorkshire side have surrendered their place at the top of the Championship table.
On Saturday, they face Norwich City in what would have amounted to a first vs second clash around a month ago. Instead, the Canaries have likewise tailed off following a promising start to the season, losing 1-0 at home to Luton Town to extend their winless run to four. However, despite a 2-1 loss in their last away match, Norwich have been impressive across their last five league games on the road, winning three and losing just one.
Saturday’s visit to Bramall Lane may end up being a game of tight margins, as six of Norwich’s last seven away league games have been decided by a single goal. BETDAQ punters are boldly backing Dean Smith’s men at 3.2 to get back to winning ways by picking up victory here.
QPR V WIGAN ATHLETIC: SATURDAY 15:00
The Championship has yet another leader after QPR’s 3-0 victory over Cardiff on Wednesday night. The R’s have now won five of their last seven league games and are unbeaten at Loftus Road in over two months. With hard-to-persuade manager Michael Beale turning down advances from Premier League side Wolves on Thursday, there is plenty for fans of the west London club to be optimistic about.
The prospects aren’t quite as bright for Wigan Athletic, who find themselves plummeting towards the relegation zone on the back of five defeats from their last seven. A heavy 4-1 defeat at home to Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening leaves the Latics just five points above West Bromwich Albion in 22nd place, with their only ever away win against Saturday’s opposition coming back in 2003.
The home side certainly seem good value here. Beale’s men have lost just one league game at home this season and will smell blood, given Wigan’s sliding domestic form. With this in mind, backing QPR at 1.96 appears to be a sensible option.
BRISTOL ROVERS V PLYMOUTH: SATURDAY 15:00
Bristol Rovers seemed to have overcome an underwhelming start to their League One season, with Saturday’s 4-1 thrashing of Cheltenham making it three wins on the bounce for the first time this campaign. It seems the September international break has paid dividends for Joey Barton’s men, who had failed to win any of their previous eight games before this favourable run.
However, despite a promising upturn of form, Rovers remain questionable in front of their fans, winning just two of their seven fixtures at the Memorial Stadium. They welcome League One leaders Plymouth Argyle on Saturday, who are likewise fresh from a 4-1 victory in their most recent game against MK Dons.
Argyle are four points clear at the summit of the division – almost unheard of at this stage of the season – and have manufactured a ten-game unbeaten run in the league that stretches back to mid-August. Punters are backing them at 2.28 to burst the Bristol bubble and extend their lead at the top of the tree.
STEVENAGE V NORTHAMPTON TOWN: SATURDAY 15:00
It’s first versus third in League Two as leaders Stevenage host Northampton on Saturday. The hosts are the only side in the division to still possess a 100%-win record at home, conceding just two goals in those seven victories at the Lamex Stadium. Whilst a 1-1 draw to Gillingham last time out somewhat ceased their winning run in the league, fans of the Boro will be delighted by the current prospect of a first League One appearance in seven years next season.
They come up against a similarly strong Northampton side on Saturday afternoon, who held on to their position in the top three last weekend after a 0-0 draw to second-placed Leyton Orient. Whilst a draw wasn’t a bad result for this Northampton side, it now means Jon Brady’s men have gone three league games without a win for the first time this season, failing to score in any of those fixtures.
Whilst Northampton have lost just one of the previous 11 meetings between these two sides, the table-toppers should have too much for their visitors this weekend. Therefore backing Stevenage at 1.82 to preserve their perfect home record and create some breathing space at the top of the division looks like a good option.