EFL TIPS: The EFL returns to full action this weekend after the FA Cup saw League One and Two take a short break. We preview the best of the action below, alongside some of our favourite bets.


CHAMPIONSHIP:

Burnley vs Blackburn Rovers: Sunday 12:30

It’s first versus second in the Championship this weekend as Blackburn Rovers make the short trip to Turf Moor. With table-topping Burnley having their 16-game unbeaten streak ended in sensational fashion by Sheffield United last week, the gap between them and Blackburn is now just two points after Rovers’ narrow 1-0 win against Huddersfield on Saturday. Never before has an East Lancashire derby felt so significant!

Blackburn will come into this game with belief they can leapfrog their rivals on to the summit of the Championship table, with last weekend’s victory against the Terrier’s making it six wins out of seven in the league. Their away form has however looked a little patchy, with six defeats in their ten games on the road this campaign hardly complimenting their near-flawless home record.

It may seem a close encounter on paper, but the Clarets should have too much for Blackburn here. Vincent Kompany’s side have won this fixture four times on the bounce and will fancy their chances of preserving the only remaining unbeaten home record in the division, which includes six wins in their last seven games at Turf Moor. Backing Burnley at 1.7 looks to be the move here.

Wigan Athletic vs Blackpool: Saturday 15:00

Only a victory will prevent Wigan Athletic from residing in the relegation zone of the Championship during the World Cup break, though their failure to win in their last seven league fixtures suggests it could be a sombre November period for fans of the Latics. Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to relegation rivals Coventry spelled the end for manager Leam Richardson after a run of eight defeats in 11 Championship games since the September international break.

Wigan have lost their last three games against Blackpool by an aggregate score of 8-0, and only a sudden upturn of form will prevent the Latics from a swift return to League One at this current rate. Blackpool aren’t in the greatest of nick either after losing their last three games on the bounce, but have a deceivingly strong away record of late, tasting defeat just once in their last four games on the road.

Blackpool have fond memories of the DW Stadium, winning 4-0 here on their Premier League debut all the way back in 2010, but such a result seems somewhat unlikely given the Seasiders have failed to find the back of the net across their last three fixtures. Both sides know what is at stake here; a win for Wigan would see them leapfrog their opponents, but their form is too disconcerting to install any confidence. Backing a draw here at 3.45 is the pick for this game.

LEAGUE ONE

Lincoln City vs Plymouth Argyle: Saturday 15:00

Last Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Accrington Stanley means Lincoln City have bizarrely drawn six of their opening seven games at the LNER Stadium – comfortably the highest in the division. The Imps seemingly have the foundations for a playoff push with only four defeats in their 16 league games, but may live to rue not converting some of those stalemates into three points.

On Saturday they’ll face their sternest test of the season so far as high-flying Plymouth Argyle make the journey east to Lincolnshire. Argyle remain top of the table after a thrilling 4-2 comeback victory against Exeter in their last League One game helped stretch their lead in first place to four points – the biggest gap between first and second out of any of England’s top four divisions.

Plymouth are arguably the most potent side in the division and should be considered favourites for automatic promotion, but they have somewhat failed to impress away from home so far, winning only half of their eight games on the road this campaign. Indeed, Argyle have tasted victory just once in the last four meetings between these two sides, so it’ll certainly be a closely-fought affair in the east Midlands. Backing Lincoln to get a result and laying on Plymouth at 2.44 could therefore be a profitable punt.


LEAGUE TWO

Gillingham vs Northampton Town: Saturday 15:00

Gillingham saw themselves dragged further into a seemingly inevitable relegation scrap after a 1-0 loss to Doncaster in their last league game, leaving the Gills in 22nd place as we approach the World Cup break. Neil Harris’ men have won just two of their opening 16 league games so far and have somehow only scored six goals across those fixtures – at least seven less than any other side in the division. The Gills seem drained of confidence, particularly in front of goal, so a visit from promotion-chasing Northampton Town hardly seems the suitable remedy to cure their attacking woes.

Northampton have seen their grip on the automatic-promotion places somewhat loosen after a run of one win in six and had to be saved by a 93rd-minute equaliser to avoid a shock defeat at home to Newport last time out. Despite their dry run of form, you’d expect the Cobblers to have too much for Gillingham in this fixture, especially as they’ve netted a league-high 13 goals away from home so far this season.

Northampton seem generously priced here, given the disparity between the two sides. They’ll likely score against this Gillingham outfit and with the Gills aforementioned awful attacking record, it may just take the one goal to secure all three points for Jon Brady’s men. Backing Northampton at 2.57 looks good value.


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