EFL WEEKEND: The EFL returns to action this weekend after some midweek drama across all three divisions. We preview the best of the action below, alongside some of our BETDAQ recommended bets.


Preston North End vs Wigan Athletic – Saturday 15:00

Preston seem unable to detach themselves from an underwhelming vein of form that has seen them win none of their last four league games – the first time that has happened since October. To make matters worse, their home record is one of the worst in the division, with five defeats in their last six games at Deepdale and just 14 points picked up from 16 fixtures in front of their own fans, the second-worst track record in the Championship.

Wigan remain bottom of the table but have curiously lost just one of their last six Championship fixtures, commendably keeping three clean sheets in that time and most recently holding promotion-hopefuls Norwich City to a 0-0 draw at the DW Stadium. The Latics, however, are winless in 10 away from home – an undoubted catalyst for their position in the league table – and we wouldn’t hold our breath about them leaving Deepdale with all three points on Saturday.

This game actually served as each side’s opening fixture of the Championship season – one of Preston’s several 0-0 draws in their bizarre first half-dozen league matches – and we think this weekend will be no different. Backing the draw at 3.25 is the play here.

Preston North End vs Wigan Athletic markets

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QPR vs Blackburn Rovers – Saturday 15:00

QPR succumbed to yet another defeat last weekend to leave the west London side without a victory in 10 league games – their longest streak without a league win since their relegation from the Premier League in the 2012/13 season. What started as a campaign full of promise has turned into a nightmarish season following Michael Beale’s departure to Rangers, with the Rs now only eight points above the relegation zone with 15 games to play.

Blackburn, on the other hand, made it consecutive victories for the first time since October with a battling 1-0 win over Blackpool on Tuesday to extend their unbeaten run to six – their longest sequence without losing so far this season. Rovers have also conceded just three goals in that time, which somewhat makes up for their lack of attacking potency, having netted the fewest number of goals out of any side in the top 12.

Blackburn’s away record is pretty dismal given their current fourth-place occupation, winning none of their last five on the road and scoring just four times in the process. Having said that, there’s arguably no better team to face at the moment than QPR, so we’re boldly backing Rovers at 3.75 to pile more misery on the Loftus Road faithful.

QPR vs Blackburn Rovers markets


Barnsley vs Derby County – Saturday 15:00

Arguably the tie of the weekend sees Derby travel to Yorkshire to take on an in-form Barnsley, with just one point separating both teams in the last two playoff places. Barnsley made it five wins from six with a thoroughly impressive 4-0 win away at Cheltenham last week, meaning the Tykes have scored 15 goals in that timeframe, as manager Michael Duff begins to turn the screw on a potential promotion charge.

Derby returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Charlton last week to keep a firm hold on fifth place, just their third domestic clean sheet since the turn of the year. The Rams have won all three of the previous meetings between these sides in all competitions – scoring seven times and conceding just once – but they’ll need to be at their best against a revitalised Barnsley side who know victory would see them leapfrog their visitors on Saturday afternoon.

It’s a tough game to call, and both sides are priced highly for victory, with Derby considered slight favourites at 2.56. Having said that, there seems to be a really optimistic feel about this Barnsley side in recent weeks, so we’re backing the free-scoring hosts at 3.05 to continue their excellent form.

Barnsley vs Derby County markets


Stevenage vs Tranmere Rovers – Saturday 15:00

It’s not quite panic stations yet, but last week’s 2-0 loss to Stockport County means Stevenage have won none of their last four games for the first time this season, allowing the likes of Stockport and Carlisle to close the gap on second place. Steve Evans’ men have shipped seven goals in their last three games and will need to guard against complacency this Saturday if they are to detach themselves from this curious winless streak.

Tranmere made it successive 2-0 defeats by losing to an impressive Mansfield Town outfit at Prenton Park last week, keeping the Super White Army somewhat deadlocked in midtable. Baring an incredible upturn (or downturn) in form, their season seems to be running out of steam slightly – a far-cry from the five wins and five clean sheets in a row we saw between September and October.

Tranmere’s away record is also a cause for concern – they’ve won just once on the road since October and have tasted defeat in each of their last four, scoring just twice in the process. On their day, they could probably cause this out-of-form Stevenage side some issues, but we feel confident in the Boro’s chances of getting back to winning ways here. Backing Stevenage at 1.85 is the selection for this one.

Stevenage vs Tranmere Rovers markets

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