02 Oct The Champions League and some key fixtures to look at …
Birmingham (17/4) travel to Brentford (2/3) knowing that if they could turn their draws into wins, they would be much higher up the Championship table. Nobody has drawn more games than the Blues who have shared the points with their opponents seven times this season. Another draw is priced at 57/20. Three of Birmingham’s seven draws have been 2-2 which is 13/1.
On the subject of draws, there has never been a 0-0 stalemate when the two sides have met at Griffin Park. In fact, the last 0-0 draw was at St Andrews back in January 1948. A 0-0 draw is available at 19/2. Birmingham failed to score in both games against Brentford last season and are 23/20 not to score again this time.
The chances are Brentford will score. They have done so in nine of their 10 league games this season already. In five of those games, they have scored exactly two goals which is available at 21/10. Birmingham has scored two goals in four of their 10 games – including their last two, and they are 15/4 to make it three-in-a-row.
Brentford has won the last three meetings and scored in the last five encounters against Birmingham. In both games, last season, Ollie Watkins and the Championship’s leading scorer this season Neal Maupay scored in both games last season. Watkins scored three goals with Maupay netting one goal in each fixture.
In the market for first or last scorer, Watkins is 6/1 (37/20 anytime scorer) while Maupay is 33/10 (20/21 (anytime).
For Birmingham, Lukas Jutkiewicz scored twice as the Blues rallied from a 2-0 deficit to draw 2-2 with Ipswich at St Andrew’s. Jutkiewicz is a generous 10/1 (33/10 anytime).
Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa (4/5) side host Preston (15/4) looking for just their second win in nine league games. Five draws in those games have seen the Villans drop to 15th in the table. A draw again is available at 13/5. Seven of the last 13 meetings between the two sides have been draws, so don’t be surprised if the points are shared again. Three of those draws have been 1-1 which is priced at 11/2.
Preston hasn’t beaten Villa in the last three meetings and are without a league win since the opening day of the season, so their prospects don’t look good. A good sign for the visitors is that they have scored two goals in four of their last five games, but they have failed to win any of those fixtures.
League leaders West Brom (11/10) travel to Hillsborough hoping to stay top of the table after 90 minutes against Sheffield Wednesday (13/5). This is the first meeting between the sides since March 2010 when the Baggies won 1-0 to complete a league double.
Chris Brunt got himself on the scoresheet in a 4-0 win at Hillsborough that season and he is 18/1 to score first or last and 6/1 to chip in with a goal anytime.
For Wednesday, Barry Bannan has scored some impressive goals this season already, and he is 14/1 to score first or last and 9/2 anytime scorer.
In League One, Portsmouth (27/20) take the EFL’s most prolific attack to Coventry (21/10) hoping to add to the 26 goals they have already netted this season. They average 2.6 goals a game and are 19/4 to score more than 2.5 goals at the Ricoh Arena. Coventry average less than a goal a game and are 20/57 to score under 1.5 goals against Peterborough who have scored in all 10 of their league games this season. Coventry, who have managed three clean sheets in their 10 fixtures, are 11/5 to be the first team to keep Posh scoreless.
Barnsley (4/13) is expected to beat Plymouth (33/4) given the early season form of both sides. The Tykes have the best defence in the division with just six goals conceded and their defenders will expect a straightforward evening against a Plymouth side that has only scored seven goals all season. Barnsley is 21/20 to keep a clean sheet while Plymouth is 25/4 to keep Barnsley goalless.
In League Two, it has been grim being a Grimsby fan with five straight defeats and just one goal scored in those games. That solitary goal, scored by Elliot Embleton gave The Mariners the lead against Morecambe on Saturday but they went on to lose 2-1. Grimsby (29/10) travel to Carlisle (1/1) in desperate need of a change in fortune. Embleton’s goal was only Grimsby’s sixth of the season and they are therefore 7/5 to score less than 0.5 goals. Carlisle has experienced mixed results in their last six games. The sequence goes won, lost, won, lost, won, lost. Will they get back to winning ways against the Mariners? They are 2/1 to win to nil.
Don’t be surprised if Stevenage (11/4) win 1-0 at Exeter (1/1) given that their last four wins have been by that score, which is available at 39/4. Exeter will have something to say about that as they look for their fourth straight win. Four of Exeter’s six wins have been by a margin of two goals which is available at 9/2.
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