Two former Premier League clubs are level on points, and Elland Road clash will give one side advantage
With the first month of action in the EFL Championship – English club football’s second tier – drawing to a close, the early season table is beginning to take shape. And there have been two clear top performers in the opening rounds, with Leeds United and Middlesbrough clear at the top of the table and set to meet at Elland Road this Friday night (31 August) in an early marker of who might reach the Premier League.
First things first
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The two teams to have made the best start to the new Championship season will meet on Friday evening. Leeds United and Middlesbrough are level on points and both have won four of their opening five games. As such, they are now the two favourites to win promotion back to the Premier League – Leeds are at 2.25, while Middlesbrough are right behind them at 2.37, according to Oddsshark.
Leeds, now under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa, are in fine goals scoring form. The Yorkshire club have already scored three or more goals on three occasions this season, beating Stoke City 3-1, Derby County 4-1 and Norwich City 3-0.
Middlesbrough, meanwhile, have now won four league games in a row, and while they have not been as dangerous in the final third, have been far tighter cross the back line. Tony Pulis’ side has now kept four clean sheets in a row.
This is likely to be a close game, but home side Leeds come in as slight favourites to take the points at 2.20. Alternatively, if you think Middlesbrough can extend their running streak to five matches then you can back them to do so.
A comfortable, 2-0 win for Leeds is priced at 9.00, offering close to a ten-fold return on any investment. You could also back the Yorkshire club to win both halves of the game at 7.00.
Hull and Derby meet for second time in five days
Having met just this past Tuesday night in the League Cup, Hull City and Derby County meet again in league action. Derby won the knock-out clash, thrashing their hosts 4-0 and will thus take the momentum into Saturday’s encounter.
Derby, under rookie boss Frank Lampard, have accumulated nine points so far and sit sixth in the league. And you can back the Rams to secure a top six finish come the end of the season at just 3.25.
Hull, meanwhile, have won just one of their opening five games and are languishing above the relegation zone. The Tigers are at 3.50 to fall through the trapdoor into League One.
The betting is close for this one however. Hull re at 2.70 to pick up their second league win of the season, while Derby are just below at 2.60.
For that reason you may feel it is a safer bet going for the “Double Chance” option, which gives you the chance to select two possible outcomes for the match rather than just one. You can back a Hull win or a draw at 1.53, while a Derby win or a draw is at 1.36 – meanwhile, you can back either side to take the points at 1.48.
Blackburn look to maintain good start to season
One of the surprise packages of the Championship season so far has been Blackburn Rovers. The Ewood Park outfit are undefeated so far and sit fifth in the table with nine points.
Rovers travel to take on Bristol City this Sunday afternoon looking to maintain their good start to the season. It will be a tough ask however against a Bristol City outfit who have won their last two league outings.
And indeed it is City who come into this match as favourites to make it three in a row. The Bristol club are at 2.25 to take the points, with Blackburn further out at 3.20 to collect their third league win of the season.
This looks like being a close call, and a 2-1 win for City is priced at 9.00, meaning that a US$5 bet would lead to a US$45 pay out. Over 2.5 goals is at 2.10, meaning you could more than double your investment, while both teams to score is at 1.80.
EFL Championship round 6 fixtures:
Friday, 31 August
(2.20) Leeds United x Middlesbrough (3.20); draw (3.40)
Saturday, 1 September
(2.05) Birmingham x QPR (3.80); draw (3.20)
(1.80) Brentford x Nottingham Forest (4.50); draw (3.50)
(2.70) Hull x Derby County (2.60); draw (3.20)
(1.53) Preston North End x Bolton Wanderers (6.00); draw (4.00)
(2.20) Reading x Sheffield Wednesday (3.40); draw (3.20)
(2.30) Sheffield United x Aston Villa (3.20); draw (3.20)
(1.90) West Brom x Stoke City (4.20); draw (3.30)
(1.55) Wigan x Rotherham (6.00); draw (4.00)
(2.05) Millwall x Swansea (3.60); draw (3.30)
Sunday, 2 September
(3.00) Ipswich Town x Norwich City (2.40); draw (3.20)
(2.25) Bristol City x Blackburn Rovers (3.20); draw (3.30)