Fulham v Millwall
Tuesday 8th February – 7:45PM KO
Fulham didn’t manage to continue their winning streak at home to Blackpool in their last Championship game, but in a way that provides more motivation for this match. There is a chance that Millwall could provide a similar level of resistance to Blackpool, but the performance data suggests that this incarnation of The Lions is a touch more loose defensively than we traditionally associate with Gary Rowett’s side.
Millwall have been conceding an average of 1.5xG per 90 going back 16 matches now, and have been relatively consistent around that line the whole way. Obviously, Fulham are a team who tend to create more chances than that, and indeed, are scoring in a way not seen before since the Championship was named so in 2004.
The fact that no deal went through for Fabio Carvalho in January is very good news for Fulham’s final title push. The youngster just adds a lot more variety in the Fulham attack that is already tooled with talent such as Neeskens Kebano, prompter & creator Tom Cairney, and, of course, the power of Aleksander Mitrovic.
However, despite their dominance overall, Fulham have shown themselves to be vulnerable defensively. They have conceded 7 goals in 4 games so with Jed Wallace back in contention for Millwall there are opportunities for the Lions to score themselves.
Therefore, that adds weight to the goals option. Fulham are highly likely to win, but adding in the over 2.5 goals option makes this a very intriguing price to back.
Prediction: Fulham & Over 2.5 Goals, 2.0 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Derby v Hull
Tuesday 8th February – 7:45PM KO
Two teams that I would class in the ‘struggle to create chances’ category. In their last four games Derby have averaged only 0.4xG of chances, 3rd worst in the Championship, and Hull weren’t much better at 0.65xG per 90, 7th worst.
Neither club managed to do much to reinforce their forward options over the January transfer window. Derby did well to keep hold of Tom Lawrence but the Welshman is a prime example of Derby’s overperformance in this season. They have been able to score goals and get results even when the balance of chances hasn’t been in their favour. They have the fourth highest overperformance when taking their points against their expected points and 3rd lowest xG total across the season as a whole.
However, Hull are statistically the most open defence over the last four matches. They are conceding the highest number of chances to their opponents, I just suspect that Derby may not have the tools to be able to take advantage of this fact. Hull’s forward line is lead by Tom Eaves, who, though a good target man, has not been prolific at this level. There is a good supporting cast of Keane Lewis-Potter, Ryan Longman & George Honeyman, but they tend not to blow teams away, as evidenced by their chance creation numbers.
Given the evidence available it is clear that being against goals is the strategy to take.
Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 1.57 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Bristol City v Reading
Wednesday 9th February – 7:45PM KO
Here we go again. Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Blackpool means that it is now nine consecutive matches in which The Robins have had Both Teams To Score and over 2.5 goals in their matches. The leakiness of the Bristol City back line must surely mean that Nigel Pearson’s job is coming under scrutiny. Thankfully for them they now entertain a team who’s manager is probably under even more pressure in Reading & Veljko Paunovic.
The good news from a betting perspective is that Reading are even leakier defensively than Bristol City. The Royals are the second worst Championship side over the last four games for xG against (1.7 xG per 90), open play xG against (1.23 xG per 90) and shots against in the box (9.5 per 90).
For all Bristol City’s poor form in terms of results they have continued to pose a threat going forwards, as evidenced by the fact they have scored in their last nine. Chris Martin, Antoine Semenyo and Andreas Weimann are linking up really well and as a combination they have contributed 26 of City’s 38 goals, Nahki Wells’ goal will also add to the forward options.
No injury problems for the Bristol City main front three but no return for key central defender Rob Atkinson, nor experienced midfielders Andy King & Matty James means that a concentration on attacking continues to be likely for this match.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.91 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Blackburn v Nottingham Forest
Wednesday 9th February – 7:45PM KO
Blackburn continued their worrying lack of form in front of goal at the weekend. The blank drawn against a 10-man Swansea side showed a continuing problem in terms of lack of creation, especially when the opponents adopt a deep block against them. When Rovers have conceded the first goal this season they have only won once, and they have an equalizing rate of only 42% (given the lead away 12 times, only equalized 5 times).
Do not be fooled by the fact that Rovers continue to be the second highest scorers in the division. The rate of goals across the season is actually typical of a rate of a team that finishes outside the playoff positions. Behind Fulham there are a dearth of goals in the league, with a traffic jam of teams just in behind Blackburn with 40+ goals. The drop-off in chance creation has been alarming, until Saturday they were one of the worst chance creators in the league, but they did amass over 2xG against Swansea. The problem was that hardly any of those chances fell to their forward players.
Rovers should be able to welcome back Ben Brereton Diaz to the starting lineup here, but he is going through a dry spell in front of goal. Reda Khadra may also be fit enough to start the game so Rovers could be at full strength.
Forest’s performance against Leicester in the FA Cup was sensational. The options that they have going forward are exciting and direct. Steve Cooper will know how important it is though that they carry that momentum into this match. With Forest still outside the playoff positions they need to get a result from matches like this to break into those top 6 positions.
Their chance creation numbers under Cooper are excellent. They have a varied attack with an on-ball creator such as Philip Zinckernagel, a devastating runner in Brennan Johnson and now a strong, mobile power forward in Aston Villa loanee Keinan Davis. They will need to use all three to get around Blackburn’s excellent defence, but the longer the game continues the more Blackburn will eventually have to leave space for the Forest attackers to do their thing.
The final point to make is that the price point for this is very tempting. On a neutral venue there is evidence to suggest that Forest are currently the better side from the two. Blackburn have indeed been mighty at Ewood this season but their recent results and performances have been marginal. With a draw making this bet a void, to get an odds against price to be with Forest is a chance that should be taken.
Prediction: Nott’m Forest Draw No Bet, 2.2 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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