Hull v Swansea
Our Friday night viewing from the Championship presents two out of form teams in the shape of Hull City and Swansea City. That is especially the case for Grant McCann’s Tigers, who are winless in seven, losing six of those in question. The last two of which were 5-1 and 3-0 to Brentford and Blackburn Rovers respectively. Swansea are four league clashes without success, and were involved in a fairly dour 0-0 with QPR in midweek.
Games of this nature between two teams clearly suffering from some form of drop in confidence tends to either go one of two ways. Firstly, this could be a match where both go into their shells and almost play through the motions, or conversely this may actually be quite open and end-to-end, with each believing that the opposing side are there to be taken. I’m of the opinion this could be quite a close encounter.
A word of note for anyone betting on football in the UK at this moment in time is that there are severe wind problems up and down the country. Therefore, this has an impact on the game, with wind quite possibly the worst condition to play football in, especially if you do indeed play a certain style. Taking the matches from Tuesday into account, four of the six finished under 2.5 goals, mainly due to a lack of rhythm contributing because of the weather.
Looking at the forecast for Friday night in the Hull area it does look as though a mixture of wind and rain will be in the air. With both really struggling for form anyway, this has all of the makings of being a scrappy kind of encounter.
Hull are dealing with a rather heavy injury list and were missing 12 players for their last game. There is a chance this number be reduce by only one or two for the visit of Swansea, but couple in the fact that they recently lost star forwards Jarrow Bowen and Kamil Grosicki in the transfer window then it suggests plenty of negatives surrounding Hull. Also, some new faces have been added and they’ll undoubtedly take some time to settle, with Marcus Maddison still adjusting to life at this level having been mostly in the lower-leagues beforehand.
Swansea are a team that although don’t have many injuries, they don’t have that many options either. Steve Cooper only made one substitute in the QPR game on Tuesday, that despite not playing to their best and still having a realistic chance of winning. A similar eleven should again take to the field, and considering they’ve failed to score in three of their last six it suggests they may be rather laborious in front of goal again.
I am more than happy to recommend Under 2.5 Goals on this occasion. The only worry is if there are some defensive errors but confidence won’t be high across the squad and as such I don’t see too many risks being taken.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.50 at 2.000
Birmingham v Brentford
Whilst there is a fairly sufficient gap between both Birmingham City and Brentford on the Championship table at this moment in time, there are many reasons to believe Saturday’s match should be quite an even affair. The reason being is that whilst Brentford will of course be attracting many headlines because of the way the play and that they’re involved in the promotion race, Birmingham are going nicely about their business too. They’ll believe they can beat Birmingham, without a doubt.
Pep Clotet has guided the Blues to a nine match unbeaten streak in all competitions. That has gone almost under the radar purely because they occupy a mid-table position and there is still a big enough gap to the play-off spots to maybe hint that a few more results are needed if they’re to truly get involved. Still, they’re going great guns at the moment and have developed the handy habit of winning close games. Their last six wins read 2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 3-2, 3-1 and 1-0. The most recent being on Tuesday away to Barnsley.
Brentford have lost only three of their last 14 in all competitions, and on Tuesday they experienced a real top of the table clash versus Leeds United, and it ended in a draw. The widespread opinion from the footballing community was that Leeds were the better side and Brentford perhaps under-performed slightly. Still, Thomas Frank was quite happy afterwards and if they can back that draw up with a win here he’ll be even happier.
My one doubt backing Brentford is always when they are away from home. That may seem strange considering they’ve been to Bristol City and Hull City in recent times and won 4-0 and 5-1 respectively. However, sandwiched between that they drew 0-0 at Huddersfield Town, whilst losing at Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn Rovers not so long ago. I very much plant Birmingham in a similar sort of category as those teams; an outfit who are so tough to play against and never easily beaten.
We however can’t deny both are in good form and have been scoring quite a few goals of late. Birmingham are now four unbeaten at home in all competitions, and they’ve not actually kept a home clean sheet since beating Blackburn in October. They’re therefore likely to need to score at least twice here at the very least. Good thing is they’ve only failed to score in one of their last 12 overall. Brentford are good for goals of course, and both teams have produced decent Expected Goals (xg) figures in recent time which suggests creativity isn’t a problem either.
I can only foresee quite an entertaining game here. The perception is that Birmingham are a bit of an ugly team but the recent addition of Scott Hogan is a game-changer, without a doubt. He compliments Lukas Jutkiewicz nicely, whilst Brentford’s front three are the best in the league. Over 2.5 Goals has to be of worthy consideration.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 at 2.000
Charlton v Blackburn
Charlton Athletic against all the odds went away to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday and came away with a 1-0 win, whilst Blackburn Rovers netted three fairly late goals to defeat Hull City 3-0 at home. Therefore, both the Addicks and Rovers approach Saturday’s match in high spirits, which does raise the prospects of quite an entertaining game.
Both consistent factor, and an unwanted one, that Charlton and Blackburn have in common is that they have many injury problems. Darren Pratley and Andre Green were just two other fairly high-profile names added to the list after sitting out the Forest game, and at a time when Lee Bowyer was starting to believe injuries were a thing of the past. Sam Gallagher missed out for Blackburn during the week, and joined many others in doing so, such as Lewis Holtby. However, these injuries weren’t as badly felt as they could have been.
Charlton will be especially keen to back up their shock win now they’re back at The Valley on Saturday. Blackburn are certainly a side that they will harbour ambitions of defeating, and a draw will naturally feel like two points lost, regardless of whatever form Blackburn are in. The Addicks have not won back-to-back games since all the way back in August however, so recent history is probably against them changing that.
The issue with Blackburn is that they’re generally quite a ‘streaky’ team, which is something pointing in the direction of Bristol City quite a lot of the time, too. By that, it essentially means they’re whilst they’re put together unbeaten runs, they can also go just as long without winning, almost at any given moment. They won four in a row in November/December, and then followed up that winning once in eight. They’re not necessarily the most reliable from a betting perspective.
Whilst midweek saw plenty of tight, low-scoring affairs, I do anticipate more of the opposite on the weekend card. I’m happy to place this game within that category and so Over 2.5 Goals will be the recommended play. Goals have normally followed Charlton this season, with 20 of their 32 league clashes seeing at least three goals, including four of their last five at home in Championship action. Tuesday was a fairly rare clean sheet moment for Blackburn, plus they rarely fail to score so this is the sort of game where both should have their moments in front of goal.
Whilst Charlton did win at Forest, they achieved it by not necessarily playing their usual style of play. They won’t be so defensive at home to Blackburn, and this really should open up the match. Blackburn are also not the sort of side where Tony Mowbray sets them up to just sit back. When they have momentum they can be tough to deny, and they’ve scored in each of their last ten away, and only failed to do so twice on the road all season long.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 at 2.100\