Brentford v Middlesbrough
Brentford enter this clash on a real, real high having defeated Hull City 5-1 away from home last weekend. Securing a big win on the road will have done them the world of good as it is normally Griffin Park for where they reserve their stronger displays for. Nevertheless, they’ll be glad to be back on home soil here, as they’re only a few months away from moving to a brand new stadium.
Middlesbrough have definitely improved in more recent times from the perspective of becoming harder to beat. This Boro side are finally showcasing some of the defensive qualities that their manager Jonathan Woodgate so often showed during his playing career. Him being a former central defender. It’s two defeats in ten, one being away to Tottenham in an FA Cup replay.
Thomas Frank’s team had gone three without a win themselves prior to their heavy triumph in Hull, and they are normally a team that tends to go on positive runs of form. So often this season they’ve produced runs of two or three matches in succession winning, and they’ll very much aim to continue that here, in a match they are expected to win.
One big plus for Brentford is that earlier in the season they were actually struggling for goals, and was quite low down the table for the first month or two. Finding the back of the net is no longer an issues for the Bees, and when they do win these days it quite often tends to be high-scoring. 5-1, 3-1, 4-0 and 3-1 have their last four Championship wins, so Middlesbrough have been warned.
A word of caution for Brentford however is that this Middlesbrough team can spring a surprise. Not so long ago they won back-to-back away games at West Brom and Preston without conceding, but the reality is that this Brentford team always create chances and opponents need a lot of luck to keep a clean sheet and deny them. The reality is that those were Boro’s only two away wins of the season, whilst Brentford have won seven of their last nine at Griffin Park.
Middlesbrough will come to play on the counter attack but Brentford are used to facing teams of this nature. An early goal could easily open this up to be quite a convincing home win, as Brentford do win well when they do win, so we’ll back the -1.00 Asian Handicap in quite confident manner.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Brentford -1.00 at 2.060
Huddersfield v QPR
For all that the perception is that Huddersfield Town are indeed involved in a relegation battle, Queens Park Rangers only find themselves five points better off. Therefore, this is quite a big game on the Championship card this weekend. QPR have lost three of their last four, whilst Huddersfield lost a thriller at Fulham last time out.
Danny Cowley himself has acknowledged since entering the club that Huddersfield were indeed battling to stay in the league. His sole job for this season is to stay in the league. As things stand, he is achieving on that goal, but they’re only three points ahead of the drop zone so cannot afford to let off in matches like this.
QPR are a team that can do on an amazing run, but are just as likely to drop off and go in the opposite direction. Certainly from a style of play perspective they are one of the more entertaining outfits in the Championship when in full flow, but Mark Warburton himself will probably concede they don’t have enough of those days. That’s especially the case away from home.
One thing Cowley will be particularly keen to improve upon is their home record. Naturally a team at the wrong end of the table will look more so to their home encounters for points, but two wins in seven at the John Smith’s Stadium isn’t up to the very high standards he undoubtedly sets. Within that run included a 5-2 loss to Stoke City, which proves that this team still aren’t quite reliable game-by-game. On the flip side, they’ve lost just three of 12 at home since Cowley took charge, but still room for improvement.
As touched upon, QPR do struggle to replicate the kind of performances they produce at Loftus Road away from home. They’ve lost four in a row on the road, and won just one of the last eight on their travels. The fact of the matter is that all season long they’ve conceded far too many goals, and only Barnsley and Luton Town have conceded more goals at this level.
Huddersfield defensively have been a bit of a shambles as well and having the fourth-worst defensive record in the division highlights that. The major difference between these two however is that QPR score more goals; 12 more to be precise. Could that be a telling factor going into this? Maybe, but Cowley managed to guide Huddersfield to a clean sheet against Brentford in their last home game and they’re arguably the best attacking unit in the league.
This is a match which does instantly scream goals and Over 2.5 looks an appropriate play. 66.66% of QPR’s league matches this season has seen this selection pay out, including three of their last four away. Also, three of Huddersfield’s last four at home has done so, too, and both teams ultimately will play to win, and both dodgy defences could have tough afternoons.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 at 1.910
Luton v Cardiff
16 games remain in the Championship season and Luton Town are in the position that no teams wants to be in at any point of the campaign; bottom. The Hatters indeed sit 24го out of 24, and there are many obvious statistics as to why that is the case. The biggest issue is that they’ve lost the most (20), meaning they’ve only gained points in ten matches so far.
Cardiff City are very much rooted in mid-table, although they will harbour hopes for possibly getting involved in the play-off picture. Neil Harris’ side have no relegation concerns giving there is a sizeable gap, but they do need to strike some consistency to creep into the promotion race. That has ultimately been a major issue for them, and it is the clear reason why they are in mid-table; they win games, but not enough.
The Bluebirds have actually drew 13 games this season, which is the most of any side in the Championship. They’ve only lost seven, which comes as a big surprise considering their league position. To put this into context, it is the same amount as Leeds (2й) and Nottingham Forest (4го), whilst one less than West Brom (3rd). It is again another inconsistency issue.
Luton have been consistent in the sense that they’ve been losing a lot of games; six of their last seven overall to be precise. They are reasons for this and in their defence they have had a lot of injuries to key players. The good news is that Izzy Brown returned to the bench last weekend and will surely soon be starting again. Getting Martin Cranie back on the pitch will be a big help from a defensive point of view, too.
Boss Graeme Jones said that he needed his best players fit for them to be competitive in this league, and the reality is that hasn’t been the case as much as they’d have wanted. However, they did win their game at home versus Derby, and they gave West Brom a decent game in defeat last weekend. Maybe now is the time to side with Luton, especially when the odds don’t particular favour them.
Given that Cardiff are draw specialists, can we really expect them to go away from home and win in the Championship? They’ve won only two away matches all season in the league, and yet they are favourites on Saturday. Sure, Luton are bottom, but injuries are healing up and they really need to target wins from games like this, versus mid-table opponents.
Luton +0.25 is a selection which may surprise many purely looking at the league table, but there is a bigger picture here. Also, Cardiff were involved in the FA Cup in midweek in a replay, so in terms of preparation that is another tick in the Luton column. Luton have deserved more points than they’ve got, and recent performances suggest we will soon see them in a better light in terms of better results.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Luton +0.25 at 1.920
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